Lemon Law for Used Cars: Know Your Rights

Consumer Action Law Group Lawyers Los Angeles CA Lemon Law Attorney

If you’re a car owner, you may be wondering if the lemon law applies to used cars. The good news is that used cars are indeed covered under the lemon law, as long as they meet certain criteria. Let’s take a closer look at what these criteria are and how the lemon law can protect you.

Understanding the Lemon Law for Used Cars

Under the lemon law, a used car is eligible if it experiences a defect that cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts. Additionally, the used car must still be under warranty when the defect occurs. While specific details may vary across different states, it’s important to note that all cars are covered under the federal lemon law.

Blue BMW Sedan near Green Lawn Grass

Risks of Buying Used Cars

Used car dealers often target individuals with low credit scores and incomes, who may not be able to afford a new car. While buying a used car can often result in a great bargain, there is always a risk of fraud and mechanical issues. In some cases, your car may turn out to be a lemon.

If you’re uncertain about whether you have a lemon, it’s advisable to contact a lawyer. They can help evaluate your situation and guide you on the next steps to take.

When Does the Lemon Law Apply to Used Cars?

Blue Mercedes-Benz 5-door Hatchback

Lemon laws for vehicles apply to both new and used cars. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act makes the used car lemon law applicable to cars that come with a written express warranty. It’s important to note that federal and state lemon laws for used cars can have differences.

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While the federal lemon law applies universally, each state may have its own lemon laws that provide additional consumer protection. It’s crucial to understand the specifics of the lemon law in your state to make informed decisions.

Choosing Between Different Lemon Laws

When it comes to choosing between different lemon laws, it’s crucial to consider the specific circumstances of your case. Factors such as whether used vehicles are covered under state laws, the types of vehicles that qualify, and the limitations of damages under state laws can all affect your options.

Understanding the nuances of each lemon law is essential since the case of each vehicle is unique. Every lemon law case must be handled accordingly, taking into account the warranty status and the specific details of the situation.

The Lemon Law in California: Key Considerations

Person Raising Hand in a Room

In California, the lemon law applies to vehicles that experience specific issues while the manufacturer’s warranty is in effect. These issues include four or more repair attempts for the same problem, two or more repair attempts for issues that can cause serious injury or death, or the vehicle being kept by the dealership for over 30 days (non-consecutive).

If any of these conditions are met, your car may qualify as a lemon, entitling you to a refund, replacement, or reimbursement for the damages. Even if the warranty period has expired, you may still be eligible to make a claim if the problems started within the warranty period, up to four years after the manufacturer’s written warranty expired.

California Lemon Laws vs. Federal Lemon Laws

The federal lemon law, also known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, provides consumer protection for goods purchased with an express warranty. Unlike the California lemon law, the federal law covers goods purchased across all states and applies to goods bought for personal use, regardless of whether the buyer is a business.

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The federal lemon law covers both new and used cars, considering a car a lemon after a reasonable number of repair attempts. Compensation for lemon vehicle owners under federal law includes the difference between the purchase price and the value of the car with the known defect.

On the other hand, California’s lemon law is a state-level consumer protection law that applies to vehicles purchased or leased within the state. California offers strong consumer protection, and its lemon law covers both new and used vehicles with an express warranty. If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon in California, you have the right to a refund, replacement, or reimbursement for damages.

White Land Rover Range Rover SUV on Road

Limited Dealer Warranties and the Lemon Law

Some dealerships offer limited warranties, such as a 30-day/1000-mile warranty for older, high-mileage cars. In California, buy-here-pay-here dealerships are required by law to provide this warranty. If a used car is sold without a limited warranty by a buy-here-pay-here dealer and turns out to be a lemon, you may be entitled to a refund or reimbursement.

Used Cars Sold “As Is” without a Limited Warranty

Used cars are often sold without a warranty, meaning they are sold “as is,” with the buyer responsible for repair costs. However, for a car to qualify for an as-is sale, certain requirements must be met. These include a clear disclosure of the as-is disclaimer on the vehicle’s buyer’s guide and documentation stating that the buyer is responsible for all repairs.

If the dealership fails to meet these requirements, the as-is terms may not be valid, and you may have a valid claim against the dealer.

Seek Legal Help for Your Lemon Car

Two People Shaking Hands

To navigate the intricacies of lemon law, it’s recommended to consult with a lemon law attorney. Lemon law cases can be complicated, particularly for used cars. Experienced attorneys understand the details and can help you assert your rights.

Before contacting an attorney, ensure you have your documents in order. These should include service records, warranties, relevant sales contracts, buyer’s guides, and any communication records with the dealership.

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Remember, discussing all aspects of your case with an attorney maximizes your chances of a favorable outcome.

What Can You Get If Your Car Qualifies under Lemon Laws?

If your used car qualifies under the lemon law, you may be entitled to one of the following options:

  1. Refund
  2. Replacement vehicle
  3. Reimbursement for repair bills and other reasonable costs

Keep in mind that settling a car lemon law case can take 90 days or longer. The duration varies depending on several factors.

The Role of a Lemon Law Attorney

When pursuing a lemon law claim, hiring an attorney is highly recommended. Attorneys possess the necessary expertise to help you navigate the situation effectively. At Consumer Action Law Group, our lemon law attorneys offer the following services:

  1. Free evaluation of your case
  2. Answers to your lemon law-related questions
  3. Recommendations tailored to your case

The As-Is Dilemma: What to Do with a Lemon Car

Hand Holding Key with Lemon

Buying a car “as is” and discovering that it’s a lemon can be disheartening. However, even in seemingly hopeless situations, there may be legal options. Don’t hesitate to contact a lemon law attorney if you’ve purchased a used car as is. The Lemon Law attorneys at Consumer Action Law Group can provide a free evaluation and offer further advice.

Dealership Deception: What if the Car Dealer Lied?

In used car sales, dealers sometimes mislead or lie to customers about the condition of the vehicle to make a sale. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial to consult with an attorney to determine if you have a case.

At Consumer Action Law Group, our attorneys thoroughly investigate lemon car cases, including reviewing the vehicle’s history. If the dealer lied or if the car has undisclosed accidents or safety defects, you may have additional claims against the dealership.

Talk to a Lemon Law Attorney for Free!

Even if your used car doesn’t qualify under the lemon law, it’s still worthwhile to contact a lemon law attorney. They can help evaluate whether you have a claim for defects and chronic issues. The legal landscape can be complex, and it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney.

At Consumer Action Law Group, our lemon law attorneys offer free consultations and are just a phone call away. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to have your case evaluated and make the best out of a challenging car situation!

Remember, talking to our experienced attorney is completely free, and we encourage anyone who suspects they have a lemon to consult with our lawyer before giving up hope.

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