California Military Lemon Law

The California Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act was enacted in 1970 to protect consumers who purchased or leased new automobiles which turned out to be "lemons." Until passage of the Act the principal recourse for consumers was to return the vehicle for repair under the manufacturer's warranty until the problem was fixed. The Act stated that if the manufacturer or its authorized dealer was unable to repair a new vehicle to meet the terms of the manufacturer's written warranty after a "reasonable number of repair attempts," the manufacturer was required to replace the vehicle or return the purchase price to the buyer.

The Act was later expanded to include leased vehicles and again expanded to include some used vehicles if purchased while under the manufacturer's original new car warranties. In 2008 the Act was again expanded to allow service personnel who had purchased a vehicle out of state, to obtain relief under the California law.

Military Lemon Law

The definition of "reasonable number of repair attempts" is defined as being 1. four repair attempts by an authorized repair facility for the same or similar substantial problem or 2. only two repair attempts if the vehicle defect was likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, as long as the first repair for the substantial problem occurred during the manufacturer's new car warranty. Alternatively, a "reasonable number of repair attempts" is presumed if during the first 18 months or 18,000 miles the vehicle was out of service for repairs for more than 30 days.

A prerequisite for being eligible under the CA lemon laws, however, is that the consumer product, whether vehicle, truck, or SUV, has to have been purchased or leased in California. The difficulty for military personnel, of course, was that very often the vehicle was not purchased or leased in California but rather on a duty station in another state, or even overseas for delivery to a U.S. location. Military personnel who purchased or leased "lemons" outside of California were thereby made ineligible for the protections of the California lemon law and left without recourse.

On January 1, 2008 the California lemon law was extended to provide protection to all military personnel stationed in California regardless of where the vehicle was purchased, whether at a U.S. facility in an other state, or even overseas.

If you are stationed anywhere in California and believe you own a lemon, call our California lemon law offices today for a free consultation. You can reach us at 888-395-3666.