California Lemon Law clearly protects individuals who’ve purchased or leased new or used cars that are still under a manufacturer’s warranty. However, many consumers purchase less expensive vehicles sold in an “as is” state. How does California Lemon Law apply to used cars with no warranty?
The “as is” disclaimer informs the consumers that the vehicle is not under warranty. These vehicles come with the risk of having flaws or defects that then become the buyer’s responsibility. Any faults that the owner discovers in the vehicle are no longer the seller’s responsibility in these cases.
When the seller labels a vehicle “as is” and the buyer understands the risk, then everything is in accordance with the law. However, it’s important to understand that individuals purchasing “as is” vehicles still have rights.
It’s not unheard of for a dealership to sell “as is” vehicles without following necessary legal procedures. This happens commonly in fraud when the seller uses deception to convince consumers that they purchased an “as is” vehicle even though they didn’t take the appropriate measures.
If you feel that the seller defrauded you by not following the required “as is” disclaimers or if they used deception to coerce you into signing the “as is” agreement, you may have a legal case.
It’s typically much less expensive to purchase a vehicle “as is” than it is to buy it new. In many cases it’s even less expensive than purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle. It’s even true that most “as is” vehicles operate just fine for a long time after purchase. The downside of an “as is” vehicle is that the buyer is assuming a significant amount of risk. If a product does not have the protection of a warranty then the buyer is the party financially responsible if any problems occur.
Vehicles aren’t the only products with an “as is” label. In fact, buying an “as is” vehicle is a lot like buying a fixer-upper house. It’s usually a fantastic deal but can potentially require more work and more money to get it where you want it. Consumer protection laws try to help protect consumers by setting regulations for the sellers.
If a dealership is selling a vehicle “as is” then they must properly display this information. Vehicles must be accompanied by a buyer’s guide. This is often hung on one of the vehicle’s windows. They buyer’s guide will have check boxes showing which option applies to that vehicle. If the “As Is” box has a check then it shows that the vehicle has no warranty.
The seller must follow all the proper selling and disclose procedures. If they do so, then they have no responsibility to inform the buyer about the vehicle’s history or known problems. Unfortunately, the lack of information can put buyers in a position where they end up paying for a number of repairs.
Specific disclaimers must be displayed on the vehicle in order for “as is” sales to be legal; the first being that the “as is” status is disclosed on the buyer’s guide for that vehicle. Without this, the seller violates your consumer rights and you may be entitled to replacement, refund, and related damages.
The buyer’s guide has to be clear and displayed on the vehicle. It must state that the vehicle is sold “as is.” It must also include that the quality and performance of the vehicle is the buyer’s sole responsibility. The document should also explain that if the vehicle exhibits a single or even many defects after purchase, the buyer is responsible for the cost of repairs.
All of this information must be displayed on the vehicle. If the buyer’s guide does not include all of this information then the sale was not legal. An illegal “as is” sale means the vehicle and consumer may be eligible for legal protection such as an implied warranty.
The label with the above information absolutely must be affixed to the vehicle prior to the sale. If the seller does not have this information displayed, even if they have you sign an agreement during the purchasing process, California Lemon Law states it is not a proper “as is” sale.
If you purchase an “as is” vehicle that turns out to be a lemon, you have rights. Sellers sometimes fail to follow proper legal procedures when it comes to the sale of “as is” vehicles. In these cases, it’s not uncommon for them to argue that the buyer signed an “as is” agreement and gave up warranty rights. If you suspect that the seller did not follow the law, then speak with a qualified California Lemon Law Attorney.
The California Lemon Law protects consumers just like you. However, some aspects of the law can be confusing, complex, and open to interpretation. This is why it’s important that you work with an experienced, qualified California Lemon Law Attorney.
Owning a lemon vehicle is stressful enough. Don’t allow sellers to make you feel like you have no rights when it comes to your vehicle. Get in touch with Strategic Legal Practices to explore your legal options and get answers to your questions.
We have your best interests at heart and want to ensure that the seller didn’t take advantage of you. Our California Lemon Law experts have a thorough understanding of the law and your rights as a consumer. Don’t feel like you’re trapped with a lemon. Give us a call today to learn about your options.
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