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Lemon Law and Commercial Vehicles: Protecting Your Business Investments

Does your small business rely on commercial vehicles to operate? If so, you know all too well that your profits depend on the reliability of these critical assets – and you could be in serious financial trouble if you discover you’ve been sold a lemon. Fortunately, California’s Lemon Law could protect you in these circumstances.

At CCA – TheLemonFirm, we’re here to defend your rights and guide you through a Lemon Law claim for your commercial vehicle. The Lemon Law’s ins and outs are complicated, especially for commercial vehicles, which is why we want to shed some light on how it applies to your commercial fleet and how you can secure fair compensation if your vehicle is a dud. Let’s dive in.

Does the California Lemon Law Apply to Commercial Vehicles?

The California Lemon Law, officially known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, primarily protects consumers who purchase or lease new vehicles for personal, family, or household purposes. However, the law also extends coverage to certain commercial vehicles. If a business owns or leases no more than five vehicles, including trucks and vans, the California Lemon Law may apply to those vehicles. This means that if a covered commercial vehicle has a recurring defect that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety, and the manufacturer fails to repair it after a reasonable number of attempts, the business may be entitled to a refund or replacement of the vehicle.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) vs. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

Because your ability to bring a Lemon Law claim for a commercial vehicle is dependent on the vehicle’s weight, it’s important that you understand the distinction between two similar but distinct terms: Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). GVW refers to the vehicle’s actual weight, while GVWR refers to what a vehicle weighs with people and cargo inside. The Lemon Law covers commercial vehicles with a GVW of less than 10,000 pounds, which is what the vehicle weighs by itself, not when it’s carrying anything.

What Commercial Vehicle Defects Apply in a California Lemon Law Claim?

Not all vehicle defects qualify you for a Lemon Law claim in California. First and foremost, the Lemon Law only applies to parts covered under the vehicle’s manufacturer warranty. If you made any modifications to your vehicle or used aftermarket parts, those parts do not qualify for Lemon Law protections.

Second, the law says you must give the manufacturer a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix the defect. What qualifies as “reasonable” depends on the nature of the problem; as a general rule, one or two attempts is usually reasonable for safety defects that could cause injuries or death, while three is understood as reasonable for general  defects. You might also qualify for a Lemon Law claim if you have not been able to use your vehicle for more than 30 days since you bought it.

It should be noted, however, that if your business has more than 5 vehicles actively registered to the corporation or LLC, you cannot prevail from filing a lawsuit under the Song Beverly act.

CCA – TheLemonFirm has extensive experience with Lemon Law claims and can help you pursue fair compensation for a defective commercial vehicle. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

About the Author
Sepehr Daghighian is a partner with CCA that is well-versed in all aspects of lemon-law litigation. A 2005 graduate of Loyola Law School, Mr. Daghighian has been practicing litigation throughout the state of California for over 13-years. In this time, Mr. Daghighian has advocated on behalf of California consumers in hundreds of lemon law cases throughout our great state. Mr. Daghighian has also successfully tried numerous such cases to verdict in both Federal and State Court.