Does the California Lemon Law Cover Business Vehicles?

Wondering if the California lemon law applies to your company car or the truck you’ve bought for business purposes? The California lemon law generally provides protection for consumers who purchased or leased a new car covered by express written warranty for personal purposes. If the car dealer or automaker fails to fix car defect undertaking a reasonable number of attempts, the owner is entitled to reimbursement under the lemon law. In some limited cases, business vehicles can also be covered by the California lemon law.

When Do Business Automobiles Qualify for Coverage?

According to the California Lemon law, a business car can be deemed a lemon, if the following two conditions are satisfied.

● the weight of the vehicle is less than 10,000 pounds

● the company, partnership, corporation association, LLC, sole proprietorship or any other legal entity to which the vehicle belongs should have 5 or fewer automobiles registered to it in California.

If the car satisfies both of the requirements, then it can be qualified for coverage under the California Lemon Law even if it used mainly for commercial or business purposes.

Don’t Confuse Vehicle Weight with Vehicle Weight Rating

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) are two terms, which can be easily confused. However, for California lemon law purposes, it`s essential to specify the difference between them. GVMR is the amount that is supposed to weigh when the car is fully loaded with cargo and/or maximum amount of occupants. However, when defining whether business car satisfies the requirements of the California lemon law weight limits, GVW is considered.

If an automaker tells you that your car cannot be covered by the California lemon law because its GVWR exceeds 10,000 pounds or it`s registered in a company, you may be entitled not only to lemon law buyback but a civil penalty. If the automaker willfully violates the rules of lemon law statutes failing to comply with car owner`s repurchase or replacement request, then he may recover a civil penalty, which can be two times the amount of actual damages. For instance, if a lemon car owner wins a repurchase on his $30,000.00 vehicle, the jury can award up to an extra $60,000.00 in civil penalty money. It is done not to cover customer`s damages, but to punish the automaker for violating the law.

Contact lemon law attorney Hovanes Margarian to find out whether your business car is covered by the California lemon law and whether you may recover civil penalty.

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