Sometimes, purchasing a used car, truck, or SUV can prove a better deal than approaching a car dealer in the state of California. However, automobiles that don’t operate as they’re expected to may not fall under the California Lemon Law for private party sales.

The California Lemon Law exists to provide assistance and relief to those who have purchased or leased a vehicle in California. The two main areas concerned when it comes to private party sales are whether the vehicle purchased comes with a warranty or guarantee of being in good condition and whether the vehicles in question are still under a manufacturer’s warranty and qualified for a Lemon Law buyback.

Most Private Party Sales Come Without Warranties

Vehicles purchased from private parties that have already surpassed manufacturer warranties don’t often come with any guarantee whatsoever. Instead, the vehicle is sold “as is” and new owners would have no legal recourse against sellers if the vehicle breaks down. Even a promise that the vehicle would be sold in excellent condition is useless if you don’t obtain the statement in writing.

When purchasing a vehicle from a private party, ask a buyer whether you can get its mechanical condition checked yourself. This can cost anywhere between $100 – $250 but will be worth the investment you make in the long run. Remember—beware of sellers who don’t let you get your vehicle inspected beforehand!

Secondly, keep in mind that you can’t rely on what a seller tells you without putting this in writing. If you need to enforce your legal rights, later on, you’ll also need to have proof.

What You Need to Know About the Lemon Law and Manufacturers’ Warranties

Auto manufacturer warranties are always transferred to subsequent purchasers, so if the vehicle sold to you is still under such warranty, it will now apply to you. If you take your new vehicle in for numerous repairs but aren’t getting the service you expect at a manufacturer’s dealerships, whether or not you can be entitled to a Lemon Law buyback is another issue.

Unfortunately, the California Lemon Law does not cover vehicles purchased secondhand, even when still under a manufacturer’s warranty. This is because it only considers consumer goods and new motor vehicles, which used cars are not. Though technically a consumer good, private sellers are not considered retailers.

Some Lemon Law Attorneys Take on Private Sellers

All things considered, some Lemon Law attorneys take cases that regard private sales. Such cases include when buyers are personally affiliated with sellers who are willing to sign a document assigning their rights under the Lemon Law to this said buyer.

Most best-case scenarios occur when:

  1. You’ve purchased a used automobile under warranty.
  2. The private seller agrees to sign under the Lemon Law. 


Lemon Law rights can be tricky, so you’ll want to be able to team up with a firm that knows it from front to back. At Litigation Lemon Law Firm, we specialize in helping consumers pursue California Lemon Law claims in case your vehicle cannot be repaired. We aggressively advocate for the notion that clients are entitled to compensation when they aren’t fairly sold to.