A California Court of Appeal has ruled the California Lemon Law (Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act) does not apply to private party auto sales. In Dagher v. Ford Motor Company (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 905, the court held a California consumer who purchased a used Ford truck, still covered by the Ford warranty at the time of purchase, in a private sale was not considered a “buyer” under the California Lemon Law and therefore was not entitled to its remedies. The court reasoned a “buyer” under the Lemon Law is defined as one who purchases a consumer good at “retail.” Since the Ford truck was purchased from a private party, the truck was not purchased at retail.
So beware that the California Lemon Law does not apply to vehicles purchased in private party transactions. A consumer in a private party transaction may have rights and remedies under other state and Federal laws. But these state and Federal laws typically do not contain the strong remedies found within this California Lemon Law.