CALIFORNIA LEMON LAW – THE 30 DAY RULE
One aspect of the California Lemon Law that is sometimes overlooked is the fact that warrantors must complete warranty repairs within thirty days of the presentation of the vehicle or consumer good to an authorized repair facility for warranty repairs. (30 day rule; Civ. Code section 1793.2(b).) Recently, new proposed jury instructions were submitted by an attorney to the California Judicial Counsel related to the 30 day rule. These proposed jury instruction sought to include in CACI (the official California civil jury instructions) specific jury instructions related to the 30 day rule. Although the attorney had a good general idea to add 30 day rule jury instructions to CACI, the instructions were flawed. Specifically, the original proposed jury instructions required proof that the problem leading to the vehicle or consumer good being out-of-service more than 30 days substantially impaired the use, value or safety of the vehicle or consumer good to the buyer. This interpretation of the Lemon Law 30 day rule was flawed. The 30 day rule does not require proof of substantial impairment.
Fortunately, before proposed CACI jury instructions become official, commentary on the proposed jury instructions is allowed. In my commentary, I argued that the proposed Lemon Law 30 day rule jury instruction was incorrect as no proof of substantial impairment was needed to establish a violation of the 30 day rule. As a result of my and others commentaries on the California Lemon Law 30 day rule, the CACI jury instruction was changed to eliminate proof of substantial impairment.
So if a vehicle or consumer product is delivered for a warranty repair, that repair must be completed within 30 days regardless of the severity of the problem. If the repairs are not completed within 30 days, the consumer may be entitled to monetary damages under the California Lemon Law.