Although most lemon laws are applicable to vehicles, some protect consumers from those dreaded appliance malfunctions. Appliance lemon laws are bound by warranties. Warranties should accompany new appliances and regulate what repairs are covered. If you are driving down the road, and your refrigerator falls out of the back of your truck, it probably won't be covered under California lemon law for appliances. But if it just quits making ice after a couple of months, repairs should be covered.
The California lemon law is part of The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and applies to all consumer products – both new and used – purchased for personal use.
Federal Lemon Law for Appliances
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which was passed by congress in 1975, is often known as the federal lemon law. Under this law, manufacturers and sellers of consumer products are required to give consumers detailed information about warranty coverage. It provides protections under the federal lemon law for boats and other vehicles, as well as appliances. Additionally, each state has its own laws regarding defective consumer products.
California Lemon Law for Appliances
All new appliances sold in California must have a serial number permanently attached to them. The appliances shall also be accompanied by a warranty or instruction manual, according to California state code. The warranty or manual should describe how the appliance is expected to work and also provide a place to record the serial number on the first page.
California Appliance Codes
California appliance codes apply to new televisions, radios and computers purchased for personal use. The law also protects California consumers when they buy kitchen appliances, such as stoves, microwaves and refrigerators. New air conditioners, washers and dryers should all be accompanied by a warranty or manual. Most electronically operated machinery with a retail price of $50 or more is covered under California state codes.
Manufacturers' Responsibilities in California
Under California state code, manufacturers – not retailers – are responsible for warranty coverage. Additionally, the state code also holds any individual, partnership or corporation that assembles an appliance responsible for its repair during the entire warranty period. They must also replace an appliance if it is a lemon. The manual's description of how an appliance should function forms a binding guarantee made by the manufacturer. If an appliance does not operate in the way the manual says it will, it must be repaired, replaced or refunded.
Problems With Repairs
When a problem with an appliance that is under warranty arises, you should let the manufacturer know right away. The manufacturer should either replace the lemon appliance or pay for its repair. Appliance repair shops in California are governed by statutes as well. All repairs should be made in a timely fashion and should not have to be repeated more than four times. All repair orders should detail parts that were fixed or replaced. Keep all records, and if the appliance cannot be repaired, the manufacturer should replace it.