California’s Lemon Law Coverage for Used and Leased Autos

February 19, 2024 Lemon Law

California’s consumer protection laws aren’t limited to new or purchased vehicles. The laws also protect those who lease a vehicle or buy a used vehicle in good faith. Under California Civil Code Section 1793.2, 1793.22, 1794, the state’s Lemon Law provides a legal remedy for a consumer whose car, truck, or RV undergoes repeated failed repair attempts. Consumers should not be left with a vehicle that has a defect or malfunction that presents a safety hazard, lowers its value, or makes it impractical for daily use.


California Lemon Law and Leased Vehicles

Lessees do not have to live with an unsafe or impractical vehicle that spends more time in the repair shop than on the road—even if they haven’t fulfilled the terms of their lease agreement. Those with leased vehicles in California may be covered under the state’s Lemon Law under the following circumstances:

  • If the leased vehicle is still covered under its original factory warranty and the defect or malfunction occurred within the first 18 months of the lease agreement or the first 18,000 miles
  • If the vehicle has undergone four or more failed repair attempts for the same defect or malfunction, or
  • The vehicle has had two or more failed repair attempts for a defect or malfunction that presents a significant safety hazard
  • The vehicle has spent 30 or more (non-consecutive) days in a dealership repair shop

Depending on the terms of the warranty, some manufacturers also require the vehicle’s owner or lessee to notify the manufacturer of the defect at least once before filing a Lemon Law Claim.

Does a Used Car Still Qualify as for the Lemon Law in California?

California’s Lemon Law for consumer protection also protects owners of used cars with repeated failed repair attempts. If a used vehicle is still under the terms of its original manufacturer warranty and has undergone four or more failed repair attempts for a defect, or two or more failed repairs for a defect that causes a safety hazard for the driver, passengers, or others on the road, it qualifies for a Lemon Law claim.

Only used vehicles purchased “As Is” from the dealership do not qualify for a Lemon Law claim in California. When a buyer purchases a used car “as is” it’s understood that they are responsible for repairs.

How Does a Lemon Law Claim in California Make Things Right for Those With Used and Leased Vehicles?

A successful lemon law claim for a leased car requires the vehicle’s manufacturer to refund the amount of money the leaseholder has paid toward the leased vehicle as well as refunding any repair costs, rental car fees, or related expenses. It also compels the manufacturer to replace the vehicle with another one of a similar type and value for the remainder of the lease agreement.

Owners of used cars that qualify as a Lemon in California are entitled to a buyback, refund, or replacement vehicle of similar value.

If you have questions about your new, used, or leased vehicle and the California Lemon Law, a Lemon Law lawyer in Encino can help. Under the terms of the Lemon Law, a manufacturer must pay the claimant’s attorney fees.

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