The California Lemon Law Presumption

Each state has its own statutes that determine your rights pertaining to defective vehicle purchases, also known as the lemon law. The state of California’s lemon law declares that if your vehicle manufacturer is unable to repair your vehicle after a reasonable amount of attempts to be in compliance with your warranty, then they must repurchase or replace your vehicle. 

How many repair attempts are a reasonable amount?

The California State Government doesn’t outline how many repairs attempts are a reasonable amount and this can be tricky when arbitrating or litigating your case. It’s important to speak with a trusted professional in California Lemon Law that has experience navigating these types of cases. California law has enacted some guidelines to determine when a reasonable amount of repair attempts have been made. 

What vehicles are covered under California Lemon Law?

The following new and used vehicles that are leased or sold in California, that come with a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty, are covered under the California Lemon Law:

  • Cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans
  • The chassis, chassis cab, and drivetrain of a motorhome
  • Dealer-owned vehicles and demonstrators
  • Many vehicles leased or purchased for business use.
  • Vehicles purchased or leased for personal and family purposes.

California Lemon Law only applies for the duration of your vehicle’s manufacturer’s original warranty period. Be sure to consult your vehicle manufacturer’s warranty and owner’s manual to verify if your automobile falls within the warranty period. 

What are legal presumptions?

A legal presumption is a law that permits courts to assume a fact is true until there is evidence of greater weight that disproves or outweighs the presumption. A presumption is based on a set of facts paired with laws, reasoning, logic, and/or the rights of an individual. A presumption can be refuted by actual evidence and can persuade a judge to rule that a presumption is not valid. 

What established the California Lemon Law legal presumption?

In the 1970s, a monumental act was enacted called the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. This act requires that all manufacturers replace or repurchase faulty products that they have failed to fix after a reasonable number of repair attempts. The act applies to other consumer purchases as well, not just vehicles. The act was amended once in 2007 to included armed service members stationed in California in spite of where their vehicle might have been purchased or registered. 

What are the legal presumptions for California Legal Law?

According to the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, a vehicle is considered a lemon if it meets one of the following criteria within 18 months of delivery to the buyer/lessee or within 18,000 miles of the vehicle’s odometer: 

  • The dealership or manufacturer has made at least two or more attempts to repair a problem outlined in the warranty that results in a condition that could cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven. 
  • The dealership or manufacturer has made four or more attempts to repair the same problem detailed in the manufacturer’s warranty. If the manufacturers’ warranty requires it, you must notify the manufacturer about the problem in writing. Be sure to send the notice to the address listed in the warranty or owner’s manual and keep copies. 
  • Your vehicle has been out of service for more than 30 days in total because of repairs for any number of problems outlined in the warranty and the problems are covered by the warranty, or significantly reduce the value, safety, or use of the vehicle. 

Does my vehicle fit the California Lemon Law Presumption?

If your vehicle meets any of these criteria detailed in California Civil Code section 1793.22(b), the Lemon Law states that the buyer/lessee should have their vehicle replaced or a refund be issued for the purchase price. As stated above, the manufacturer has the right to rebuke this presumption and prove that the problems are insignificant. Speak with a lemon law professional about the details of your case to ensure that you aren’t taken advantage of by dealerships and manufacturers.