A book about the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act

Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act | Tanner Consumer Protection Act

Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and the Tanner Consumer Protection Act are a group of California civil code sections commonly known as and referred to as the California lemon law. These are famous for requiring consumer good manufacturers and distributors to either repurchase or replace a product if they fail to repair it according to their warranty.

What is The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act?

The express language of the Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act states that a manufacturer which provides a warranty with a sale of a product needs to have agents that will be able to repair said product according to its warranty. If the manufacturer or its agents fail to repair the defective product within a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer should either buyback the product or replace it.

While the repair or replacement requirement of the act is the most famous one the act is not that simple. It provides for a detailed regulation of express and implied warranties in the State of California. The Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act begins with §1790 of the California Civil Code and ends at §1795.8. The Song Beverly act itself includes many subparts and subsections, such as the Tanner Consumer Protection Act.

What Products Are Covered Under Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act?

Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act applies to any consumer goods, including consumer electronics, vehicles, boats, etc. The act only expressly excludes clothing and consumables (food and drinks) from its scope. The most useful application of the Song Beverly act, however, remains in the vehicle industry.

Whereas consumer electronics have relatively shorter warranties and are easily replaceable, cars generally have longer warranty coverage periods and are a hassle to replace or repurchase. These longer warranties mean that the vehicle will have to be in conformity with the warranty for a longer period.

The chances that your car will need repairs within 3 or 4 years from the date of purchase are always higher than your phone requiring a repair within 1 year of use. Taking into consideration that modern cars get more and more bells and whistles, they have accumulated many features that can go wrong. All this contributes to frequent failures and failed repairs.

How Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act Can Help Me?

Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act can help you get your vehicle repurchased by its manufacturer or the distributer if it keeps breaking down. What this means is, that you will turn the car back in and receive the payments you made on your vehicle.

What Clients Say

You will also receive your registration payments and any taxes and fees you paid on your vehicle. To learn more about the details of the process you can read our lemon law frequently asked questions section and our comprehensive guide to California lemon law.

There are, however, several caveats to getting your lemon law refund.

First, you will not get all your payments back. The refund is subject to the lemon law mileage offset formula provided by the Song Beverly act itself. To make your job easier we have included the text of the mileage offset formula and lemon law buyback calculation examples to our blog.

Secondly, not all defects will qualify. No manufacturer will buyback your vehicle for a crackling speaker no matter how many times the dealership failed to fix it. Our guide to lemon law (link above) does a good job in describing which kind of defects will qualify and which are unlikely to qualify.

Lastly, you will not get reimbursed for aftermarket parts and accessories installed on your car, nor will you get reimbursed for your insurance payments. Our FAQ section gives more answers on these: Look for “what will I get if my vehicle is repurchased” and “what will I not get if my vehicle is repurchased.”

Now, the positive side. The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act helps you to hire an attorney for free. You will not need to pay a dime to your California lemon law attorney if your vehicle is repurchased by the manufacturer. This is because the Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act has a cost shifting provision. This is a specific language that obligates the manufacturer to pay for the costs of the consumer, including the consumer’s attorney’s fees. Visit our main page about lemon law to learn more and to read some quick facts summarizing California lemon law.

What is the Tanner Consumer Protection Act?

Tanner Consumer Protection Act is one of the essential parts of California Lemon Law. The act comes to rescue to consumers from the vague language of Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and defines what is “a reasonable number of attempts” to repair the vehicle for the purposes of California lemon law before the defective vehicle can be presumed to be a lemon.

Tanner Consumer Protection Act is very limited in its scope. The act only applies to the failed repair attempts made to vehicles that have been purchased or leased within the past 18 months, and have been driven for a maximum of 18,000 miles.

For these vehicles, Tanner Consumer Protection act provides thee cases where it is presumed that the vehicle is a lemon.

Tanner Consumer Protection Act’s Presumptions

According to the act, it is presumed that a reasonable number of repair attempts have been made on a new vehicle

IF

Within 18 months from the delivery or 18,000 miles on the odometer of the vehicle, whichever occurs first, one or more of the following occurs:

1

The dealer tried to repair the same defect 2 or more times and the defect is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven. See, Civil Code 1793.22(b)(1).

2

The dealer tried to repair the same defect 4 or more times. See, Civil Code 1793.22(b)(2).

3 

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The vehicle has been out of service by reason of repair by the dealer for an aggregate total of more than 30 calendar days from the delivery of the vehicle to the buyer. This presumption applies only if the vehicle was out of service because of repair and not because of unavailability of parts to repair the vehicle. See, Civil Code 1793.22(b)(3).

Read our Guide to California Lemon Law to see what defects qualify.

Application of the Tanner Consumer Protection Act

To make sure that Tanner Consumer Protection Act applies, the consumer or the consumer’s attorney need to be able to argue that the failed repair attempts were for the same defect. Sometimes manufacturers try to isolate certain interconnected defects and argue that the repair was not for the same defect and hence argue that the lemon law presumptions do not apply. This is why it is important to hire an experienced lemon law attorney.

Further, to enable the protection of Tanner Consumer Protection Act, the consumer needs to use a third-party dispute resolution process if such process is designated by the manufacturer.

Most manufacturers and vehicle distributers require a non-binding arbitration process before the consumer may file a lemon lawsuit and benefit from lemon law presumptions. Unless the consumer engages in the arbitration process first, the lemon law presumptions may not be asserted. Note, however, that the consumer does not have to accept the decision of the arbitrator in such proceedings and can file a lawsuit notwithstanding the decision of the arbitrator. Use the following link to learn more about arbitration and arbitration agreements.

Once the consumer or their attorney follows all steps to enable the lemon law presumptions and the distributor or the manufacturer still refuses to be reasonable, the consumer will be able to file their lemon lawsuit and assert the presumptions.

To conclude, the Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and the Tanner Consumer Protection Act have robust mechanisms, such as payment of consumer’s costs, refund of payments, and fees, including the vehicle’s registration fee, to protect consumers from the manufacturer’s failure to follow their warranty obligations.


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