The California Lemon Law, officially known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, safeguards consumers who buy or lease warranted motor vehicles. Should a vehicle be deemed a lemon due to significant defects that impair its functionality, the law requires the manufacturer or seller to take action by repairing, replacing, or refunding the vehicle.




Case Background

Recently, purchasers of pre-owned vehicles came across a flaw in their car that was covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. Despite their request for repair or replacement from the manufacturer, it was denied due to not being the initial owners. In response, the buyers took legal action under the California Lemon Law to claim their entitlement to a solution.


Trial Court Decision

Nevertheless, the manufacturer’s demurrer was upheld by the trial court, which concurred with their stance by referencing a recent judgment stating that the Lemon Law does not cover secondary purchasers of pre-owned vehicles. The court justified its ruling on the principle that the warranty solely pertained to the initial buyers.


california lemon law


Court of Appeal’s Reversal

The Court of Appeal made a surprising turnaround by refuting the trial court’s decision, pointing out that it went against a well-established precedent set by the same court. They argued that the Lemon Law’s option to repair or replace should be extended to pre-owned vehicles with existing original warranties.

  • The Court of Appeal overturned the trial court’s ruling, stating that secondary buyers of used vehicles are indeed covered by the Lemon Law, contradicting the previous judgment.
  • The overturning of the decision is rooted in an established Court of Appeal ruling that contradicts the more recent opinion cited by the trial court.
  • The California Lemon Law’s repair-or-replace remedy extends to used vehicles with unexpired original manufacturer’s warranties, as confirmed by the Court of Appeal.
  • This ruling underscores the significance of adhering to the straightforward wording of the statute and highlights that the Legislature has not made any changes to the law since the initial, well-established interpretation was given.


Legal Implications

The recent ruling by the Court of Appeal brought attention to the clear wording of the statute and emphasized a crucial fact: there have been no revisions to the law since the original interpretation was made. This suggests that the Legislature may be in agreement with the understanding that pre-owned vehicles with existing warranties are covered under Lemon Law safeguards.


Interpretation of the Statute’s Language

The ruling by the Court of Appeal emphasized the significance of adhering to the clear wording of the statute, underscoring that the law does not specifically bar secondary purchasers with valid warranties from its safeguards.


lemon law california


Legislative Inaction Since the Long-Standing Opinion

The Court highlighted that the Legislature has chosen not to make any changes to the law ever since the enduring viewpoint was articulated, indicating an implicit approval of its understanding.


Implications for Used Car Buyers

This ruling establishes a new standard that broadens the coverage of the Lemon Law to include purchasers of pre-owned vehicles with existing warranties from new car dealerships, directly contradicting the recent viewpoint that left out this group of consumers.


Future Legislative Decisions

The evolving situation might prompt the Legislature to define its position more clearly, potentially marking a pivotal moment in the enforcement of the California Lemon Law.


The Split in Legal Opinions

A sharp divide exists between the recent and established views on how the Lemon Law applies to pre-owned vehicles, prompting the California Supreme Court to scrutinize the new perspective. The outcome of this review is expected to have widespread implications for laws safeguarding consumers.


lemon law


Future Implications

While the Supreme Court examines the latest ruling, a skilled legal representative is advocating for the petitioner to underscore the significance of upholding Lemon Law safeguards for consumers. The verdict could potentially solidify or alter the extent of protections available to individuals purchasing used cars in California.

The recent ruling by the Court of Appeal emphasizes the vital safeguard offered by the California Lemon Law to all consumers, even those purchasing used cars with existing new-car warranties. As legal events progress, they carry substantial consequences for both consumers and businesses. The uncertainty surrounding whether the Supreme Court will support or reverse the differing viewpoint adds intrigue to the situation. Regardless of the final decision, these events highlight the crucial impact of judicial interpretation, legislative measures, and legal advocacy by California Lemon Law lawyers on shaping laws that protect consumers.