Lemon Law in California for Leased Cars

Leasing a car is a popular choice among many individuals in California. This allows one to drive a new car without the full commitment of purchasing one. 

However, the question on everyone’s lips is: Are leased vehicles covered under California’s lemon law? The answer is yes. California’s lemon law extends specific rights and protections to those who lease vehicles. This ensures they’re not left without recourse if their leased vehicle fails to meet standard quality and safety expectations.

At Lemon Law Assist, we specialize in guiding clients through their rights under California lemon law, which also applies to leased vehicles. 

If a leased car is proving to be more trouble than it’s worth, our team is committed to helping you secure the compensation you rightly deserve. 

Let’s discuss California lemon law regarding leased vehicles, how to pursue a claim, and the possible outcomes of cases involving lemon law for leased cars.

businessman lemon car lease

California Lemon Law For Leased Cars

The Lemon law in California is designed to protect consumers who buy or lease new vehicles that turn out to have serious defects. This law ensures lessees are not stuck with a vehicle that doesn’t meet the quality and performance standards promised by the manufacturer. 

If your leased car spends more time in the repair shop than on the road due to the same issue or if it has a severe defect that affects its use, safety, or value, and the manufacturer cannot fix it after a reasonable number of attempts, your vehicle might be considered a lemon.

How to Know if Your Leased Car is a Lemon in CA

California’s lemon law protects people who lease cars. The law ensures they’re not left with a defective vehicle. For a leased car to be considered a lemon in California, it must meet the following criteria:

  • The car must have a substantial defect that impairs its use, value, or safety.
  • If the same problem has been attempted to be repaired four or more times without success. For serious safety defects, only two repair attempts might be required. 
  • If the car has been out of service for more than 30 cumulative days due to repair.
  • The defects must occur while the car is still under the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • You must have given the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to fix the defect. 

If your leased car meets these criteria, California’s lemon law might consider it a lemon. And you might be entitled to compensation. This compensation could include a replacement vehicle or a buyback of the leased car by the manufacturer.

How to Prevent Lemon Law Issues with Leased Cars

Preventing lemon law issues with leased cars starts with taking proactive steps before and after leasing a vehicle. Here are practical tips to help you avoid potential problems:

Research the vehicle

Before leasing, research the make and model of the car. Look for any known issues or recalls that could indicate reliability problems. Reviews and consumer reports can provide valuable insights into the car’s performance and common defects.

Inspect the car

Before signing the lease, thoroughly inspect the vehicle. Look for any signs of damage or issues and test all the features to ensure they work correctly. If possible, have a trusted mechanic inspect the car to catch any hidden problems.

Understand your lease agreement

Read your lease agreement carefully and make sure you understand the terms, especially regarding warranty coverage and what happens if the car needs repairs.

Keep records of everything

From the moment you lease the car, keep detailed records of all maintenance, repairs, and communications with the dealership and manufacturer. This documentation is crucial if you encounter issues and need to file a lemon law claim.

car cruising roaming

Act quickly on repairs

If you notice any issues with the car, don’t delay getting it checked and repaired. Early intervention can prevent minor problems from becoming more serious.

What Are the Steps to Take if My Leased Car is a Lemon in California?

If you suspect your leased car is a lemon, taking the right steps can help you navigate the situation effectively. Here’s a guide on what actions to take:

Keep detailed records

Start by keeping detailed records of all repairs and communications with the dealership and manufacturer. Note the dates of repairs, the nature of the issues, how long the car was in the shop, and any conversations you’ve had regarding the vehicle’s issues.

Notify the manufacturer

Once you’ve encountered repeated issues with your leased car, notify the manufacturer in writing. Describe the problems and the repair attempts and express your concern that the car might be a lemon. 

Understand your rights

Familiarize yourself with California’s lemon law. Knowing your rights and the criteria that define a lemon will help you navigate the process more confidently.

Prepare for arbitration or legal action

Be prepared to go through arbitration or legal action. Many lemon law claims are resolved through arbitration, a process where an independent third party reviews the case and makes a decision. However, some cases may require going to court. Having an attorney can be especially helpful in these situations.

File a Lemon Law Claim

If the manufacturer doesn’t resolve the issue after being notified, proceed to file a lemon law claim. We can help you with this process by submitting all necessary documentation correctly.

Hire a Lemon Law Assist Attorney to Help You Navigate the Process

Having a lemon law attorney can significantly improve the outcome of a lemon law case involving a leased car. 

We have in-depth knowledge of state and federal lemon laws at Lemon Law Assist. When you hire us, we will evaluate your case to determine if your leased vehicle qualifies as a lemon and advise you appropriately.

Our attorneys are skilled at negotiating with manufacturers and can secure a better settlement than you might on your own. 

With us, you do not have to worry about upfront payment. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if you win your case. Contact us today to get started!

taking a car in lease

Frequently Asked Questions

Does California Lemon Law apply to leased vehicles?

Yes, California Lemon Law applies to leased vehicles. Lessees are entitled to the same protections as buyers, meaning if your leased vehicle has a substantial defect that the manufacturer cannot fix within a reasonable number of attempts, you may be eligible for a replacement or buyback under the law.

What happens when a lease is a lemon?

If your leased vehicle is a lemon, the manufacturer is required to either replace it with a comparable model or buy it back at a price that includes the amount already paid by the lessee. The specific remedy will depend on the lessee’s preference and the details of the case.

Can you return a leased car in California?

You can return a leased car in California if it qualifies as a lemon under the lemon law. Outside of the lemon law, returning a leased car early may result in penalties or fees as specified in your lease agreement. 

What qualifies as a lemon car in California?

A car qualifies as a lemon in California if it has a substantial defect covered by the warranty that the manufacturer cannot repair within a reasonable number of attempts (usually four attempts for the same problem or two attempts for serious safety issues) or if the vehicle has been out of service for repairs for more than 30 cumulative days.

What is the average Lemon Law settlement in California?

The average Lemon Law settlement in California can vary. This depends on the vehicle’s purchase price, the nature of the defect, and how much the vehicle was used before being identified as a lemon. Settlements may include a vehicle replacement, buyback, or monetary compensation. The exact amount will depend on the specifics of each case.

What can you not do to a leased car?

When you have a leased car, you are typically restricted from making significant modifications or alterations to the vehicle. This can include changing the vehicle’s color, adding aftermarket parts, or making other modifications that significantly alter the vehicle from its original condition. Reviewing your lease agreement for any specific restrictions or requirements is important.

Lemon Law in California for Leased Cars

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