Barnes and Farrell, California Lemon Law Attorneys

Lemon Law Important Points

California (CA) Lemon Law Important Information

The California Lemon Law does apply to new motor vehicles that are used primarily for business purposes. In order for the California Lemon Law to apply to a business use vehicle, not more than five vehicles may be registered in the business name, nor can the vehicle have a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 lbs.

The California Lemon Law applies to consumer goods that are primarily used for personal, family or household use. Under this definition, a consumer good that is sometimes used for business purposes would qualify for California Lemon Law remedies so long as the consumer good is used most of the time for personal, family or household purposes.


The California Lemon Law does not require a consumer to go through arbitration before enforcing one’s rights in court. Beware of auto manufacturer’s literature that indicates one must go to arbitration before pursuing California Lemon Law rights. This information is wrong!

In most circumstances, the arbitration procedure is paid for by the manufacturer. This is both good and bad. It’s good because the consumer does not have to pay for the arbitration process. It’s bad because the arbitration decision makers know who pays their bills – the manufacturers. This built-in bias toward the manufacturers likely tilts decisions in favor of the auto makers. However, it must be pointed out that some consumers do win when utilizing an arbitration procedure.

California Lemon Law Attorney’s Fees

The California Lemon Law requires that a losing manufacturer pay the consumer’s attorney’s fees. A losing consumer is not required to pay a manufacturer’s attorney’s fees in a California Lemon Law case. This one way attorney’s fee provision makes enforcing one’s rights under the California Lemon Law affordable for all California consumers.

Consumer Goods

The California Lemon Law applies to all consumer goods as long as these goods are used primarily for personal, family or household purposes. Consumer goods include, but are not limited to, boats, the livable portion of a motor home/RV, pianos, telephones, toasters, refrigerators, televisions, coffee makers, all appliances, etc.

In order to have a valid California Lemon Law claim, the following basic elements must be met. (1) The consumer good must be covered by a warranty. (2) The consumer good must have a warranty problem. (3) The warranty problem must be subject to a reasonable number of repair attempts (usually four repair attempts of the same problem).

If the above-elements are met, the consumer good may be a lemon pursuant to the California Lemon Law. As such, the buyer may be entitled to a replacement consumer good or a refund of the purchase price.

Motorhomes / RV’s Lemon Laws

The California Lemon Law applies to Motorhomes/RVs. The California Lemon Law separates Motorhomes/RVs into two lemon law categories – “new motor vehicle” and “consumer good.“ The Motorhome/RV chassis/chassis cab (engine, drivetrain, suspension, steering system, etc.) is considered to be a “new motor vehicle” under the California Lemon Law. The livable portion of a Motorhome/RV is considered a consumer good under the California Lemon Law.

Although the “new motor vehicle” and “consumer good” provisions of the California Lemon Law are similar, there are important differences. The “new motor vehicle” California Lemon Law provisions are more specific and sometimes provide additional consumer rights.

The important thing to remember is that the entire Motorhome/RV is covered by the California Lemon Law.

California Lemon Law Arbitration for Vehicles

Used Vehicles California Lemon Law

The California Lemon Law applies to a used vehicle so long as the used vehicle is covered by a warranty and has had warranty repairs performed upon it. The same basic California Lemon Law rules apply to a used vehicle and a new vehicle. The important thing to establish is whether the used vehicle is covered by a warranty. If so the used vehicle may qualify for California Lemon Law remedies.

The Presumption

No other aspect of the California Lemon Law creates more confusion than the “presumption.” The California Lemon Law presumption applies to a vehicle if any of the following occur within the first 18 months and 18,000 miles – (1) the same nonconformity is subject to four or more repair attempts; (2) a nonconformity likely to cause death or serious bodily injury is subject to two or more repair attempts; (3) the vehicle is out-of-service more than 30 days by reason of repair of nonconformities. If any of the above is met, a buyer may assert the presumption on the issue of “reasonable number of repair attempts.” In other words, a reasonable number of repair attempts will be presumed to have occurred.

However, one does not have to meet the presumption in order for the California Lemon Law to apply. No warranty repairs upon a vehicle need be performed within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles for the California Lemon Law to apply. The California Lemon Law will apply to a vehicle so long as warranty repairs have been performed regardless of the age of, or mileage on, the vehicle.

Please note that Statute of Limitations apply to actions under California Lemon Law. A lawsuit must be filed within a specific time frame, or one will be forever barred from bringing an action under the California Lemon Law.

Lemon Law Attorneys serve all of California (CA). The main offerings include: California Lemon Law information and California Lemon Law Lawyers to help with your lemon law cases.

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