The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, more commonly referred to as the California Lemon Law, provides strong protections for consumers in the event that they purchase a vehicle deemed to be a lemon. In fact, Californians enjoy greater lemon law protections than consumers living in most other states. This fact was reinforced by a recent Appellate Court decision.
The case under review by the California Appellate Court was brought by Ilan Brand, who leased a new Hyundai Genesis in January 2012. Shortly after Mr. Brand leased the vehicle, the sunroof began spontaneously opening and closing while he was driving. Mr. Brand brought the car back to the dealer, who was unable to correct the issue after several attempts.
Approximately two weeks after taking possession of the vehicle, Mr. Brand tried to invoke the leased car lemon law and requested a refund of his money. The Hyundai dealer countered with an offer to waive his first two lease payments. Mr. Brand rejected this offer and filed a lemon law claim four weeks after leasing the car.
Incidentally, the day before he filed the claim, the Hyundai dealer successfully diagnosed the issue as being caused by a small nick in an electrical line. Mr. Brand chose to move forward with the case anyway.
The Song-Beverly Act provides consumers with both express and implied warranties when they purchase or lease a new vehicle. The manufacturer's express warranty requires the vehicle owner to allow for a reasonable number of repair attempts within the first 30 days of taking possession of the vehicle before the contract can be voided and a refund issued. However, the Song-Beverly Act's implied warranty of merchantability doesn't require this 30 day repair window.
In this particular case, the dealer had made several repair attempts, but not the 4 or 5 attempts typically considered to be "reasonable." In addition, Mr. Brand filed his lemon law claim prior to the conclusion of the 30 day window. As a result, he didn't qualify for the express warranty protections under the California Lemon Law; instead, he only qualified for the implied warranty protections.
When ruling in favor of Mr. Brand, the Court of Appeals determined that it is possible for a jury to decide that this sunroof issue constituted a safety hazard, which would breach the implied warranty. As a result, Mr. Brand is now entitled to take his case before a jury.
Keep in mind, the Court of Appeals didn't grant Mr. Brand a refund under the California Lemon Law. It simply allowed him to move forward with his lemon law claim, leaving his fate in the hands of a jury of his peers. However, it is unlikely that he would have even received this favorable of a ruling in many other states.
If you've purchased or leased a vehicle that you believe is a lemon, Howard Silver can make sure your rights are protected. He is a California Lemon Law attorney with more than 25 years of experience. Mr. Silver will fight aggressively to help you resolve this issue quickly so that you can secure a working vehicle.
Please contact the Law Office of Howard D. Silver today to schedule your free lemon law consultation. Mr. Silver serves clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, and San Bernadino Counties, and throughout California.