1. INTRODUCTION - HOW CALIFORNIA'S LEMON (WARRANTY) LAW PROTECTS EVERY CONSUMER
INCLUDING CAR BUYERS
The official name for California's "Lemon Law" is the "Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act". This "Lemon Law" protects all buyers of manufactured
products sold in California with a warranty (except food and clothing) at retail for personal use (such as bicycles, washers and dryers);
not just automobiles.
EXPRESS WARRANTY DEFINED: Under the "Lemon Law" an "express warranty" is any written promise
provided by a manufacturer to a consumer at the time of purchase that the manufacturer will repair the goods if there is some failure in
performance or use. It does not require the words "warranty" or "guarantee" or any sort of "registration". The manufacturer must maintain repair facilities in California that can provide warranty service close to the areas
where their products are sold which can repair the goods within a reasonable length of time.
IMPLIED WARRANITES: California also provides buyers of consumers products with certain
Implied Warranties. We cover this in our Used Cars section.
WHAT MAKES A PRODUCT A "LEMON" - RULE OF THUMB: The more times a product has to be repaired the more likely the product is a "lemon".
FIVE ELEMENTS OF A LEMON LAW CASE: The consumer must prove ALL FIVE (5) following to prevail on
a "lemon law" claim:
The consumer has purchased a new product covered by the "lemon law"
The product included an express warranty
The product (during the warranty period) had defect(s) that substantially affected its safety, use, or value
The product was brought to the manufacturers authorized representative for repair of the defect(s)
The product was still not repaired after a "reasonable number of attempts" have occurred.
The legal debate usually focuses on ELEMENT 5; what constitutes a "reasonable number of attempts".
EXAMPLE: A consumer purchases a new laptop computer with a year warranty. During that first year, the consumer had to return the laptop to
the manufacturer's authorized service center three (3) times to have the screen replaced. The consumer's proof of the first FOUR (4) ELEMENTS
is rather easy. But proof FIFTH (5th) ELEMENT is more difficult. Because there is a certain subjectiveness to the standard
"a reasonable number of attempts"