In California, vehicles that are still under the original manufacturer’s warranty are protected by the “Lemon Law.” This includes cars, trucks, and SUVs of any age. There are three requirements that must be completed before a product may be labeled as a “Lemon.”

  • The car is malfunctioning (s)
  • The issue(s) with the car reduce its usefulness, value, or safety.
  • The automobile is beyond repair, despite the best efforts of the dealership or manufacturer.

If you have a claim under California’s Lemon Law, a lawyer can help you build it, and lead you through the processes that will provide the most favorable outcome possible under the circumstances.

How Many Attempts at Repairing Something Are Considered Reasonable in California?

There is no established cutoff mileage beyond which a vehicle is considered a “lemon,” despite widespread belief to the contrary. An adequate number of attempts to repair the car were made, as required by the law, if and only if the following conditions were met:

  • There have been at least four attempts to remedy the problem by the dealer or manufacturer, and they have all failed.
  • A vehicle is in a “hazardous condition” when it is inoperable as driven and poses a serious risk to the driver or others, and the dealer and manufacturer has attempted repair twice without success.

Rather than requiring 30 days in a row, all that is required is that the vehicle has spent more than 30 days at the service center for warranty-related issues and repairs. The California Lemon Law Presumption lays forth these parameters, and it is based on them that automobile buyers may seek compensation from the manufacturer.

If neither the manufacturer nor the dealer can fix the car in California, what are the options?

Dealers and manufacturers have a responsibility to provide either of the following options when they are unable to fix a vehicle’s problems:

  • Revoke the use of the car.
  • Swap out the car with something else.
  • Give the client some money as compensation for the trouble they’ve had, but let them keep the automobile.

Buying a car without a warranty and then filing a claim under California’s Lemon Law (https://www.dmv.org/automotive-law/lemon-law.php) is illegal. The applicable lemon legislation only applies to disputes involving the manufacturer’s warranty on the vehicle.

This means that, unfortunately, if you didn’t purchase a vehicle with a warranty, even if there is a defective part or module to the vehicle, you cannot apply for compensation under lemon laws. There are also restrictions as to applying the lemon law when dealing with extended warranty packages. Read the fine print on your warranty prior to purchase, or consult your attorney to verify if your lemon law complaint is eligible with your warranty package. Is it possible to get your money back under the rules of your state? Maybe.

Where can I find out about lemon law?

These rules are meant to provide customers options after they’ve made purchases (like cars) that don’t meet the quality and performance standards. There is a federal law that every state must follow, as well as other rules that vary by state. There is an overview of lemon laws in each state available from BBB, and they have a department dedicated to autos.

Some situations may be exceptions to the rule. In most circumstances, problems with the car have to become apparent while the warranty is still in effect. Due to the vehicle being pre-owned, the warranty can be less comprehensive.

In accordance with federal legislation, you must have the following:

  • You’ve had several problems with the same car, or the producer has made “a sufficient number of tries” (usually three or four, but this is set by the court) to fix the same fault without success.
  • These attempts must be separated by at least a month period of time between them, which shows the problem to be a recurring issue over a documented period of time.

Do not forget these guidelines, which are in addition to any applicable federal or state lemon laws:

  • If you want the results guaranteed by the lemon legislation, you’ll need to take your car to the dealer to have it inspected by their mechanics. The original manufacturer will not be responsible for any repair done on your car by a technician who is not directly employed by the company.
  • Keep meticulous records of any maintenance work done. If you decide to take the case to court, you’ll need to show that the carmaker had many chances to fix your vehicle but failed to do so. Likewise, you’ll need to document how long your car was immobile owing to the problems and any fixes you performed.

You should certainly consider speaking with an attorney. Automakers have teams of attorneys on staff that specialize in handling lemon law disputes because of their experience in the industry. Having a lawyer who is well-versed in lemon law, like Patrea R. Bullock, Esq., on your side may give you confidence and increase your chances of a positive resolution to your case. The lemon law mandates that the losing party (often the automaker) pay for the winning party’s legal representation costs if the plaintiff wins their case.

Before appearing in court, you should talk to an attorney.

The sales contract for the automobile you’re considering may have an arbitration clause. This shows that you are prepared to work out any differences amicably via arbitration, whereby you and the other party debate the details of a settlement before deciding whether or not to formally enter into a legally binding contract.

The legislation of those clauses requires you to contact the BBB’s Auto Line before filing a lawsuit. In certain cases, you must use a product manufacturer-selected arbiter. It’s smart to have a Californian Lemon Law Expert lemon counsel on your side even if the matter doesn’t get to trial. Although it’s not impossible, winning a lawsuit under the lemon law may be very challenging. If you study the process well, keep meticulous records, and work closely with a lawyer, you will boost your odds of a positive outcome.