California’s lemon law (Civ. Code, § 1793.2 et seq.) is supposed to provide protection to you, the consumer, in situations where your vehicle is “defective and cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts.” The law applies to most new vehicles purchased in the state of California, but does that same protection extend to cars intended for business use?
According to experts like Bay Area lemon law attorney Conn Law, the law generally applies to vehicles used for “personal, family, or household purposes,” and these alone, however, there are certain situations wherein the lemon law may apply to commercial and business vehicles. Specifically, there are two criteria that must be met for the law to apply:
- The business that owns the vehicle has no more than five business vehicles registered under its name.
- The “gross vehicle weight” of said commercial automobile is less than 10,000 pounds.
Now, these are just the stipulations for business cars to qualify for lemon law protection. You should also keep in mind that there are additional considerations you’ll need to be aware of regarding how the lemon law works in California and when you have protection.
Remember that in California, the lemon law encompasses “vehicles that have already been identified as lemons but were repurchased by the manufacturer, repaired, and resold with a warranty.” It also protects you for the entire length of a manufacturer’s warranty. This means that if a vehicle has an extended warranty then your coverage lasts through the extension.
For the lemon law to apply, recall that a “reasonable” number of repair attempts need to be made first. What is considered reasonable may vary, but some factors that may identify your vehicle as a lemon (and thus applicable) include some of the following:
- The problem manifested within 18 months of acquiring the vehicle or within 18,000 miles of driving (whichever occurs first).
- If required by the warranty or owner’s manual, you notified the manufacturer about the problem.
Additionally, if you have taken this vehicle in for repairs by the manufacturer (or representatives of the manufacturer), and the following apply, the lemon law applies:
- The vehicle has been taken in for repairs four or more times for the same problem and it is still not fixed.
- The vehicle has been taken in at least twice for the same problem, it still isn’t fixed, and the problem is great enough to cause serious harm or even death.
- The vehicle has been out of service for repairs for over 30 days (they don’t need to be consecutive).
So, how does this all work in practice? For example’s sake, let’s say you’ve got a vehicle with a two year warranty, and you discover a defect one year after purchase. You try to get it repaired to no avail, so this means that the manufacturer is typically required to replace the vehicle or compensate you for the vehicle through a repurchase.
And that’s the gist of it, generally speaking. There are, of course, details and particulars that will affect every individual instance, so be sure that you follow up with an expert attorney on how your situation is likely to go.