The Legal Lemon Presumption and Available Remedies in Arbitration

California’s lemon law statute is intended to protect new and some used vehicle purchasers or lessees who bought vehicles with severe defective conditions. Here’s how the law works for consumers.

Covered Vehicles
When you contact a lemon law attorney in California, you’ll learn that the law covers all new cars, pickup trucks, vans and SUVs. It even covers the chassis and drive train of motor homes. If a vehicle is owned by a dealer, it’s covered. The same coverage applies to demos too.

The Presumption
California’s lemon law statute is triggered after a reasonable number of attempts are made at repairing a defect that is contemplated under the statute. A legal presumption arises if all of the following elements are true:

  • The issues with the vehicle are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

  • The issue arose in the first 18 months or 18,000 miles of when you took delivery of the vehicle, whichever came first.

  • The vehicle has been in the shop at an authorized dealership for more than 30 days for an issue covered by the warranty. Those days need not be consecutive.

Arbitration
If all of the above elements are satisfied, a presumption is established that reasonable attempts at repairs were made. That’s when it must be decided whether the consumer is eligible for a replacement of the vehicle or a refund. That decision is made by an arbitrator who will decide on any of the following remedies:

  • An additional repair attempt could be ordered.

  • A replacement vehicle might be ordered.

  • A refund of part or all of the purchase price of the vehicle might be required.

  • Incidental expenses like towing and vehicle rental might also be assessed.

A consumer can either accept or reject an arbitrator’s decision. A rejection leaves litigation as the only legal option. Lemon law statutes are complex, and it is strongly advised that consumers consult with a lemon law attorney in California before taking any steps toward the arbitration process. If you believe that you purchased a lemon, arrange to speak with a lemon law attorney in California and call Lemon Law America at 800-875-3666.

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