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Lemon Law Basics
What we know as the "lemon law" is formally known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. Codified in the California Civil Code, beginning with Section 1790, the lemon law outlines certain obligations that the California legislature places on the manufacturer/warrantor.
More specifically, the lemon law requires that the manufacturer/warrantor repurchase or replace a vehicle if it is unable to repair a defect in the vehicle to conform to the express warranty within a reasonable number of repair attempts. (See Cal. Civ. Code §1793.2(d)(2).)
And while the law doesn't provide any definitive number of visits that are required, it does provide a general guideline of when a manufacturer may be presumed to have been given a reasonable number of opportunities for repair of a defect. Within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles on the odometer following delivery to the buyer or lessee, a manufacturer will be presumed to have had a reasonable number of opportunities for repair if:
1) the manufacturer/dealer has had at least two chances to repair a safety-related defect (that was not caused by the buyer/lessee);
2) the manufacturer/dealer has had at least four chances to repair a defect (that was not caused by the buyer/lessee); or
3) the car has been at the dealer for more than 30 total days for repairs.
(See Cal. Civ. Code §1793.22(b).)
It is important to note that the above are simply guidelines that can help you determine whether your car qualifies under the lemon law. For example, your car may qualify even though the above conditions are not met. Likewise, your car may not qualify even if the above are met. Only a knowledgeable consumer rights attorney will be able to help you navigate the legal nuances to a successful recovery.
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