In 1970, the state of California enacted the Song-Beverley Consumer Warranty Act. Per this act, all manufacturers must replace or repurchase faulty products that they were unable to repair after a “reasonable number” of repair attempts.
According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the Song-Beverley Act contains a presumption guideline. The guideline states that a vehicle is a presumed “lemon” if it meets certain criteria within 18 months of a buyer or lessee acquiring it, or before the vehicle’s odometer reaches 18,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The first instance in which the lemon law presumption may apply occurs if your vehicle’s manufacturer or its agent attempts to repair the same warranty problem twice. For the “two-attempt” rule to apply, however, the problem must be one that causes or is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death when using the vehicle normally.
Four or more attempts
If the warranty problem is not a dangerous or fatal one, then the two-attempt rule becomes a four-attempt rule. If the vehicle manufacturer or its agent attempts to fix the same issue four or more times, the law will presume the vehicle is a lemon.
For the two- and four-attempt rules to apply, you may have to notify the vehicle’s manufacturer, preferably in writing. This is only the case, however, if the owner’s manual or warranty materials dictate that you do so.
Vehicle out of commission
Finally, the lemon law presumption may apply if your vehicle is out of commission for more than 30 days due to the need for repairs for warrantied issues. The issues do not have to be the same issues, and the 30 days does not necessarily have to be consecutive. For this presumption to apply, the problems must substantially reduce your vehicle’s value, use or safety. They must also not be the result of abuse of the vehicle.