If your new or used car has an issue, it is vital to understand what your rights are. If you bought a car from a seller who is not a licensed dealer, you may believe that the California lemon law does not apply. However, this is not the case. Whether you are buying from a private seller or a dealer, it is important to understand your rights and how to protect yourself. In this post, our California lemon law attorney tells you if the California lemon law applies to private vehicle sales.

Consumers who buy new cars are protected in California by the State Lemon Law, which provides remedies for buyers who discover serious problems with their vehicles shortly after purchasing them. However, the Lemon Law doesn’t apply to other popular consumer purchases, such as private sales of used vehicles. As a result, buyers of used cars may be left without much recourse if they discover serious problems with their vehicles.


What Does the Lemon Law Cover?

One major factor to consider when purchasing a new vehicle is safety. You should never have to worry about your car breaking down or being unsafe to drive. However, if your car has more hours in the shop than on the road, it might not be worth it. Lemon Laws are present in every state and protect consumers from buying irreparable vehicles. Lemon Laws allow you to request a replacement or refund of the vehicle.

Created in 1984 by the United States government to protect consumers from fraud perpetrated against them by car dealers and manufacturers. It’s important to know that the law covers any vehicle from cars to motorcycles. If you’ve endured multiple repairs only to have the vehicle break down again, then you might be entitled to damages under your state’s lemon law.

lemon law california


California’s Lemon Law For Used Cars

The lemon law only applies to new cars, but it may still apply to used cars depending on their mileage and warranty coverage. California’s lemon law doesn’t apply to used cars with over 18,000 miles unless they are still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. If a pre-owned car has an expired warranty or less than 18,000 miles, it qualifies as a lemon according to our lemon law California attorney.


“As Is” In Private Lemon Law Sales

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, also known as lemon law, entitles defective-vehicle buyers to benefits if the defect occurred within the terms of the warranty. In other words, if a vehicle is under warranty when it becomes defective and the defect proves to be covered by the warranty, the buyer can seek lemon law benefits by contacting a lemon law attorney California.

You know when you buy a car and they say there’s no warranty? Well, that’s called “as is.” It means the buyer is taking full responsibility for any defects. If you want a warranty, you have to buy it separately from the dealership before your purchase. In California, dealerships are required by law to disclose the “as is” agreement on their buyer’s guide.


Private Sales Vs. Dealership Sales

There are legal differences between dealerships and private sellers. When a person buys from a licensed dealer, they’re protected by state and federal consumer protection laws because the dealer is a business. However, when a person buys from a private seller, the car will be sold “as is,” which isn’t as great of an option given that there’s no warranty.

Purchasing something “as is” may seem like an appealing idea, but it doesn’t always work out. The seller isn’t responsible for any issues that arise after the sale. However, this is not always the case. For example, if the seller lied about the condition of the vehicle and misrepresented the vehicle, then you could have a fraud claim.

New Car Warranty


How to Prove that Your Private Vehicle Sale is a Lemon?

  • The seller may have known of a defect, but just didn’t disclose it. You should look for any service records to prove this.
  • You need a title and bill of sale to sell your car. All vehicles must have a Certificate of Title from the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) along with an endorsement at the time of sale.
  • You just purchased a car, but it failed the inspection. You’re understandably disappointed, but don’t worry. In some cases, you can get your purchase price refunded. If your vehicle’s repair estimate exceeds 10% of its original cost, you may be eligible for a refund.


Final Words

The California lemon law applies to all new and used cars, trucks, vans, and other motor vehicles purchased or leased in California, including private party sales if they apply. If you have a problem with a vehicle that was purchased or leased in California, and the problem is covered by the California lemon law, then the lemon law may apply to your situation and a lemon law attorney in California can help. Contact the McMillan Law Group office for more information on your specific situation.