Experiencing trouble with your vehicle? See partial list of Common Vehicle Defects

The San Diego Lemon Law Center

(858) 270-7000

The Law Office of Michael E. Lindsey

Documents are important in these cases, so keep a file. The most important ones are;

1. The Purchase or Lease Contract.
2. Copies of the repair orders.

Also, if you have them,

3. Copies of any correspondence or emails.
4. Pictures or video of the problem. (For example, if there is a light on the instrument cluster, take a picture and save it.)

Don't talk about lemon law at the dealership or with the manufacturer. That will make it more difficult to get repairs or paperwork. What you need to do is take it to them and ask them to fix it. Be helpful, and if you can demonstrate the problem for them, do that. Also, if a light comes on on your dash, take a picture and show it to them at the dealership to help them locate the problem.

I have specialized in lemon law for more than 20 years. I have helped make good law for consumers with 10 published cases. I attended USC in Los Angeles, USD School of Law. My practice is exclusively consumer law. I am 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 all consumers. I have been a contributor to NACA publications on consumer law issues, with 10 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 lemon law is the Consumer Warranty Act. It governs the warranty. The Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to repair your vehicle within a "reasonable number of attempts" or refund your money if they don't. That means you have to give them an opportunity to repair it.

When you take the car in for repair all you really need to say is;

"Here's the car. This is the problem. Please fix it."

Always be courteous. Don't talk lawyers or lemon Law with the dealer. It does not help, and will make it harder to get repairs or paperwork.

Paperwork is 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 they may disappear.

The Lemon Law applies to vehicles registered with the DMV for use on the road, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and motorhomes. It includes personal vehicles, and covers vehicles registered to small businesses, up to a total of 6 vehicles.

Some components have longer coverage, like the engine and drivetrain, and some have less coverage, like tires and brakes. Check your warranty book. Problems that arise within the warranty period may fall within the Lemon Law even if the car is now out of warranty.

Lease Problems

Generally, I do not recommend that the average person lease a car.

What does "as is" mean?

Never buy from a corner used car lot. Simply put, "as is" means you shouldn't buy the car. It means there is no warranty, and if there is no warranty the lemon law does not apply. The real name of the lemon law is the Consumer Warranty Act. As is means the dealer doesn't trust the car, and you shouldn't trust it either.  If you have enough money to buy from a corner car lot, you probably have enough money to qualify to buy a new car.

California Repossession Law

As a general rule, you have far more rights with a sale than with a lease.

San Diego Lemon Law Center | The Law Office of Michael E. Lindsey
Tel: (858) 270-7000 Fax: (858) 270-7710 | 4455 Morena Blvd., Ste. 207 San Diego, CA, 92117 (see map)

General Information Only

The information in the San Diego Lemon Law Center pages is for general information only and is not intended to be taken as legal advice. If you have a specific legal question or problem, please feel free to contact us or you should promptly consult with an Attorney handling such matters in your area for advice.