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Monday, July 23, 2007

California Bill Offers Lemon Law Protection to Military

California offers consumers the best lemon law protection in the US according to research by the Center for Auto Safety. But for the over 160,000 military personnel who have moved or been transferred to California and purchased their vehicle in another state, the lemon law offered no recourse.

Learn more about California's lemon law and your rights.

Bill extends lemon law to military

By Martin Zimmerman, Times Staff Writer ;From Reuters
July 21, 2007

Military personnel battling with car makers over defective automobiles may soon get some backup from state lawmakers.

The state's lemon law, passed in the early 1980s, makes it easier for consumers to get refunds on defective new and used vehicles still covered by a manufacturer's warranty.

Currently, the law applies only to vehicles purchased in California. If you buy a car out of state and then move to California — a not uncommon scenario for the 160,000 military personnel stationed here — the vehicle isn't covered.

SB 234, a bill sponsored by state Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), would extend the protection to all active duty military personnel stationed in California, as long as their vehicles were purchased in the United States.

"We have a good strong lemon law, but the troops couldn't use it if they bought their car in another state," said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety in Sacramento. "They're getting sent here to protect us and it's only right that we protect them."

Under the lemon law, new or used vehicles with a factory warranty that have been unsuccessfully repaired four times — or two times in the case of life-threatening defects — or that have been out of service for 30 days during the warranty period may be designated "lemons," triggering an obligation for the manufacturer to give the owner a refund and brand the title "lemon law buyback."

The measure to extend the lemon law's provisions to military personnel was introduced after a hearing featuring testimony from a Navy lieutenant who purchased a pickup truck in Washington state and was transferred to California. When problems with the truck couldn't be fixed, the lieutenant — by then deployed to Iraq — had no recourse under the lemon law because he bought the vehicle out of state.

Corbett's bill has not been opposed by the state's car dealers. It is awaiting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature. A spokesman for his office said the governor had not taken a position on the legislation. *

*source - LATimes.com, 7/21/2007

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