California Lemon Law - California Lemon Law Buyback Repurchase


Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle:

This is a vehicle which has been reacquired by a vehicle manufacturer in California, or another state, effective January 1, 1996, because of specified warranty defect(s). The vehicle is registered in the manufacturer's name prior to resale.

What Is Required of the Manufacturer?

The manufacturer upon reacquiring a vehicle because of specified warranty defect(s) must:

  • Request the Certificate of Title and Registration Certificate be marked "Lemon Law Buyback."
  • Title the vehicle in the manufacturer's name.

The manufacturer will attach a decal to the vehicle. The decal will read "Lemon Law Buyback" and will be affixed to the:

  • Left door frame or
  • Frame of the major entry into the vehicle such as the front right door frame of a motor home.
  • Left side of a vehicle without doors, such as a motorcycle.

Additional Requirements:

When a warranty return vehicle is sold in California, the transferee must be notified, on letter size paper, of the following:

  • The year, make, model, and vehicle identification number. 
  • That the vehicle title is marked "Lemon Law Buyback."
  • The nature of warranty non-conformities reported by the original buyer/lessee of the vehicle. 
  • Repairs, if any, made to the vehicle in an attempt to correct each non-conformity.

How Will I Know If a Vehicle Was a Lemon?

Check for display of the decal described above. Look at the vehicle's Certificate of Title and Registration Certificate to see if it is branded, "Lemon Law Buyback." Ask the dealer/seller if the vehicle was a Lemon Law Buyback. The offering/selling dealer is required by law to disclose this information to California consumers who may potentially decide to buy a given “Lemon Law Buyback” titled vehicle.

What Do I Need If I Purchase a Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle In California?

You will be notified prior to buying a lemon buyback vehicle by the seller (dealer) in writing of the nonconformities stated by the previous owner, by virtue of a written disclosure form.

If you decide to purchase the vehicle, the usual transfer documents and associated fees will be required:

  • Certificate of Title, properly endorsed for transfer. 

  • Transfer Fee.

  • Sales/Use Tax, if applicable.

  •  Smog Certification. 

  • Odometer Disclosure Statement.

The items listed are the typical transfer requirements. Some dealers may identify the vehicle as a LEMON LAW BUYBACK on their used vehicle “BUYERS GUIDE” label that is affixed to the cars window glass. Sometimes there will be the words “Re-acquired Vehicle”.  Ask to see the title to verify the LEMON LAW BUYBACK imprint.  IF it’s not there, it could be a “goodwill buyback” vehicle that is NOT a LEMON LAW BUYBACK.  Only vehicles with the title branded LEMON LAW BUYBACK are true lemon law buyback vehicles.

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California Lemon Law Attorneys
411 N. Central Ave. Suite 230
Glendale, California. 91203

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