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Can You Return a Car If It Has Problems?

a woman sitting on her car with the hood open

If you recently purchased a new or used car and you discovered that it has problems, you might be wondering if you can return it. However, cars aren’t like any other product that you can return within 30 days if you are unsatisfied. There are strict laws pertaining to vehicle purchases.

If you discover that you purchased a lemon, you might need to go through a series of steps to get your money back.

Returning a Used Car

Consumers who purchase a used car for less than $40,000 must be offered a two-day contract cancellation option agreement.

However, the contract cancellation option agreement does not apply to the following:

  • Cars priced at $40,000 or more
  • New cars
  • Private party sales
  • Motorcycles
  • Off-highway vehicles
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Vehicles sold for business or commercial use

If you want a contract cancellation agreement, the used car dealer might request a fee. The dealer may also charge a maximum restocking fee if you do decide to return the vehicle within the two-day period.

Returning a New Car

Since new cars are expected to be in working condition and without defects, there are specific lemon laws that protect consumers who purchase a defective vehicle.

Can You Return a Financed Car Back to the Dealer?

If you've recently financed a car only to find out it is a lemon, returning it to the dealer may be an option for you. In California, consumers are protected under the Lemon Law if buying a new car or returning a leased vehicle that meets certain criteria; this includes returning the car in exchange for a refund or repair of any manufacturing defects.

Before returning your vehicle back to the dealer, it's important to familiarize yourself with the requirements established by the California Lemon Law. The requirements for returning a new car due to its being a lemon in California focus on the consumer's rights. The law states that manufacturers or authorized agents must repair any covered resources within 18 months from delivery of the vehicle or 12,000 miles traveled, depending on whichever comes first. If substantial repair attempts have been made and the car still is defective or unrepairable, then it falls under California Lemon Law requirements for consumer return of the vehicle. The consumer will be entitled to a vehicle replacement or a car buyback.

One must also be sure that all requirements for notices and service requirements have been met as part of these requirements, depending on exactly what is being returned in order to receive compensation. Be sure to take evidence such as photos and documents related to repairs that can justify following through with returning your newly purchased vehicle.

Let Us Help You Protect Your Rights Under Lemon Law

Lemon laws protect both new and used car buyers. If you purchased a defective vehicle, you can file a lemon law claim.

Lemon law cases can be complicated. You will need to present sufficient evidence to prove that your vehicle is a lemon. Our California attorneys at O’Connor Law Group can help you prepare your lemon law case so you can receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact O’Connor Law Group, P.C. today at (949) 390-9695 to schedule a consultation!