Vehicles are a key part of everyday life for many people, and buying a new car can be an exciting experience. However, not everybody can or wants to purchase a new car. Rather than breaking the bank, some opt for leasing—a cost-effective option that still allows you to drive a new car without the upfront cost. But what if your newly leased vehicle has significant defects that repeatedly need repairs? Lemon law is a legal provision designed to protect consumers from defective products, including cars. Does Lemon law apply to leased vehicles? Can you use the lemon law on a lease just like an owned car? What rights do you have as a lessee? Read on to find out.
Does lemon law apply to leases? The short answer is yes; Lemon law does apply to leased vehicles just like owned vehicles. However, the requirements and protections vary slightly from state to state. Also, leased vehicles are subject to different criteria than owned vehicles. Generally speaking, a leased vehicle must meet the same threshold for eligibility as a purchased vehicle. This means that the vehicle in question must exhibit a substantial defect after a reasonable number of repair attempts that impairs its use, safety, or value.
Lemon Law for Leased Cars: Key Considerations
Lemon law claims for leased cars can be a bit more strict. Don’t be surprised when you find that the requirements are a bit more in depth. The reason is that leased vehicles are not owned by the lessee but rather belong to the leasing company. Therefore, the manufacturer must provide a working vehicle that adheres to any warranties explicitly stated in the lease agreement.
Additionally, manufacturers must ensure that lessees are well aware of the required disclosures regarding warranties before signing the lease agreement.
We should also mention that the law for lemon lease claims requires a different range of documentation compared to that of owned cars. For instance, if you own a vehicle, to certify your ownership, you only need to present the proof of purchase. However, for a lemon law California leased car, lessees are required to produce the lease agreement plus proof of payment for damages, repairs, or services.
Lemon Law for Leased Cars in California
California has one of the most precise and consumer-friendly lemon law provisions in the United States. The California lemon law, which also applies to leased vehicles, specifies that a car must meet certain criteria to be deemed a lemon. This includes:
- Manufacturer defects
- Documented part malfunction
- Nonconformity that substantially hinders use, value, or safety.
Additionally, it must undergo a reasonable amount of repair attempts or be in service during the coverage period (18 months or 18,000 miles). So, if you are yet to take it in for repairs, it is a good idea to do so.
If you are a lessee in California and the vehicle meets these criteria, you can file for relief under the lemon law. California state law requires consumers to contact the manufacturer first to attempt to resolve the problem before seeking legal recourse. If the manufacturer fails to provide a solution, you are free to obtain legal representation to present your claim in court.
Lemon Law for Leased Cars in Other States
We mentioned that lemon law on leased vehicles may vary from state to state. California has one of the best and customer-friendly laws in the country. But what do other states’ lemon law for leased cars look like? What are the common variations in each of them? Here are the most notable ones below:
- Repair Attempts: This simply refers to the number of times the dealership has attempted to repair the vehicle. While the common one is two repair attempts, some states have theirs at three to four.
- Days out of service: You could calculate this as the total number of days the vehicle was at the dealership. It doesn’t have to be at a stretch; if your car was out of service for different days when you took it in with the dealership, you can add up the numbers. Some states have theirs as 10 days while some others have it at 20 to 30 days.
- Warranty Period: Some states have shorter or extended warranty periods on leased cars, so be sure to confirm beforehand.
If you are unsure of your state’s lemon law provisions for leased cars, the best way to learn how they apply to you is by reaching out to a good lemon law attorney in your state and having your case reviewed. They will tell you if you meet the specific qualifications or not.
For example, for lemon law lease California, you can reach out to Quill and Arrow, the best lemon law attorneys in the state. They are just a phone call away and they will receive you with open arms to help and guide you through your case.
In short, can you lemon law a lease vehicle? Well, it is possible to return a leased vehicle but it is very dependent on several factors. Unlike owned cars, you cannot get a refund or exchange your lease. This is because when you lease a vehicle, you sign a legal agreement that states that it is your responsibility to pay lease payments for the entire lease term, including any legal fees assessed in the event of a judgment against you.
Therefore, a lessee who is having significant issues with their leased car must involve the dealership, the manufacturer, and/or legal representation to resolve the problem.
Leasing a car can save you money in the short term, but it’s crucial to be aware of your rights and potential costs in the long run. If you believe you have a lemon and are unsure what to do, seek guidance from an experienced lemon law attorney like Quill and Arrow. The difference between a working car and a lemon can affect your finances, safety, and quality of life. Don’t let a defective car harm your well-being or finances. Protect your rights as a consumer and take action immediately if you believe you have a lemon law lease on your hands. A good first step would be to reach out to the Quill and Arrow today; let them fight and win on your behalf!
Carlo V. DeFalco