News & Publications

Review Granted: The California Supreme Court Will Decide What Protections The Song-Beverly Act Affords To Buyers of Previously-Owned Cars Like GMSR’s Clients

Consumers purchased a two-year old car that—while still under warranty—had proven to be a lemon: The car’s engine didn’t work properly and the manufacturer couldn’t fix it.  So, the consumers sued the manufacturer under the Song-Beverly Act for a refund or a replacement.  Both the trial court and the Court of Appeal ruled that they were out of luck.  The published Court of Appeal opinion observed that the Act’s refund-or-replace provisions protect consumers who purchase a “vehicle sold with a new car warranty,” which it interpreted to include vehicles sold with a full, never-used warranty—not vehicles that, like plaintiffs’, are sold with only some portion of that warranty remaining.  The Opinion reasoned that the Act had cited a demonstrator vehicle as an example of a vehicle that is sold with a “new car warranty” and that demonstrators are always sold with full, never-used warranties.

The consumers then retained GMSR to seek California Supreme Court review.  GMSR argued that review should be granted because the Opinion (1) conflicts with decades-old precedent establishing that the Act’s refund-or-replace remedies apply to all vehicles still under warranty, (2) undermines the rights of thousands of consumers; and (3) is wrong because demonstrators are actually sold only some amount of the original manufacturer’s warranty remaining, just like plaintiffs’ car, so plaintiffs’ previously-owned car must also count as a “new motor vehicle” that the Act’s refund-or-replace remedies protect.

The California Supreme Court granted review.  In Rodriguez v. FCA US, LLC, the Court will decide what rights the Song-Beverly Act affords to consumers who purchase previously-owned cars that are still under warranty.

To learn more and stay up to date on the case, please visit and bookmark GMSR’s regularly updated California Supreme Court Watch page.