There are essentially three sets of laws that apply to defective vehicles and products in the United States.
2. The Uniform Commercial Code or UCC has been adopted in all 50 states and covers contracts dealing with the sale of products.
3. Individual State Lemon Laws.
The following is intended to give you a general example of the definition of a State "Lemon Law." It is Section 1793.22 of California's Civil Code that makes up California's Lemon Law. Laws will of course, vary from state to state.
California's Lemon Law - California Civil Code Section 1793.22
California's consumer warranty law requires the manufacturer of a new motor vehicle leased or sold with a manufacturer's written warranty to repair the vehicle during the warranty period so that it conforms to the warranty. The vehicle may be a new car, van, truck or the chassis portion of a motorhome, but it must have been purchased or leased for nonbusiness use. The Lemon Law applies to used vehicles only when they are still covered by the Manufacturer's original warranty.
If the manufacturer or dealer cannot fix the vehicle to conform to the warranty within a "reasonable" number of repair attempts during the entire period that the warranty is in effect, then the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or reimburse the buyer or lessee for its purchase price, whichever the consumer prefers (less a mileage offset for the consumer's use of the vehicle prior to the first repair attempt).
The Lemon Law uses a presumption as a guideline for determining whether a "reasonable" number of repair attempts have been made on a new vehicle. In order for the buyer or lessee to use the Lemon Law presumption, all of the following must be true:
If all of these criteria are met, the Lemon Law presumes that the buyer or lessee is entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund. However, a replacement or refund may not be automatic; the manufacturer is entitled to prove that no problem exists, that a reasonable number of repair attempts have not been made, or that the problem does not substantially impair the vehicle's use, value or safety. Even if your car does not fit the presumption criteria, you may still be entitled to a buy back if you show that your vehicle has been in for a reasonable number of times or cannot be repaired.
- The manufacturer or its agents have made four or more attempts to repair the same problem, or the vehicle has been out of service for more than 30 days (not necessarily all at the same time) while being prepared for any number of problems.
- The four repair attempts or 30 days out of service have occurred within 12 months of the vehicle's delivery to the consumer or 12,000 miles on the odometer, whichever occurs first.
- The problems are covered by the warranty, substantially reduce the vehicle's use, value or safety to the consumer, and are not caused by abuse of the vehicle.
- If required by the warranty materials or by the owner's manual, the consumer has directly notified the manufacturer about the problem(s).
Note that if the manufacturer provides a certified arbitration program, the buyer or lessee must submit the dispute to the program before he or she can sue the Lemon Law presumption in a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
*U - Also offers Used Car Lemon Law or Used Car Warranty Coverage.
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