Most people think of a lemon as something you eat, or a car that’s essentially a piece of junk. The truth is, there are lemon laws in California that are designed to protect consumers or provide remedies to those who buy or lease all types of consumer goods.
From kitchen appliances and HVAC systems to wheel chairs and other medical devices, the California Lemon Law applies to almost every product purchased for personal use other than clothing, food or other consumable goods. Naturally, no one buys a washing machine or computer with the expectation that it will be defective in some way; you expect the things you buy to function as they should. That said, the California Lemon Law applies not only to consumers, but manufacturers as well.
Manufacturers of consumer goods are required to provide repair facilities that can be accessed by the consumer in California without difficulty. Additionally, they are allotted a specific number of attempts to repair a defective product, and must limit the time in which it takes to repair defective goods to 30 days. Consumers are expected to present a defective or faulty product to a repair facility in a timely manner. Outside of this, manufacturers have no other expectations of the consumer and must repair the product, or offer a replacement product or refund.
Many consumers are not aware of lemon laws and unfortunately think they have no recourse when it comes to a defective product. For example, you may purchase a box fan or even an electric toothbrush only to get home and find out there is a defect. You just chose a bad product, and since you only paid $15 or $20 for it consider it a mistake, throw the product away and buy another item hoping it will function as advertised. This is an assumption many consumers make, but you have rights regardless of whether an item cost $10 or $10,000.
Whether the issue involves a vehicle, an appliance or a consumer good that’s much smaller, know your rights and what to do to protect yourself if you fall victim to a defective product. Here are a few tips:
Some manufacturers may not want to cooperate, so it’s vital to keep records in the form of warranty repair orders, conversations you’ve had over the phone, dates and times of when you reported the issue, who you talked to or corresponded with via email, telephone, text, mail, etc. Be sure to keep every single document that supports your claim through a paper trail. Getting every detail can make the difference in the outcome.
In most states a manufacturer has a few opportunities to repair the defect (usually three or four), so keep track of how many times you’ve attempted to have the issue resolved according to California’s lemon laws.
Make sure your complaint is valid by writing a letter to the manufacturer of the defective product requesting a replacement product or refund of purchase price.
If despite all of your efforts you fail to get satisfactory results, think about consulting with an experienced and capable California lemon law attorney.
Manufacturers cannot simply put out products that are defective or less than satisfactory without possible repercussions. Whether a car or truck, home appliance, medical device, or other product aside from clothing or consumable goods, you have the right to expect the money you spend on these products is money well spent – that the products will operate as expected. When you have problems or the manufacturer doesn’t want to cooperate, contact a California Lemon Laws attorney to help you handle the matter in a way that will get results.