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Los Angeles, California, Lemon Law Blog

Understanding the California lemon law

When a vehicle reaches a certain age or travels a certain number of miles, its owner can expect to experience issues and begin paying for repairs that go beyond a new battery. A careful consumer will wait until those repairs begin to cost more than the average new car payment before trading up. After buying a new car, most California consumers expect to avoid many of the problems they may have had with their old vehicle. When this does not happen, the consumer may have purchased a lemon.

A new car is a lemon if, soon after purchasing, the vehicle's owner has made numerous unsuccessful attempts to obtain repairs for a major defect that is covered by the car's warranty. Each state has its own limits for the amount of time that may pass after purchase and the number of times it considers reasonable for the manufacturer to attempt to repair the problem.  Typically, it is between two and four repair attempts, depending on how dangerous the defect may be.

What happens to cars repurchased under the lemon law?

California consumers in the market for a vehicle have many options. Often, a used vehicle fits into a family budget better than a new car although there are risks involved in purchasing a previously-owned vehicle. For one thing, a buyer does not know the real reason why the vehicle was traded in. In some cases, the prior owner may have simply wanted a newer car, but in other cases, the owner may have returned the car by exercising his or her rights under the lemon law.

When looking at used cars, consumers have the right to know when a vehicle was reacquired by the manufacturer because its owner tried unsuccessfully to have serious defects repaired. It is common for those lemon law vehicles to end up right back on a car lot for another buyer to purchase. However, the manufacturer and dealers are required to inform potential buyers of the car's status as a lemon.

RV owners may need lemon law even after careful purchase

For many in California, the thought of owning a recreational vehicle or camper trailer means vacations that offer more flexibility, comfort and savings than staying in a motel or paying for air fare. However, all those advantages hinge on the purchase of the right motor home. Before making that purchase, a careful examination of an RV is essential, whether one is buying from a dealer of new or used vehicles. Ending up with a defective RV may mean seeking assistance with California's lemon law for RVs and trailers.

The purchase of an RV should not be rushed, and a consumer should never feel pressured by a dealer to make a hasty decision. It may take time to carefully examine the interior, exterior, top, bottom, tires and systems of any vehicle one may be interested in purchasing. This means climbing up to look at the roof for cracks, peeling or other damage. It also means crawling under the vehicle to check for rust and corrosion that could result in costly repairs.

New doesn’t necessarily mean reliable when it comes to cars

What draws people to buying new, rather than used, cars? A recent survey indicates that the perception that new cars are more reliable may be a big contributor.

In the survey, prospective car buyers who said they were only interested in purchasing a new vehicle were asked why they wanted to buy a new car. Many of these individuals gave reasons related to concerns about reliability, repairs and breakdowns. These reliability-related reasons were cited more often than things like technology and safety features.

When is it time to speak to a lemon law lawyer?

Buying a new car is a major moment for most people. Spending an afternoon at a dealership, choosing your accessories and finally driving your car off the lot is a special feeling that few things compare to. The first months with your new car are no doubt great. Until is suddenly starts breaking down.

After you’ve been in and out of the dealership or manufacturer for repairs a few times, you probably start to think that your car has been doomed from the start. As it turns out, that is entirely possible. You may have bought a lemon.

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