Prior Rental Cars Must be Conspicuously Labeled
Cars that have previously been used as part of a rental car fleet tend to have lower re-sale values due to a consumer perception that these vehicles may have been used in an abusive manner and may be more prone to costly future repairs.
As a result, California has enacted regulations under the Vehicle Code which require all licensed car dealerships sell vehicles that they know to be prior rental cars to disclose the prior rental registration to their customers.
Of course, it would be nice if dealerships always complied with the law. But the rental car stigma often presents presents too much of a temptation for unscrupulous dealers who can buy these cars cheaply at auctions due to their rental registration, and then attempt to sell them to unwary consumers for a higher price without disclosing the known rental status.
The two major vehicle history reports companies, CarFax and AutoCheck, now both usually do an adequate job of identifying vehicle previously registered as rental cars. Accordingly, it is relatively easy to find out if your used car used to be a rental. If it was, and the dealer did not disclose this fact to you, then you should immediately contact a California lemon law lawyer to discuss your potential legal claims.