When purchasing a new car, the last thing anyone wants is to end up with a lemon. Unfortunately, even in California, where strict lemon laws are in place, it can happen to the best of us. A lemon car is a car with a problem that significantly affects its use, value, or safety, and cannot be fixed even after several repair attempts by the manufacturer or dealer. To protect your rights and get the refund or replacement you’re entitled to under the law, follow these steps.


Understanding Lemon Car Laws In California

Having knowledge of the California Lemon Law is essential for car owners facing recurring vehicle problems. Here are the important aspects that you should be aware of:


Definition of a Lemon

A vehicle is considered a lemon in California if it has serious problems that have not been fixed after a certain number of repair attempts. For critical safety defects, this requires at least two repair attempts, and for other defects, it requires at least four repair attempts.If the vehicle is in the repair shop for more than 30 days in the first 18 months or before reaching 18,000 miles, it is considered a lemon.



The California Lemon Law covers new and used vehicles sold or leased in California with the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty.


Manufacturer’s Responsibility

If the manufacturer or its authorized repair facility cannot fix the defects in the vehicle, even after trying a reasonable number of times, they must give you either a new vehicle or refund the money you paid for it.


Legal Help

Consumers in California can hire a lemon law lawyer under the Lemon Law. They can also get their attorney’s fees and expenses paid, so they don’t have to worry about the cost.


Mileage Offset

If the manufacturer refunds the purchase cost, they can deduct a suitable amount for the mileage before the first repair for the same problem.


Clear Communication

It is essential to effectively communicate the issue to the service provider and retain all repair order invoices. It is imperative to possess documented evidence of recurring visits for the identical problem.


Arbitration Programs

Some manufacturers have dispute resolution programs, called arbitration programs, where a neutral arbitrator or group of arbitrators listens to both sides and makes a decision. Participating in these programs can be optional or mandatory. The result can have legal consequences or just be a recommendation, depending on the program’s guidelines.


Lemon Law Presumption

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, also known as California’s lemon law, includes a presumption guideline stating that a vehicle is considered a lemon if the manufacturer or its agents have made two or more unsuccessful attempts to repair a warranty problem that could potentially lead to severe bodily harm or death if the vehicle is driven.


Steps To Take For A Refund Or Replacement

The California Lemon Law allows you to seek a refund or a replacement vehicle if your car is found to be defective. The process of making a successful claim can be complicated and time-consuming. It’s important to understand the necessary steps.


Identify the Issue

It is essential to identify the issue with the product or service as this is crucial for effectively conveying your complaint to the company.


Check the Return Policy

It is important to collect all essential paperwork, such as receipts, warranties, or any other evidence of purchase. In case the problem pertains to a service, having statements or contracts would be beneficial.


Contact Customer Service

Contact customer service and explain your issue. Request either a refund or a replacement. Ensure that your communication is clear, courteous, and succinct while maintaining a professional tone.


Follow up in Writing

Following the initial correspondence, it is advisable to send a written email or letter outlining the matter and the desired resolution. It is important to retain a copy for future reference.


Escalate the Issue

If the company doesn’t respond or refuses to address the issue, it’s best to talk to a supervisor or manager.


Contact Third-Party Dispute Resolution

If the company doesn’t address your concern, you should contact a consumer protection agency for help.


Legal Action

If the product or service is very expensive and the company won’t give your money back or replace it, you can think about getting legal help or contacting a consumer protection organization in your area.


Share Your Experience

Consider the notion of sharing your experience on online review platforms. By doing so, you can greatly aid fellow consumers in making informed decisions and potentially encourage the company to address any concerns you may have.


In closing, if you have purchased a lemon car in California, it is important to know your legal rights and options. The steps outlined in this post can help you navigate the process of seeking a refund or replacement. It is always best to seek the guidance of an experienced lemon law attorney who can provide you with further assistance and representation. Remember, you have the right to a vehicle that meets certain quality standards and the law is on your side.