The concept that consumers need protection from manufacturers of products that do not perform as advertised or promised goes back decades. The formation of the Uniform Commercial Code in the 1950s was a recognition that there was a benefit to introducing a federal standard that each state was free to adopt as each made its own laws regarding commerce, which is often interstate in nature. The 1970s brought the first nationwide standards for consumer protection and a federal lemon law specifically geared at defective autos. Today, California and each state have their own lemon law statutes.
There are two California laws that address problems consumers may face with poorly performing or defective vehicles. Under the California Lemon Law, car dealers and manufacturers must refund the consumer or replace the car if the vehicle's problems continue despite multiple repair attempts. The Lemon Law applies to cars bought with a warranty from a dealer, not to cars bought in private sale transactions between individuals. If the manufacturer or dealer cannot repair the issue over 18 months or 18,000 miles, the law requires that a consumer receive money back or a new car.
In November 2018 Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC began issuing five recalls for various safety failures in certain 2016-2019 models. If your vehicle was affected and you suffered injuries as a result, you may be entitled to compensation under California's lemon law.
Most California consumers have heard of lemon laws. In general, these apply to certain vehicles that repeatedly experience mechanical breakdowns or cannot be repaired to conform to the automaker's warranty. One of the remedies under this law is the buyback of the vehicle. What most do not realize, however, is the vehicle so designated as a 'lemon" may not be headed for the scrap heap.
When people buy vehicles in California, it's best to get all the associated documents and hang on to them in case a lemon law claim arises later. Documentation may be critical to protecting a person's rights in a dispute. There are three types of document that are likely to be relevant: work orders, repair invoices and documents from after the car owner has left the dealership.