Used car sales in California, like auto recycling, can be a profitable business. If you’re seriously considering selling used cars in California you had better educate yourself with California’s Lemon Law.
The used car lemon law was enacted in 1970 as a way to prevent dishonest used car sales in California. California’s lemon law is meant to protect buyers, and in the case of leasing vehicles, the lessee, from expensive repairs that the manufacturer or dealer can’t repair.
Maybe you don’t exactly want to open a used car dealership. You could be the type of person that enjoys purchasing used vehicles at a reasonable price, making some improvements, and reselling the same vehicle for a profit. This process of “flipping” cars doesn’t necessarily exempt you from California used car laws. The used car lemon law can also be a protectant to you as a consumer of used cars. If you feel like you have been victimized there are several attorneys available that are familiar with California’s lemon law.
While the used car lemon law is meant to protect against constant repairs it may not protect you against flood-damaged cars. Flood-damaged cars have definite signs you should look for. New upholstery, or even a new trunk liner can be a sign the vehicle has had flood damage. Look for rust or mud under the gas and brake pedals. Use your nose. If the car smells musty or moldy it’s a sure sign of flood damage. Even the location of the vehicle could be a warning sign. If the vehicle comes from an area that has experienced recent flooding make sure to do a thorough inspection of the vehicle. There is no worse feeling than having been victimized.
The best way to protect yourself, whether you’re the consumer or the seller is to familiarize yourself with California used car laws. We’re not saying you need a degree from UCLA but knowing some of the most common occurrences pertaining to California’s lemon law could prove invaluable.
Another thing to note concerning the lemon law is that it is not specific. The law states that a seller must replace or repurchase the vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle. However, that law does not specify how many attempts are reasonable. What you think is a reasonable amount of repairs may not be what the manufacturer or dealer thinks is reasonable.
It goes without saying that purchasing a used vehicle from a reputable dealer can prevent having to return for constant repairs in the fist place. Look for dealers that put their vehicles through rigorous inspections. Check out online reviews. Consistently low ratings or comments are a telling sign that the particular dealer may not be worth your business.
When purchasing a vehicle through an auction house it is generally noted that vehicles are sold in “as is” condition. This means vehicle are not inspected and the buyer is assuming the responsibility for any damage or repairs. For this reason you should be prepared to do a thorough vehicle inspection yourself or perhaps align yourself with someone that is familiar with vehicle repair that can assist in your purchase of a used car.
If you’ve decided to sell used cars you definitely don’t want the task of having to defend yourself against a lemon law suit. Attorney’s fees are costly and even one lawsuit can put your reputation at risk. Nothing kills business quicker than a bad reputation.
Once you are familiar (at least in part) with the lemon law you can set up a thorough inspection process to prevent repair issues and avoid the hassle of constant repairs and unhappy clients. This is not to say you won’t come across a client or two that try to work the system to their advantage. However, if you’ve done your homework you are more likely to come out ahead. You will also find that continuing the process becomes easier the more experience you gain.