How to File Under the Lemon Law in California?
In California, the lemon law is designed to protect consumers from being stuck with faulty vehicles that have defects and are still covered under the manufacturer's original warranty. If you believe your car is a ‘lemon’, you may be entitled to compensation such as a refund or buyback, or a replacement vehicle. The good news is that California's lemon law is one of the most comprehensive in the US, and it is an entirely consumer-friendly statute.
Filing a California lemon law case can seem daunting because California lemon laws require that vehicles meet certain strict criteria before they are considered to be lemons. Similarly, there are a few steps you have to follow, and you also need to have a clear understanding of your lemon law legal rights. However, familiarising yourself with the relevant laws and listening to the correct advice can make the whole process much easier.
Familiarize Yourself with California's Lemon Law
California's lemon law applies to cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, and motorcycles that have defects that begin during the original manufacturer's warranty. California's lemon law also applies to motorhomes and boats with an engine warranty for up to three years from its original sale date or 36,000 miles, or whichever comes first).
In order for lemon law claims in California to be successful, customers must prove that their vehicle has substantial defects that were not fixed even after multiple repair attempts.
Major manufacturers and automobile dealers are familiar with the legal aspects of lemon law cases and the loopholes surrounding lemon law claims. These large companies have access to experienced defense firms to represent them in court and they are not shy to use them to discourage many consumers to file a claim.
No Need for Arbitration
When California consumers file a lemon law claim, manufacturers are required to review the claim and decide whether or not it has merit. This process is often called a repurchase evaluation, but California's lemon law does not require customers to engage in this process before filing a lawsuit. Alternatively, consumers may file a claim through the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Arbitration Program which is an alternative form of dispute resolution that aims to resolve disputes outside the judiciary courts.
Through the BBB's Arbitration program, Consumers can pursue their California lemon law rights without engaging in protracted litigation and without having to pay expensive legal fees, as the BBB's Arbitration program is non-binding on the consumer but is binding on auto manufacturers. However, it is important to remember that the BBB arbitrators often rule in favor of vehicle manufacturers and dealerships and against consumers.
Make Sure Your Vehicle Qualifies
Before you can establish whether you have a valid California lemon law claim, you need to make sure that your vehicle qualifies under the lemon law.
In California, lemon laws apply to new and used cars, motorcycles, and trucks. To qualify for a lemon law case, the vehicle must have substantial defects that are not repaired within two or more repair attempts, especially if it has spent more than 30 days out of service due to repairs.
A defective vehicle is described as a vehicle that has serious flaws or defects that substantially diminish its value, impair its use, safety, or reliability, and can cause serious injury or even death. California lemon law applies to vehicles purchased from a manufacturer or licensed dealership and not a private individual. The consumer must also be able to show that the defective vehicle has had a reasonable number of attempts to fix the same issue or defect.
Check Your Purchase Contract and Manufacturer's Warranty
Before filing a lemon law claim, check your purchase or lease agreement contract for the manufacturer's written guarantee, and make sure that it is still active. California's lemon law applies to cars within their original warranty period, which generally lasts three years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first).
To file a lemon law case, the lemon vehicle must have had a reasonable number of attempts to be repaired under warranty. However, as long as the consumer can show a repair order or repair invoice and prove that their vehicle has had a reasonable number of repair attempts under the warranty, they may still be able to file a successful lemon law claim even if the warranty has since expired.
Collect All Relevant Documentation
It is important to gather all relevant documents that can help with your lemon law claim. This includes your valid warranty, repair orders, invoices for repairs, written notices from the manufacturer about the defect, any correspondence sent between you and the manufacturer or dealer, photographs of the defective vehicle, witness statements, and any other documentation that can strengthen your claim.
Where you Have your Vehicle Repaired is Important
In California, the lemon law allows consumers to choose where they have their vehicle repaired, but you need to be careful when selecting a repair shop. The lemon law
requires that the defective vehicle must have been taken for repairs to the authorized dealership or manufacturer during its warranty period, and not an uncertified local mechanic because this can void a written warranty. Furthermore, customers must show proof and evidence of repair orders that the same defect was reported each time the vehicle was brought into the garage for a reasonable number of repair attempts.
Contact a Specialist California Lemon Law Attorney
The lemon law process starts by filing a legal claim against the car manufacturer or dealership. Although it is possible to file a California lemon law claim on your own, you may want to consider hiring an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and give you the best chance of success. An experienced lawyer will be able to advise you on how best to present your case and represent you in court if necessary.
How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Lemon Law Lawyer?
Consumers are often discouraged to pursue a lemon law claim because they are worried about the attorney fees they may incur in the process when in reality, your lemon law claim shouldn't cost you anything. California's lemon laws are designed to protect customers and an experienced attorney can help protect your rights and ensure that you are compensated fairly. California lemon law attorneys usually work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only receive a payment if they win your case and most of them offer a free case evaluation.
Why Choose The Beck Law Office to Represent You?
If you think you may have purchased a lemon car in California, we recommend getting in touch with an experienced attorney who specializes in lemon law claims. They can advise you on your legal rights and help guide you through the process of filing a claim against the manufacturer or dealership. Our skilled lawyers at The Beck Law Office have the legal experience and expertise to represent you in your lemon law claim.
Our reputable California lemon law attorney firm has more than a decade of experience in proudly serving the citizens of Los Angeles and the state of California. We have successfully applied lemon law protection to hundreds of claims and our individualized and personalized approach used by our experienced law attorneys makes the process less intimidating for our customers.
Our carefully crafted process helps our customers to get to know their lemon law attorney and learn about our extensive experience and common sense approach. We pride ourselves on going the extra mile for all our clients, ensuring that they receive the best outcome and the compensation they deserve.
Contact Us Today
If you think your new car may be a lemon, don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We will readily review your case and advise you of your legal options and use our legal expertise to help you file a lemon law claim.
Let us help you get the justice you deserve in a quick, friendly, and efficient manner.