Lemon laws in California are covered by the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act; these laws were drafted with the intention to protect the rights of consumers who buy defective motor vehicles and stand the risk of losing money through the use of a faulty product.
The Song-Beverly Act expressly states that if manufacturer or business that have been contracted by the manufacturer and act on his behalf cannot repair the issue in a reasonable number of attempts; the manufacturer is obligated by law to either repair the vehicle ensuring that the defect does not arise again, replace the vehicle or return the consumers purchase price.
It is entirely at your discretion, as a consumer, whether to take the compensation or a replacement. The monetary compensation or refund not includes the base price of the vehicle but also any manufacturer installed components as well. Apart from this, the manufacturer is also responsible for reimbursing the consumer for any additional expenditures that he may have incurred when purchasing the vehicle such as sales tax, official fees, registration amount, repairs, towing charges, finance charges and any other cost that were incurred because of the faultiness of the vehicle.
The law is applicable for the entire duration of the warranty period; this means that if you have a four years warranty and the vehicle malfunctions after three and a half years, you would still be eligible or a refund or replacement. However, in this case the manufacturer may charge you for the use of the vehicle and deduct the amount the purchase price to be refunded. On the other hand, the manufacturer may even consider offering you a replacement. However, the law only applies if the manufacturer or its representatives have tried a reasonable number of times to rectify the fault but have not been successful at doing so.
People often wonder about the definition of reasonable attempts and what number of repair attempts would be considered reasonable. The lemon laws in California explicitly mention that in case of serious problem that has the potential to cause harm or even prove life threatening to the driver of the automobile, two or more unsuccessful attempts to repair the vehicle would be considered adequate. However, of the problem is nearly not as serious, the law gives the manufacturer four or more attempt to rectify the problem.
Also, in case of a serious structural or mechanical problem, if the manufacturer has had four or more chances to repair the vehicle and f the consumer has notified the manufacturer about the issue at least once; this would be grounds enough to claim a refund or replacement. Another clause is the number of days for which the vehicle has been inoperable die to the defect. If the vehicle could not be operated for thirty or more days due to the problem arising due to the defect since it was purchased; this again would present substantial grounds for a refund or replacement claim.
However, as a consumer, you also need to understand that the court is going to allow the manufacturer to appear in court with due legal representation as well. Also these laws are guidelines and not hard core statutes that the court has to abide by. The manufacturer's attorney will be given the opportunity to negate your claim and discredit your case; so, it is essential to have all your facts right. Also, you will need to enlist the help of an attorney who has ample of experience in dealing with cases concerning Lemon laws in California. There are several loopholes and finer points to dispute, so these cases are often very complex.
You also need to understand that claims will not be entertained if the vehicle has malfunctioned due to rough usage or the consumers fault. It is also essential to consider a legal recourse as soon as the problem is apparent. The sooner you approach the court, the more opportunity you will have to discredit the manufacturer's claim and prove that you have indeed been wronged.