Warranty fraud often occurs in the purchase of motor vehicles, used or new. A consumer who buys a car that does not perform as expected or represented under an express warranty, or promise, may have claim for breach of warranty or warranty fraud. Other products are also covered under warranties that come with their purchase including medical devices, tools, appliances, boats, electronics and other items.
If you bought a new car or expensive item that is not performing as expected or has a serious defect, contact the San Jose consumer protection attorneys at The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian.
Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act
This legislation, which also includes a provision called the “lemon law,” protects buyers of new cars. It requires car manufacturers or dealers to provide service or repair to a new vehicle and to either replace the vehicle or reimburse the car price if the vehicle cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of repair attempts. As the buyer, you have the option of receiving a replacement vehicle or having your purchase funds returned to you.
The dealer or manufacturer is also required to reimburse you for towing charges, sales or use taxes, license and registration fees and rental car costs. You may be responsible, however, for the use of the car before it was initially brought in for repair of the problem. For example, if you drove the car for 4,000 miles before its first repair, you would be charged for 3 percent of the purchase price (based on multiplying purchase price by use of 120,000 miles as denominator and the number of miles travelled as numerator).
You have a 4-year statute of limitations for breach of warranty lawsuits.
Under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, there is a “lemon law” provision that provides for problems in cars that arise during the first 18-months or 18,000 miles after its purchase. It covers problems that significantly impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle.
A dealer or manufacturer has to attempt a reasonable number of repair attempts. If the condition is serious or likely to cause death or serious injury, and if the problem cannot be repaired after 2 or more attempts and the manufacturer has been notified of the problem, then a replacement vehicle or return of the purchase price minus its use by you can be demanded. For other problems, at least 4 repair attempts must be made, or the car has been out of service for at least 30 days.
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
All other products, including motor vehicles, are covered under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. It is federal legislation that requires sellers and manufacturers to disclose in a conspicuous manner and simple language the warranty coverage. Car buyers whose cases do not come within the provisions of the California lemon law may be able to bring a claim under this act.
You can have a breach of warranty if the car or product has not been repaired after a reasonable number of attempts. For cars, it is at least 3 attempts, even if the car was fixed.
This act is based on misrepresentation of the safety of the product or vehicle. You may be entitled to compensation for loss of the financial worth of the product or car because of the defect.
For other products, they have an implied warranty that the product will perform as intended or advertised. All consumer goods sold in California come with an implied warranty. These include:
- Printers, monitors and scanners
- Other electronics like televisions, stereos, DVD players and video game systems
An implied warranty is one of fitness and of merchantability. The seller is warranting that the product is fit for its intended purpose and that it meets certain minimum standards of quality and safety.
A seller or salesperson who recommends a particular appliance or product like a computer to handle certain requirements specified by the buyer is giving you an implied warranty that it will deliver and meet these requirements.
You can have a breach of express warranty or warranty fraud claim if the salesperson advises you that the product is guaranteed to be free of defects for one year or if it is written into the sales contract or document that accompanies it. Displaying a model or sample on the dealership or store floor can also create an express warranty.
Consult The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian
Warranty fraud or breach of warranty cases can present complex issues of proof and defenses. Contact the consumer protection lawyers at The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian today if you have a car or product that is not performing as intended or advertised. We have the knowledge and resources to handle warranty fraud cases.