If a vehicle is defective, its owner may have recourse under both California and federal law. The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act allows a person to pursue compensation if they are sold a defective product. In California, an individual may file a lemon law claim whether the vehicle was leased or purchased outright. However, it is generally necessary to allow a manufacturer an opportunity to fix the defect before filing a claim.
The number of attempts that must be made to fix an issue before declaring it a lemon may depend on the type of problem that exists. In some cases, only one failed attempt to fix an issue could qualify a vehicle as a lemon. Typically, a vehicle must come with a valid factory warranty to be covered by a lemon law. Those who wish to file a claim can do so on their own or with the help of Auto Line provided by the Better Business Bureau.
Those who believe that they have a defective car or truck could be offered a replacement vehicle by the manufacturer. Consumers may also receive a check from the manufacturer to reimburse them for the cost of repairs or payments made to an auto loan or leasing company. Individuals who are compensated may retain ownership of their vehicles.
Generally speaking, a manufacturer has a duty to repair a defective vehicle or any other product that it makes. If a problem related to a defective product is not resolved in a timely or satisfactory manner, an individual may take legal action. This may involve private settlement talks, working with a mediator or going to court. Consumers may be entitled to a replacement product or compensation for any costs incurred related to the defect.