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California Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights

Close-up hands of unrecognizable dealer male giving new car key to customer man in business suit on blurred background of new auto in dealership office. Concept of choosing and buying car at showroom.

The California Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights is a state law that offers specific protections for individuals purchasing new and used cars from licensed dealers. Below we highlight the most important aspects you need to know as a prospective car buyer in California. If you feel that you’ve been sold a lemon or fallen prey to auto dealer fraud, contact the Nita Lemon Law Firm to speak with an experienced and dedicated California lemon law attorney.

Key Aspects of the California Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights

The California Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights can be found in sections 11713.18 through 11713.21 of the California Vehicle Code. Key aspects of the Bill of Rights include the following:

  • Option to Cancel for Used Car Buyers: Buyers of used cars (costing $40,000 or less) from licensed dealers can purchase a two-day cancellation option. This allows them to return the car within two days for any reason, under certain conditions like mileage and vehicle condition.

  • Certified Used Cars Requirements: For a used car to be advertised as “certified,” it must meet specific requirements, including a thorough inspection. Cars cannot be certified if they have certain types of damage or if they were previously labeled as a Lemon Law Buyback, salvage, junk, etc. Vehicles sold as-is or with frame damage likewise cannot be certified, and neither can cars where the odometer has been tampered with or does not show the car’s true mileage. Vehicles that have been damaged by fire, flood or a crash also cannot be certified unless they have been repaired before the sale to be in safe operating condition.

  • Buyer Disclosures for New and Used Cars: Dealers must provide a detailed price list for all financed items and a credit score notice that shows what credit bureau the dealer used and what your credit score was. The price list must include additional costs for optional items and the impact on monthly payments with or without the additional items. Examples include service contracts, insurance products, gap insurance, theft deterrent devices, surface protection products, and an option to cancel.

  • Limit on Financing Markups: The Bill of Rights limits the markup a dealer can receive from the financing institution, setting a cap based on the loan amount and term. Markups are basically hidden fees that hike up your loan’s interest rate. Under the California Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights, these markups cannot be greater than two percent of the loan amount if the term of the loan is greater than 60 months. For financing with less than a 60-month term, the allowable markup is 2.5% of the loan amount.

  • Exclusions: The law does not apply to motorcycles, off-highway motor vehicles, or private sales between individuals.

  • Fees: Dealers may charge a fee for the cancellation option and a restocking fee if the car is returned. The option to cancel fee can be either $75 or one percent of the vehicle’s purchase price, depending on vehicle cost, while restocking fees can lawfully range between $175 and $500.

Nita Lemon Law Firm – Your Advocate in Cases of Dealer Fraud or California Lemon Law

The California Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights is an essential law for consumers to understand, ensuring transparency and fairness in the car buying process. Nita Lemon Law Firm is here to help when your rights as a car buyer have been violated. If you believe your consumer rights were violated by a California car dealer, call Nita Lemon Law Firm for a free consultation, in Los Angeles at 213-232-5055 or toll-free statewide at 877-921-5256.

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