When you ride a motorcycle you feel a sense of freedom you don’t get with any other vehicle. When you replace your motorcycle with a new model, you trade up for the promise of speed, ease of handling, reliability, and safety. It’s a big disappointment when your new bike doesn’t keep its promises. You hate to think that you bought a lemon, but lemon motorcycles are out there and you need to make sure you understand the law in order to take legal action to recover your losses.
Is your new motorcycle a lemon? It probably is if it consistently fails to perform the way your warranty promises. It’s probably a lemon if you require constant repairs even though your bike is new. Your motorcycle doesn’t gain automatic lemon status if you have a simple problem that the manufacturer easily corrects. It becomes a lemon only after you’ve endured multiple repair attempts and each attempt was unsuccessful or it has been in the shop for a lot of days and still isn’t fixed.
California Lemon Law
There actually isn’t a California statute that mentions the phrase, “lemon law.” Lemon is simply a word that’s commonly used to designate a poorly manufactured product. The British originally gave the word lemon its double meaning. They used it to describe both a fruit and a substandard product. Americans adopted the term, using it to describe poorly made products (especially cars) that simply don’t perform as expected.
Most consumers buy new products because they want quality, reliability, and safety. They want a manufacturer’s warranty that commits to these standards in writing. Lemon laws recognize that consumers shouldn’t have to accept the financial consequences of buying a defective product.
California’s motorcycle lemon law is identical to car lemon law as long as the motorcycle is registered under the Vehicle Code as being operated on-road. Motorcycles are included within the definition of “New motor vehicle” as provided by Section 1793.22 of California’s Civil Code, which is called the Tanner Consumer Protection Act. With regard to motorcycles, subsection (e) (2) of the statute defines a “New motor vehicle” as “bought or used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.”
Preparing and Presenting Your Lemon Law Motorcycle Case
A manufacturer won’t automatically replace your defective motorcycle or give you a refund. If they’re forced to replace your motorcycle or refund your money, it generates a financial loss for them. Like any situation where you’re trying to recover money from a responsible party, sometimes you must take legal action. Whether you file a lawsuit, request an arbitration, or send a written demand letter, at some point, you must provide supporting evidence.
- Timely Repairs: You must prove that you sought immediate repairs when you first notice a problem.
- Detailed Records: You must produce your records and invoices to show your motorcycle’s repair history. Your records should generate a chronology of your experience with your motorcycle.
- Reasonable Effort to Seek Correction: You must prove that the manufacturer or its representative failed to comply with its express warranties after “a reasonable number of attempts” which, depending on the circumstances, can be as little as four times in the shop or thirty days cumulatively.
- No Neglect or Misuse: You must show that you did nothing to cause or contribute to the problem.
Don’t Expect The Manufacturer to Prove Your Case
Manufacturers maintain production and sales records. Repair shops keep customer records. Still, you shouldn’t count on them to provide any records that will benefit your case. It’s up to you to produce the documentation that supports your motorcycle’s lemon status. When you buy a new motorcycle, you don’t anticipate problems, but you must be prepared for the unexpected.
- Watch the monitor in order to make sure that the service advisor is accurately and thoroughly documenting each of your complaints.
- Organize your motorcycle’s service and repair records from day one.
- Maintain a chronology of service appointments, phone calls, complaints, and other interactions related to your motorcycle.
- Keep track of your mileage. Consider downloading an app that does it automatically.
The Manufacturer Might Owe More Than Restitution
If you prove that your motorcycle is a lemon, the manufacturer must buy it back or replace it. Pursuant to Section 1794 of the Consumer Warranty Protection Statute, you also can recover attorney’s fees, costs, and other damages.
Contact a Lemon Law Attorney
California law requires that manufacturers comply with the Consumer Protection Statutes. That doesn’t mean they will. Before you decide to go head-to-head with a major corporation, consult with a lemon law attorney. California’s consumer protection laws are complicated. When you deal with a motorcycle manufacturer, they will have attorneys representing their legal interests. You need an attorney on your side who understands the legal issues as well as they do.
Reach out right away to schedule a free consultation. Your initial consultation is an information exchange. You discuss your situation with an attorney and learn more about your rights regarding your motorcycle under the lemon law. You don’t have to commit to pursuing your case until you’re ready.