If you are considering buying a used car, it is always good to get legal advice before the purchase. The California Lemon Law only applies to new cars purchased from dealerships; not privately-owned cars or those sold by individuals.

However, depending on the circumstances of your purchase and whether there were any verbal promises made about the vehicle, you may still have certain rights under contract law that could help protect you against fraud or other misrepresentations. If you feel that either of these apply in your situation, consult with an experienced lemon lawyer San Diego for more information.


What is a Lemon Vehicle?

Driving a brand new car home only to find out it has an issue is incredibly frustrating. But, in California there are strong laws on the books that will protect these consumers from buying vehicles with defects they cannot fix at dealerships such as defective transmissions or faulty airbags. If your vehicle fits this criteria and can’t be fixed then you have just become a victim of lemon law. Your vehicle may be called a lemon if these criteria fit:

  • Your vehicle must be purchased in California
  • The defect must impair the value, safety and the use of the vehicle
  • If the vehicle cannot be repaired even after a reasonable number of repairs

To show that you are eligible to assert your rights under the lemon law, there needs to be three to four attempts at fixing a defect within 12 months. In cases involving potentially dangerous defects, two repairs need to have been made in six months time. You may also qualify for a refund or replacement vehicle if it has spent 30 days or more being repaired by mechanics.

When you want to enforce your rights under the lemon law, make sure that the vehicle is still covered by a warranty. If it isn’t, then private car sales are not protected either. The policy period will also determine if you can claim remedies for problems outside of this time frame too.


Privately Sold Cars Are Sold “As Is”

When you buy a car from an individual, the seller has no legal responsibility to disclose any problems with the vehicle. However, when dealers offer cars “as is,” they must clearly label them as such and make sure buyers are aware of what issues may arise later on. If a dealership fails to do this or tries hiding information about defects that could cause accidents or endanger safety in some way, then it can be considered fraud on their part and sued for damages accordingly.

Private car sales aren’t required to provide a warranty or guarantee about the vehicle, but they can’t conceal facts if you ask specific questions. It’s hard to prove that the seller knowingly misrepresented unless there is an agreement in writing and you can bring legal action against them for your losses. If you are looking to purchase a vehicle from an individual seller, it is always best practice to have your car inspected by a mechanic. If they refuse this request, consider other options for the future of your safety.


Do Used Cars Come Under the California Lemon Law?

If you’re trying to get a great deal on a vehicle, purchasing from the dealership over private sellers might be your best bet. Dealerships must follow specific regulations and disclosure requirements by law that help protect consumers in their purchase of used cars. When purchasing a used car, it’s important to consider the warranties offered by dealerships. Typically, they can last anywhere from thirty days up to three months and any remaining time is generally transferred when one purchases the vehicle.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles states that dealerships must meet stringent criteria to label a purchase “certified.” If the vehicle was repurchased as part of lemon law, damaged by fire or flood, it cannot be certified. A car also does not get this title if sold “as is.” Dealers who make misrepresentations about an automobile’s condition may face liability for such deceptive practices.


Can a Lemon Law Lawyer San Diego Help?

If a defect surfaces in your car while it is still under warranty, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle. The lemon law attorney San Diego at McMillan Law Group can help ensure that everything goes smoothly and gives you the outcome that you deserve for all of this inconvenience.