What You Need to Know About Purchasing a Lemon Law Buyback in CA

A lemon law buyback is a defective vehicle that was repurchased by the manufacturer due to recurring issues. The fact that it was deemed a “lemon” means the manufacturer was unable to repair the defect after a “reasonable” number of attempts – and potentially lost the lemon law dispute.

Once the California lemon law buyback has been processed, the manufacturer can put that same vehicle up for sale again.

But should you buy a lemon law buyback? 

Well, lemon buybacks are sold at a significant discount – sometimes thousands of dollars below MSRP. Consumers can potentially buy fancy sports cars that are practically new for pennies on the dollar. Maybe they think they can find a good mechanic who can fix the issue.

However, purchasing a lemon buyback in California always comes with plenty of risks.

In this post, we want to provide some insider information for those looking to purchase a lemon law buyback in California. Let’s discuss this.

What was the Original Defect?

Obviously, the most important thing to know when deciding whether you should buy a lemon law buyback is why it was deemed a lemon. For a vehicle to be ruled a lemon in California, the manufacturer must have made at least two unsuccessful attempts to fix the defect.

So, how can you tell what the original defect in the car was that led to its designation as a lemon buyback in California? The first order of business is to look up the VIN and find out everything about the vehicle’s history.

This should show you exactly what defect resulted in a lemon law refund. More importantly, the manufacturer must disclose the lemon defect, or they have violated the lemon law for a second time. In this case, you may want to contact a lemon law attorney in California.

Purchasing a California lemon law buyback typically means you will need to put some money into repairs – especially if the warranty is expired. If the vehicle has shown multiple issues or significant engine problems, you’re more than likely looking at a money pit.

Steering Clear of a Defective Lemon Law Buyback in California

While some dealers may do the righteous deed and repair the defect, you shouldn’t bet on this.

Keep in mind, just because a dealer or manufacturer is selling a lemon law buyback in California doesn’t always mean they fixed the defect. The manufacturer is legally required to disclose whether the vehicle is a California lemon law buyback – but this is no guarantee the defect has been permanently fixed.

When you do a test drive, try to get a feel for anything that seems out of the ordinary. Listen for any weird sounds coming from the engine or transmission. We also recommend you take the vehicle to your trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection.

Your mechanic should tell you exactly what is wrong with the vehicle, if it’s possible to repair it, and roughly how much it will cost. Even though you might be getting the vehicle at a significant discount, trying to fix a problem that was ruled “unfixable” in a court of law is an uphill battle. Moreover, it puts you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk.

Examine the Warranty

A lemon buyback in California is sold as a used vehicle. Fortunately, used cars are protected under CA lemon law. The original warranty may still be good on the vehicle. But if not, most used vehicles in California are sold with a dealer warranty. These warranties are typically good for 30 days after the purchase date or before 1,000 miles accrue on the odometer. 

What you need to do is check the vehicle’s history to make sure the warranty covers the vehicle’s original defect. Ideally, you want a “bumper-to-bumper” warranty – which means complete coverage for California buyback lemon law.

Keep in mind, that some dealerships will try to sell lemon law buybacks in California “as is.” This means there is no warranty in place, and you’re responsible for any issues with it. You should always try to avoid buying a vehicle “as is,” – especially if it’s a California lemon law buyback.

The Manufacturer’s Obligation

When selling a lemon law buyback in California, the manufacturer has a few legal obligations.

1.      Retitle the name of the vehicle in the name of the manufacturer.

2.      Request the Department of Motor Vehicles to inscribe the ownership certificate with the notation “Lemon Law Buyback.”

3.      Affix a lemon law buyback decal to the vehicle in accordance with Section 11713.12 of the Vehicle Code.

In short, there must be no mystery that the vehicle is a California lemon law buyback.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a lemon law attorney in California if you have questions.

The Dealership’s Obligation

The dealership must provide consumers with:

1.      The vehicle’s VIN, make, model, and year.

2.      A statement that the vehicle’s title is properly marked with a notation that it is a lemon law buyback in California.

3.      A description of each defect reported by the vehicle’s original buyer or lessee.

4.      The results of all repair attempts made to the vehicle.

This information must be provided in a document.

Common Questions Answered About Lemon Law Buyback

Q1. How Do I Make Sure There Aren’t Recurring Defects?

Most of the time, the original warranty is still valid with California buyback lemon law – the warrantor will not cancel it just because it was deemed a lemon. This means you can take the vehicle in for additional repairs. Following the repair attempts, have the vehicle inspected to see if they were successful.

Q2. Is Every California Lemon Law Buyback Defective?

Nope. Even though a vehicle may have been defective in the past, the issue may have been repaired. Perhaps, for example, the vehicle was deemed a lemon because parts were unavailable at the time of the repair.

The manufacturer, or its dealer, should be capable of fixing most defects – one way or another. They were ruled “unfixable” because the manufacturer’s repair attempts were negligent or too expensive. Therefore, the manufacturer would rather “throw” parts at the vehicle instead of honouring its warranty obligations.

Q3. How Can I Avoid Purchasing a Buyback by Mistake?

There are several ways to spot a California lemon law buyback on a dealership lot. Look for:

  • The decals on the vehicle indicate it is a buyback.
  • Notation in the title.
  • Notation in the registration certificate.

If you’re not sure, you can always ask the dealer or manufacturer selling the vehicle. They must legally disclose if it’s a lemon law buyback in California. If they are unwilling or unable to provide this information, you may want to contact a lemon law attorney in California. They can help you review the vehicle and its repair history – to determine if it’s a lemon buyback or not.

Need a Lemon Lawyer in California?

So, should you buy a lemon law buyback? We don’t like to advise people to purchase a California buyback lemon law. However, the discounts can be tough to pass up – we get it.

Keep in mind, purchasing a buyback is playing with fire. If you choose to go this route, you need to be adequately prepared. Feel free to contact Cline APC with any questions or concerns in this process. Our lemon lawyers in California are always happy to steer consumers in the right direction. Give us a call at 866-448-3898, send an email to info@clineapc.com, or schedule a free consultation.

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