The Lemon Law Buyback is a provision in the California Lemon Law that allows consumers to return their vehicles if they turn out to be lemons. To qualify for a Lemon Law Buyback, the vehicle must be covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty and it must have a defect that affects the safety and/or a problem that is not fixed after 2 or more repair attempts.
Once a vehicle is determined to be a lemon, the manufacturer has to buy back the vehicle and give the buyer a full refund of the purchase price, plus any taxes and fees; or replace the vehicle with a similar year, make, and model in exchange.
Whether you’re in San Diego or Los Angeles, CA, or in Northern California, lemon law buybacks are handled the same way; our firm handles cases throughout the state and has filed claims against most dealers and manufacturers to obtain buybacks for lemons.
California Lemon Law Buyback Process
If you believe that you have purchased a lemon (whether it’s a new or used car with a defect), the first step is to contact the dealer or manufacturer and notify them of the problem. Defective cars regardless of the new or used status, are eligible for a refund or replacement as long as they are covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty when the defect first occurred.
If they do not respond, or if they are unable to resolve the issue, it’s probably time to call a lawyer.
How does California law define a lemon law buyback vehicle?
A “lemon law buyback” is defined as a vehicle that has been repurchased by its manufacturer from the purchaser according to an agreement in a lemon claim.
A buyback under California’s lemon law must be made available to the buyer once a vehicle is determined to be a lemon. This determination is often the result of a court order or settlement agreement.
A buyback simply means that the manufacturer will buy the vehicle back from the buyer by refunding all payments in exchange for the return of the vehicle.
It’s worth noting that the miles driven by the vehicle owner will often result in a deduction from the amount refunded. But most cases provide the consumer with a release of all liability for the vehicle; which means the loan is fully forgiven and all payments are waived upon return of the vehicle.
What are the benefits of a Lemon Law Buyback?
A Lemon Law Buyback provides consumers with a full refund of the purchase price of their lemon, plus any taxes and fees. It also absolves the consumer of all liability for the vehicle and provides them with a waiver of any loan balance.
A Lemon Law Buyback is the best possible outcome for a consumer in a lemon law case. It allows them to get rid of their lemon and start over with a new vehicle, without having to go through the hassle and expense of several repairs and the continued uncertainty of not knowing whether the vehicle will perform properly.
Is A Buyback The Same As A Lemon?
We use the terms synonymously, but they are not the same. A buyback is a voluntary act on the part of the manufacturer, and is one option for return and refund in a lemon claim, while a lemon is a vehicle that has been determined to be defective.
A buyback does not automatically mean that your vehicle is a lemon. It simply means that the manufacturer has agreed to repurchase the vehicle from you to avoid a lengthy and expensive legal battle.
If you are considering a Lemon Law Buyback, it is important to consult with an experienced lemon law attorney to determine whether or not your vehicle qualifies as a lemon under California law.
How do I know if I am eligible for a buyback?
To be eligible for a Lemon Law Buyback, you must have purchased or leased your vehicle while it was still covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty and it must have a defect that affects the safety and/or a problem is not fixed after 2 or more repair attempts. As a general rule, the first repair or problem must have happened while the vehicle was covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty was still in effect.
If you are unsure whether or not your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, you should consult with an experienced lemon law attorney.
What is required of a vehicle manufacturer?
Once a vehicle is determined to be a lemon, to be in compliance with California’s Lemon Law, a vehicle manufacturer must:
- Make available to the consumer a full refund of the purchase price, plus any taxes and fees.
- Provide the consumer with a release of all liability for the vehicle.
- Waive any loan balance and forgive all payments remaining upon the return of the vehicle.
How can you tell if a car is eligible for a lemon law buyback?
There are several factors that determine if you are eligible for a lemon law buyback. Here are the requirements that make a vehicle eligible for a lemon law buyback:
- The vehicle was covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty at the time of purchase
- The vehicle had a defect that affects the safety and/or value
- The vehicle had a problem that arose while the original manufacturer’s warranty was still in effect
- The vehicle was not fixed after 2 or more documented repair attempts.
Is selling a lemon car illegal?
In some cases, we see vehicles that are sold after they have been branded as a lemon. There is no law against selling a lemon car. However, the seller must disclose to the buyer that the car was previously branded as a lemon resulting from a lemon law buyback.
If you are considering buying a vehicle after a lemon law buyback, you should have the car inspected by a certified independent mechanic to ensure that it does not have any hidden defects that still remain.
How Does A Buyback Work For Cars?
Once the vehicle has been determined to be a lemon, the manufacturer has to either buy back or replace the vehicle.
In a buyback scenario, the manufacturer must provide the consumer with a full refund of the purchase price, plus any taxes and fees. The manufacturer must also provide the consumer with a loan balance waiver and a release of all liability for the vehicle once the vehicle is returned.
Is a buyback the Dealership or Manufacturers Responsibility?
A buyback is the responsibility of the manufacturer, not the dealership. However, the dealership may be liable for any misrepresentations that they made about the car.
To give you an example of Dealership liability, we had a case where the buyer bought a new very expensive SUV. The original manufacturer’s warranty covered all repairs and problems, but the buyer had to return to the dealership more than 3 times for problems with the backup camera. The dealership replaced the backup camera, but it still didn’t work properly, and the dealer said there was nothing more they could do. We filed a lemon claim against both the dealership and the manufacturer because the dealership should have facilitated a lemon claim for a buyback or replacement of the vehicle.
What happens if a dealer/dealership does not comply?
If a dealership or manufacturer does not repair a vehicle that is subject to the lemon law, they may be liable for any damages that are incurred by the consumer. That means that the dealer must either repair the vehicle when a problem arises during the original manufacturer’s warranty or advise the manufacturer about a defect that might trigger a buyback or replacement.
The consumer may be entitled to a full refund of the purchase price, plus any taxes and fees from the dealer and the manufacturer, depending on the circumstances. The consumer may also be entitled to a release of all liability for the vehicle if the dealership fails to repair a problem that arose under the original warranty.
Make sure you keep all paperwork! Find out about the terms of the warranty you have, & find records that lay out repair attempts and the number of times it was taken for service, etc. Document the repair history, what has been repaired and/or still needs a fix, and other pieces of information for your protection and for making a claim if necessary.
How Does A Lemon Law Attorney Help?
An experienced lemon law attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your lemon.
If you believe that you have a lemon, you should contact an experienced lemon law attorney to discuss your case.
What are the steps in a lemon law case?
There are many steps involved in a lemon law case. The following is a brief overview of the lemon law process that we follow as lemon lawyers:
- Determine if your vehicle qualifies as a lemon under California law.
- Send a demand letter to the manufacturer, detailing your complaint and requesting a buyback or replacement vehicle.
- If the manufacturer does not respond to your demand letter, file a lemon law claim with the court.
- Take steps to investigate the claim during the lawsuit against the manufacturer.
- Aggressively litigate claims to prove that your vehicle is a lemon and order a buyback or replacement vehicle.
What are the disadvantages of a lemon law buyback?
The main disadvantage of a lemon law buyback is that it may take months to get your money back. In addition, you will eventually have to return your vehicle and there may be a deduction for miles driven and any extras that were added to the contract.
If you accept a lemon law buyback, you will most likely not be able to recover special damages from the manufacturer for any losses that you may have incurred, such as time away from work or emotional distress.
What are the advantages of a lemon law buyback?
The main advantage of a lemon law buyback is that you will get your money back typically without having to go through a lengthy and expensive legal process.
Branding the vehicle as a lemon puts a future buyer on alert that the vehicle has a defect and should not be sold without very clear warnings about the specific defect and the lower value.
Another real advantage is that most lemon law attorneys work on a recovery basis so that car buyers are not paying thousands of dollars in legal fees on top of the thousands of dollars they paid for their defective vehicle.