Educational Consumer Tips
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Better Business Bureau
This Act was amended in 1982 to clarify what is meant by a reasonable number of attempts to repair a new motor vehicle. This amendment became known as "California's Lemon Law." The Lemon Law applies to cars, pickup trucks and the chassis, chassis cab and the drive train of a motor home. Vans and SUVs are covered under the Lemon Law.
During the time the manufacturer's warranty is in effect on a vehicle, the manufacturer is responsible for making any necessary repairs, and required to refund the price or replace the product if it is fundamentally defective; that is, if it cannot be repaired after a "reasonable number of repair attempts" and the problem is covered by the new vehicle's limited warranty. The problems must occur within 18 months of delivery or within 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever comes first. What constitutes a "reasonable number of repair attempts" is defined as follows:
-Two repair attempts by the manufacturer or its agents is considered a “reasonable number” if the same problem results in a condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, and the buyer or lessee has at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the problem as provided in the warranty or owner's manual.
-Four repair attempts by the manufacturer or its agents of the same problem is a considered a “reasonable number” for non-life threatening or less serious defects. The buyer must have at least once directly notified the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the problem as provided in the warranty or owner's manual.
-If the vehicle is out of service because of the repair of any number of problems by the manufacturer or its agents for a cumulative total of more than 30 days since delivery of the vehicle the precondition of “a reasonable number of repair attempts” will be considered to have been satisfied.
The Lemon Law covers the following new and used vehicles that come with a manufacturer's warranty:
*Cars, pickup trucks, vans and SUVs.
*Dealer owned vehicles and demonstrators.
*Vehicles purchased or leased for personal, family or household purposes.
It does not apply to commercial or fleet vehicles, motorcycles, motor homes, off road vehicles or vehicles that have been abused.
The BBB suggest that consumers first notify and attempt to work with the dealer where the car was purchased to resolve the situation. If you are unable to resolve the situation with the dealer, contact the manufacturer of the vehicle. A contact number should be in your owner's manual. If you are still unable to resolve the problem, you may wish to contact "BBB AutoLine" at 800-955-5100, a special dispute resolution program developed to assist in resolving disputes between consumers and car manufacturers.