California Lemon Law Certified Pre-Owned FAQ by Quill & Arrow LLP

Are you looking to purchase a certified pre-owned car in California, but you’re worried about your legal protections as a consumer? Are you unsure about how the California Lemon Law applies to certified pre-owned cars? Do lemon laws apply to certified pre-owned vehicles? Can a certified pre-owned car be a lemon in the first place? At Quill & Arrow LLP, we’re here to answer all your questions. We’ll provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about lemon law certified pre-owned cars. 

What is the California Lemon Law?

The California Lemon Law is a form of legal consumer protection for vehicle owners. It’s for those who have purchased defective vehicles, whether new or used. The law requires automakers or dealers to offer a refund or replacement to consumers in the event that the vehicle cannot be repaired after many attempts, or if it poses a safety risk.

Does California Lemon Law Apply to Used Cars?

Yes, the California Lemon Law applies to used cars. However, the law’s coverage for used cars can be different from that of new cars. For example, a used car must still be under a manufacturer’s warranty or an implied warranty. This is the only way it can qualify for Lemon Law certified pre-owned protection.

What is a certified pre-owned car?

A certified pre-owned (CPO) car is a used car that the manufacturer or a third-party agency has checked out. This inspection is to ensure that it meets specific standards. These standards may include vehicle age, mileage, condition and more. Certified pre-owned cars usually come with a warranty that provides consumers with peace of mind when purchasing a used vehicle. 

A certified used vehicle is also known as a certified pre-owned vehicle. A CPO is a previously owned vehicle that has not only been inspected but also reconditioned. The inspectors determine that the car has met the minimum roadworthy standards for CPO designation. 

These vehicles usually come with an extension on the manufacturer’s original warranties. These warranties usually have fewer than 60,000 miles and are usually five years max or less. Auto manufacturers sell tens of thousands of certified pre-owned vehicles from their inventories every year. 

What Does The California Vehicle Law Say About CPO Vehicles? 

Generally, the California Vehicle Law states that CPO vehicles must obtain the manufacturer’s permission to “certify” that each vehicle meets certain standards. Certification is a way of removing doubts regarding the condition of a pre-owned vehicle. A CPO vehicle comes with a detailed multi-point inspection and is backed by the original manufacturer for a specified period of time.

Although CPO vehicles go through rigorous inspections, this does not mean these vehicles are guaranteed to be safe or reliable vehicles. As with new and non-certified used vehicles, many of these turn out to be lemons. Not all certification programs across auto brands are the same. Vehicles that pass in some certification programs could be rejected in others. Unfortunately, due to these factors, many consumers end up with vehicles that are not what the dealer initially advertised. 

When purchasing a used vehicle, it is important to ask for full inspection reports. Make sure you research the vehicle history report, and read the title closely. Red flag words on a used vehicle title include “lemon buyback,” “rebuilt,” or “salvaged.” Keep in mind that there are some circumstances where a vehicle cannot be “certified.” Some examples are: 

  • The odometer is inaccurate
  • The vehicle is sold “as-is”
  • The vehicle has damage from collision, fire, or flood
  • Crucial systems are not in working order
  • The pre-owned vehicle has frame or unibody damage
  • The seller refused to provide the buyer with a completed inspection report

Always review a CPO vehicle’s history and title to ensure that it qualifies as a “certified” used vehicle before purchasing.  

Does the California Lemon Law Apply to Certified Pre-Owned Cars?

Yes, the California Lemon Law applies to certified pre-owned cars. However, the coverage for California lemon law used car no warranty status is limited compared to that of new cars. To qualify for Lemon Law protection the defects must have occurred within the warranty period.

Can a Certified Pre-Owned Car Be a Lemon?

Yes, a certified pre-owned car can be a lemon if it meets the California Lemon Law certified pre-owned criteria. The key is whether the car’s defects occurred during the warranty period. It also depends on whether the manufacturer or dealer attempts to repair the defects multiple times to no avail.

What are the Benefits of Lemon Law Protection for Certified Pre-Owned Cars?

The Lemon Law provides consumers with legal remedies for defective cars. The compensation for faulty vehicles gotten at a lemon law California used car dealership can include a possible refund, replacement, or cash settlement. This Lemon Law protection for certified pre-owned cars can provide consumers with peace of mind. When purchasing a used vehicle, they know they have legal recourse if anything goes wrong. 

Does Lemon Law Apply to Used Cars in California and What are the Limitations and Exceptions to this Coverage?

Yes, the lemon law in California does apply to used cars. As we mentioned earlier, to qualify for Lemon Law protection, a certified pre-owned car must still be under warranty or at least had the repair attempts during the warranty period. The Lemon Law may not apply if the defects are caused by neglect, misuse, or unauthorized alterations to the vehicle.

What Should I Do If My Certified Pre-Owned Car Qualifies as a Lemon?

If you believe your certified pre-owned car qualifies as a lemon, the first step is to contact the manufacturer or dealer and make an attempt to resolve the issue directly with them. If multiple attempts to repair the defects have failed, you can then pursue legal action under the Lemon Law. Consult with an experienced Lemon Law attorney to learn about your legal options. This way, you can know how best to proceed with your case.

California Lemon Law Certified Pre-Owned FAQ: Final Thoughts 

Purchasing a certified pre-owned car can be a great way to save money while still getting a reliable vehicle. However, it’s essential to be aware of your legal protections under the California Lemon Law. It is important to ask: is there a lemon law for used cars in California? Any dealership should be upfront and honest with you, but it’s important to do your own research just in case.

At Quill & Arrow LLP, we are very comfortable with the intricacies of the Lemon Law. We have a deep understanding of how it applies to certified pre-owned cars. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal rights and options.

Media Contact: 

Carlo V. DeFalco

eCustom Solutions

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