California’s lemon law, one of the first in the nation, has now been reinforced by the addition of the Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights. Now, those who buy used cars will be protected against buying used lemon cars.
California was the first state in the country to have passed an auto lemon law in 1982. It has helped many consumers pitted against defective automobiles. If it is not for this lemon law the unfortunate consumer would have had to endure the pain silently. Though the California lemon law is a pioneering legislation and is one of the most powerful and consumer-friendly laws in the country it had had a catch – it did not protect the consumers of used lemon cars. Those who purchased used cars in California were expected to be on their own even if the car had hidden defects and the seller knowingly hid the lethal facts about the car. The consumer of the used lemon car was totally put in dark.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in late July signed the Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights into law.
This turn of events has changed the face of the ways used cars are being sold in California:
Buyers will now have the option of returning a used vehicle to the point of purchase after a two day trial period
Buyers get an opportunity to find any defects or problems with the vehicle that were either unknown or undisclosed
The law originally allowed a buyer to return a car after two days with no charge and no penalty. This, the dealers argued, would tantamount to their borrowing a car for two days for free for a weekend trip, in which case the consumer is saving on a rental car.
In an attempt to further restrict consumers from simply borrowing the car for two days the legislature added in the new law the following rules:
Buyers will pay a fee in order to enable the return privilege
This fee may not exceed $250
Dealers have the permission to charge a restocking fee for any returned vehicle in addition to the upfront fee
A fee is capped at a maximum of $500
This law applies to all used cars of under $40,000, including certified used cars
The vehicle be driven no more than 250 miles during the cooling off period
This legislature added in the new law:
Allows buyers the opportunity to save money
Offers more transparency in the process of selling used cars
Encourages sellers to be more honest about any problems in the vehicles
Reveals defect if the consumer has the right to find it and return it two days later
Protects consumers against the buyer’s remorse if they had bought the vehicle with the undisclosed defects
Protects consumers against fraud
Protects dealers against abuse of their used cars by free loaders Its time similar laws passed in other states too.