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Does Lemon Law Protect Consumers Who Have an Implied Car Warranty?


California’s Lemon Law protects auto buyers and lessees who purchase or lease a car that is still under the manufacturer’s warranty. Car buyers are entitled to a repair, refund, or replacement. As we’ve said before, the law protects buyers of both used and new vehicles, so long as the warranty still applies. What sort of warranty is required? Does an “implied” warranty count for the purpose of the California Lemon Law? Continue reading to learn about how the warranty affects your car’s Lemon Law eligibility, and if you bought or leased a lemon, call a dedicated California lemon law attorney for help protecting your rights and your safety.

California Law Protects the Implied Warranty

California law provides consumers with the protection of two different “implied” warranties when purchasing goods: the implied warranty of “merchantability” and the implied warranty of “fitness.” These warranties are “implied” because they are attached to your car purchase–used or new–unless you buy the vehicle “as-is.”

The implied warranty of merchantability generally guarantees that the product is fit for its ordinary purpose. In the case of a vehicle, that means your car works as a car, with no major defects that prevent its normal operation. The implied warranty of fitness applies to sales where the seller knows or has reason to know the vehicle is being acquired for a particular purpose (such as commercial use of a vehicle), and the buyer is relying on the seller’s judgment to select the appropriate vehicle.

If Your Vehicle is Defective, the Defect Could Violate the Implied Warranty

When a seller sells you a vehicle, they are selling it with the guarantee of merchantability and, where appropriate, fitness. These implied warranties apply unless clear, express language in the contract of sale explicitly disclaims those warranties–for example, if the car is being sold “as-is” or “with all faults.” A buyer might not have the protection of the implied warranty if they are permitted to examine the vehicle before purchase and either chooses not to or fails to identify a defect that should have been identified under the circumstances of the examination. Purchasing a vehicle “as-is” waives the implied warranties, but it does not disclaim express warranties, such as the manufacturer’s express warranty.

Notably, the inclusion of an express warranty does not disclaim the implied car warranty. The law requires the seller to explicitly state the vehicle is being sold “as-is” or use other similar language to indicate the waiver of the implied warranty.

If your vehicle has a significant defect that was present at the time you bought the car and that defect prevents the vehicle from being used for its ordinary purpose, you could have a claim for violation of the implied warranty. If the dealer violated the implied warranty by selling you a dud vehicle without disclaiming the implied warranty, then you have grounds to go back on the sale and get a refund.

Dedicated Advice and Representation From a Seasoned California Lemon Law Attorney at Nita Lemon Law Firm

If you are experiencing problems with your vehicle, I would like the opportunity to evaluate your lemon law claim at no charge to you and discuss your legal options. For a free, no-obligation consultation, please call me toll-free at 877-921-5256, submit a free case evaluation on my website at www.nitalemonlaw.com, or email me directly at nick@nitalemonlaw.com. Either way, I will personally evaluate your case and promptly respond to your inquiries. I look forward to hearing from you.

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