If you're like many cost-conscious California car buyers, you probably appreciate finding a good deal on a new or used car. One option that you may find that fits into your budget is a gray market vehicle. This type of car or truck will come with an express written warranty. However, it won't be valid in the United States since this type of vehicle is not imported via a manufacturer's authorized distributor.
What's more, gray market vehicles are not protected under California's lemon laws. This doesn't mean you will be completely in the dark about what you are buying. The state does require that potential buyers be informed that a particular vehicle has a manufacturer's express written warranty that's not valid in the U.S. This information also has to be clearly displayed on a tag, label or ticket that's attached to the vehicle. Plus, the displayed vehicle info needs to tell you about any other "irregularities," such as a lack of availability of compatible replacement parts from the U.S. manufacturer.
The only exception to these disclosure requirements is if a dealer has their own express written warranty that's equal to or better than what's typically included with a manufacturer's express written warranty. One way to tell where your vehicle is originating from is to look for a sticker under the hood or on the door that makes reference to the U.S. or "federal standards." If your vehicle is from Canada, you'll see a maple leaf with "Canada" on it.
There's nothing wrong with purchasing a gray market vehicle. However, a dealer must disclose the fact before you purchase it. If you believe this information wasn't disclosed, we can provide the advice you need to determine what steps to take next. Visit our FAQ page to learn more about lemon laws, dealer fraud and repair fraud.