The San Diego Lemon Law Center
The Law Office of Michael E. Lindsey
I attended the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, graduating from the University of San Diego School of Law. My practice is exclusively in the area of consumer law. I am a founding member of the Southern California Auto Fraud Lawyers Association, a group of trial lawyers specializing in consumer protection cases under the Automobile Sales Finance Act, the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and the Song Beverly Act. I am also a member of the National Consumer Law Center, and the National Association of Consumer Attorneys, nationwide organizations representing consumers on important areas of the law that affect us all. Over the years I have been a contributor to NACA publications on consumer law issues, and currently have eight published opinions from California Courts of Appeal, and from the United States Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit.
What is the Lemon Law?
The real name of the California lemon law is the Consumer Warranty Act. It governs the warranty, which is the manufacturer's, and in some cases the dealer's, promise to repair the vehicle if something goes wrong with it. At its most basic, the Lemon Law requires anyone who promises to repair a vehicle, to keep their agreement, or to repurchase or replace it if they don't. Specifically, it requires whoever warrants the vehicle to repair it within "a reasonable number of attempts". It also requires you to take the car to them and say;
"Here's the car. This is the problem. Please fix it."
There is no need to talk lawyers or lemon Law with the dealer. It does not help, and may actually hurt. The lemon law does not tell us what is a reasonable number, so it can vary, depending upon the kind of problem you have.
Documents are very important in these cases, so make sure that you keep all of your 1) purchase documents, and 2) all of your repair orders. DON'T keep them in the car, because all too often they will disappear.
Generally, I do not recommend that the average person lease a car.
What does "as is" mean?
Don't buy a car "as is". It means the dealer doesn't trust the car, and you shouldn't trust it either. Unfortunately, "as is" does mean just that, "as is."
California Repossession Law
As a general rule, you have far more rights with a sale than with a lease.