What happens to lemon law buybacks in California?

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For California consumers, it is quite frustrating to purchase a new vehicle only to have to return to the dealer for repairs soon afterward. While a vehicle is still under warranty, certain repairs may be covered. However, there comes a time when enough is enough. If the car requires the same repair or numerous repairs within a certain period of time, it may fall under the Lemon Law.

Every state has some form of lemon law allowing consumers to demand that the manufacturer replace or buy back a vehicle that requires unreasonable repairs within a short period of time after purchase. The amount of protection varies among the states, but one area in which there is a vast discrepancy is in the laws regarding what happens to lemon law vehicles that the manufacturer buys back from consumers. California is one of the few states that require a reacquired vehicle to carry a clear branding.

A vehicle may be branded if it is refurbished; for example, after a dealer salvages a totaled car and repairs it. Before reselling it, the dealer must acquire a new title that warns consumers the car was salvaged. While not all states require the branding of a car that a manufacturer buys back because it is a lemon, California does require this. In fact, such vehicles must also contain "Lemon Law Buyback" decals on the driver's side of the vehicle, usually on the door frame.

The seller of a lemon law buyback must inform the buyer in writing that the car may have defects that resulted in its branding. Consumers buying lemon law buybacks should also understand that the original warranties typically do not transfer. Those who purchase a lemon law buyback in California without receiving lawful warning of its status as a lemon have every right to seek legal assistance.

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