California Lemon Law Summary
CALIFORNIA LEMON LAW SUMMARY
CALIFORNIA LEMON LAW SUMMARY
1. Citation Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, Cal. Civil Code §§ 1790-1795.7; Tanner Consumer
Protection Act, § 1793.22; Cal. Business and Professions Code §§ 472-472.5; 16 Cal. Code of
Regs. §§ 3396.1-3399.6.
2. Motor vehicle
“New motor vehicle” means a “new motor vehicle” (including the chassis cab of a motor home, a
dealer -owned vehicle, a “demonstrator ,” or other vehicle sold with a manufacturer’s new car
(1) is used or bought for use primarily for personal, family or household purposes, or
(2) has a gross vehicle weight under 10,000 pounds and be bought or used primarily for
business purposes by any person or business to which at least one but not more than five
motor vehicles are registered in California.
In addition, the motor vehicle must have been:
(1) originally purchase or leased at retail in California, or
(2) purchased or leased by a full-time active duty member of the Armed Forces who was
stationed or residing in California at the time of purchase or lease or at the time the claim is
filed with BBB AUTO LINE.
The lemon law does not cover any portion of a motor home designed, used or maintained
primarily for human habitation; a motorcycle; or a motor vehicle that is not registered under
the Vehicle Code because it is to be operated or used exclusively off the highways.
(1) Any individual who buys or leases a new motor vehicle from a person engaged in the
business of manufacturing, distributing, selling or leasing new motor vehicles at retail;
(2) A lessee for a term exceeding four months; and
(3) Any individual to whom the vehicle is transferred during the duration of a written warranty
or who is entitled under applicable state law to enforce the obligations of the warranty.
“Person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, association,
or other legal entity that engages in such business.
“Nonconformity” is defined by the Tanner Act as a nonconformity that substantially impairs the
use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle to the buyer or lessee.
“Nonconformity” is defined by the Certification Regulations as any defect, malfunction or
failure to conform to the written warranty. “Substantial nonconformity” is any defect,
malfunction or failure to conform to the written warranty that substantially impairs the use,
value or safety of the new motor vehicle to the consumer.
“Express warranty” is defined by Song-Beverly as (1) a written statement arising out of a sale to
the consumer of a consumer good pursuant to which the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer
undertakes to reserve or maintain the utility or performance of the consumer good or provide
compensation if there is a failure in utility or performance; or (2) in the event of any sample or
model, that the whole of the goods conforms to such sample or model.
It is not necessary to the creation of an express warranty that formal words such as “warrant” or
“guarantee” be used – but if such words are used then an express warranty is created. An
affirmation merely of the value of the goods or a statement purporting to be merely an opinion
or commendation of the goods does not create a warranty. Statements or representations such
as expressions of general policy concerning customer satisfaction that are not subject to any
limitation do not create an express warranty.
“Written warranty” is defined by Certification Regulations as (1) any written affirmation of fact
or written promise made by a manufacturer to a consumer in connection with the sale or lease
of a new motor vehicle that relates to the nature of the material or workmanship and affirms or
promises that such material or workmanship is defect-free or will meet a specified level of
performance over a specified period of time; or (2) any undertaking in writing made by a
manufacturer to a consumer in connection with the sale or lease of a new motor vehicle to
refund, repair, replace, or take other remedial action with respect to the vehicle in the event that
the vehicle fails to meet the specifications set forth in the undertaking, which written
affirmation, promise or undertaking becomes part of the basis of the bargain.
More at: bbb.org/us/auto-line/state-lemon-laws/