Most of state lemon laws are designed to protect new car owners. Anyhow, it does not mean that lemon law for a used car doesn’t exist. It also does not mean that the customer who has bought a lemon has no recourse. Defective used car qualifies under the California Lemon Law when it comes with a warranty which can be either
• Carmaker’s warranty
• Dealer’s limited warranty
• Extended warranty bought with the vehicle
Imagine a case, where the customer has such a warranty and the car was not bought for commercial purposes. Then the California Lemon Law applies. In California leased vehicles qualify under the Lemon Law as long as they come with a warranty. This goes for all cars. Such a warranty is valid within 18 months or 18,000 miles of road use since purchase until the warranty specifies a higher mileage or period.
There is no used car lemon law in California. However lemon car owners can get refunds or complete, satisfactory repair for a used vehicle. Moreover, it can be as easy as for a brand-new car. But don’t forget it is true only if you keep in mind the following. You have to use the car for private, non-commercial reasons and covered by manufacturer`s warranty.
Only 6 states, including Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Mexico, New Jersey and New York have passed used car lemon laws. Under them, the dealer has several opportunities to have the defects fixed. If he fails to do that he has to replace the vehicle or refund the purchase. Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, Maine, Pennsylvania and New Mexico require used-car warranties and set minimum safety standards to protect used car buyers.
Since 2013 customers who buy vehicles in California at the dealerships called “buy-here, pay-here” (dealerships selling high-mileage, old cars to customers who can`t get a usual car loan) have to get an additional measure of protection. According to new California law, this is what the dealerships must provide. They must provide 1,000 mile/30 day warranties for the used cars they sell or lease. With this warranty used car owners can seek protection under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the federal lemon law.
Consumers in California are more protected against buying defective cars. This is the case. This state was the first to adopt the law. According to which new and used car dealerships are entitled to check their used cars through a federal government database. And if a serious problem is found with the car it must be marked with a red warning sticker. The adoption of this law was a victory of law enforcement officials and consumer advocates.
What to do if your used car does not qualify under your state’s Lemon Law
If there is now used car lemon law in your state or your individual case is not covered by state law, another potential resource is the Federal Lemon Law known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. On the whole it falls under the BOW (Breach of Warranty) theory. Reimbursement consumers can get under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act differs from that under the new car lemon laws.
Preparing for the battle
Here is what you have to do soon as you start suspecting that the car you have recently bought is a lemon. You will need to keep detailed records of all defects, repairs performed. And don’t forget about the amount of time your vehicle spent at the workshop. You will need this paperwork if you are going to make a lemon law claim. Otherwise proving that your vehicle is a lemon can be a challenge.
The essential step for you to take is to hire a lemon law attorney to get sufficient restitution. The good news is that the California Lemon Law attorney Hovanes Margarian works on a contingency basis. That means that his legal services will be completely free for you. In case he wins, the car maker will have to pay the legal fees.