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The SB 713 Seeks to Make the Lemon Law Cover Commercial Trucks in California

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

The SB 713 bill was introduced to the California State Senate by Joel Anderson recently in an attempt to incorporate commercial trucks into the legal protection offered by the California lemon law. If the proposal is accepted and the lemon law in the state is amended accordingly, then that would make California the second state after Wisconsin to make new buyers of commercial trucks eligible for lemon law protection.

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The SB 713

If the amendment happens, even commercial vehicles heavier than 10,000lbs will not be exempt from the protection of the lemon law and it will cover the buyer for either 18 months or 100,000 miles; whichever comes first. The public hearing of the matter will be held on May 9 in Sacramento and support from new commercial vehicle owners is expected to play a very important role in affecting the decision of the Californian legal system representatives present at the hearing.

Western State Trucking Association (WSTA)

The Republican has introduced the bill after the WSTA urged the state to take action against failing new trucks supplied by manufacturers and dealers. Members of the association maintained that a good number of them experienced unfair and unexpected downtime with some of the new trucks that they bought, mainly due to problems related to the emissions equipment. Director of Governmental affairs at the WSTA, Joe Rajkovacz himself hails from Wisconsin and he cites his native state’s lemon law in support for the bill, which does indeed cover commercial vehicles in the state. However, Rajkovacz admits that this would be a hard battle to win if enough truckers do not show up at the hearing to tell their stories of distress and show support for the cause.

The Necessary Conditions

The following conditions however, will decide if the vehicle is eligible to be termed as a “lemon” or not. All of the mentioned stipulations must apply in order for the owner to have a case against the manufacturer or dealer, just in case the bill does get through on May 9.

  1. The issue with the truck must be covered by the warranty agreement.
  2. The dealer or manufacturer must be given four attempts to repair the issue in question.
  3. The number of necessary repair attempts will come down to whether the issue in question “is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury” when ignored.
  4. The buyer must directly notify the manufacturer or dealer of the issue each and every time.
  5. Minimum total downtime of 30 days or more from the date of delivery. However, this one can be subject to change under special circumstances.

In case the SB 713 does not go through and the lemon law is not amended next month, any further attempts to amend it will likely have to wait for years. The premier commercial truck manufacturers in the state have not made any comments to the media regarding the hearing as of yet.