Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle

This is a vehicle which has been reacquired by a vehicle manufacturer, 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 one of the following:

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

Additional Requirements

When a warranty return vehicle is sold, 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 each nonconformity reported by the original buyer or lessee of the vehicle.
  • Repairs, if any, made to the vehicle in an attempt to correct each nonconformity.
  • The vehicle includes a 12 month / 12,000 mile warranty for the part/issue that the vehicle was brought back for.

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 dealer is required by law to disclose this information.

What Do I Need To Know If I Purchase a Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle?

You will be notified prior to buying a lemon buyback vehicle by the seller in writing of the nonconformities stated by the previous owner. The 12 month / 12,000 mile warranty only applies to the first buyer after the vehicle has been branded a lemon.

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 usual transfer requirements. Renewal fees will be due if the application is presented within 30 days of the registration expiration date. Additional items and/or fees may be needed based on the type of transfer application.

You may telephone your nearest DMV office at 1-800-777-0133 for the exact documents and fees needed to complete your transaction.