Imagine buying a new or used vehicle only to have it break down. If the new or used vehicle comes with a manufacturer’s warranty, you can take it back to the dealer for repairs. Despite their efforts to “fix” the vehicle, it still keeps breaking down again and again.
That’s a nightmarish scenario, but not an uncommon one. You may have a lemon on your hands.
However, there is recourse. The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Arbitration Certification Program (ACP) can help consumers attempt to resolve their Lemon Law disputes. In lieu of court actions, the state-certified arbitration program is free and can help take the strain and costs off consumers. The arbitration program investigates the situation and determines what relief will be rendered in a fair and expeditious process.
Although there is no set number for reasonable repair attempts, the California Lemon Law Presumption (Civ. Code, § 1793.22) contains guidelines for determining when a “reasonable” number of attempts have been made. In the majority of cases, the manufacturer must either replace or repurchase the vehicle, whichever the consumer prefers.
The California Lemon Law applies throughout the duration of the vehicle manufacturer’s original warranty period.
The ACP works with participating vehicle manufacturers and state-certified arbitration program to ensure substantial compliance with California laws and regulations related to the arbitration process. The ACP does not certify any mediation processes, conduct arbitration hearings, or modify or overturn decisions.
For additional information about the Arbitration Certification Program and state-certified arbitration programs log on to https://www.dca.ca.gov/acp or contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-952-5210.
The California Attorney General’s website, https://oag.ca.gov, also has a wealth of information for consumers detailing what to look for when purchasing a new or used vehicle as well as information about the Arbitration Certification Program/Lemon Law including the following.
- The Lemon Law also applies to used vehicles when they are still under a manufacturer’s new car warranty. Any remaining time left on the warranty protects the car’s new owner.
- Members of the Armed Forces, who are stationed in or are residents of California, are protected by the Lemon Law even if their vehicles were purchased or registered outside of California.
- Lemon vehicles that are bought back by dealers and then resold must be identified as a “lemon law buyback” and have a “lemon” sticker on their door. When lemon buybacks are not properly disclosed and sold “as is,” the buyer may still have rights under the Lemon Law. To find more information on the ACP and Lemon Law, visit the Attorney General’s Website at: https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/cars.