California Lemon Law
California Lemon Law protects buyers and lessees of new and some used vehicles covered by an express manufacturer warranty, including certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles and those leased by full-time active-duty military personnel stationed in California.
Lemon law procedures vary by state and can be complex; to maximize chances of success when filing a claim, it’s wise to contact an experienced lemon attorney as soon as possible.
What is a lemon?
Lemons are citrus fruits known for their distinct sour flavor, widely used in cuisine and beverages worldwide. With taste, nutrition, and health benefits that appeal to many consumers, this popular food item also serves a practical purpose when used for cleaning and other household tasks. Lemons belong to the Rutaceae family and originate in Asia and Mediterranean regions where their deciduous shrub or small tree produces leaves tinged reddish-orange at their apexes as well as fragrant blooms found either solitary or clustered between its leaves axils – as well as their fruit that contains numerous vital elements including water, proteins fats carbohydrates and sugars for nutrition purposes.
The California Lemon Law and similar state-level statutes exist to protect consumers who purchase vehicles or consumer goods with defects that impair functionality, safety, or value. To qualify for a refund or replacement from their manufacturer, several attempts must have been made at fixing the defect; these attempts vary based on product and law; typically, four years from delivery or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first, is often sufficient.
Lemon laws protect consumers purchasing home appliances as well. To qualify for a refund under the Lemon Law, a device must have undergone at least some repair attempts; how many varies depending on its type; however, most refrigerators, freezers, microwave ovens, dishwashers, washers/dryers/garbage disposals/room air conditioners etc can qualify.
Lemon laws also offer protections for homes sold with hidden defects and issues that significantly reduce market value and render the property inhabitable, with repair costs exceeding what buyers would willingly pay for such properties. This type of problem is known as information asymmetry, where one party to a transaction possesses more or better information than the other party in a transaction.
How do I know if my vehicle is a lemon?
Various factors determine whether or not a vehicle qualifies for lemon law protections. First and foremost, vehicles purchased through dealerships or manufacturers tend to fall within state lemon laws’ coverage; private sales between individuals or through used car lots do not; neither do vehicles that have outlived their express warranty period offered by manufacturers.
Consumers seeking to label a vehicle a lemon must allow its manufacturer a “reasonable number of repair attempts.” While state laws vary slightly, most provide three chances for manufacturers to fix issues before classifying it as such; California Lemon Law specifies these attempts should take place within 18 months or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first.
To qualify, consumers seeking protection under Lemon law must have been the original buyer or lessee of their new vehicle. This includes those purchasing from new car dealers and purchasing directly from manufacturers. Furthermore, the manufacturer must have provided either an extended manufacturer warranty at the time of sale.
Consumers looking to identify lemon vehicles should conduct a comprehensive examination. This should include checking both interior and exterior for signs of damage, such as mismatched body panels or uneven gaps between doors that might indicate extensive bodywork has taken place on their car. Furthermore, special attention should be paid to engine and drivetrain components, which may show oil leaks or loud grinding noises which indicate defective parts.
Once it has been determined that a vehicle is considered a lemon, its manufacturer must offer either a refund or a replacement vehicle and cover non-conformance expenses. If they refuse, a lemon law attorney can assist them in filing a suit against them.
How do I get my money back?
Lemon law buyback is when a manufacturer agrees to buy back your defective automobile after numerous repair attempts have failed to return it to the condition that meets the manufacturer’s warranty. As this protection varies by state law, its specifics can differ slightly; an experienced California lemon law attorney can help protect your rights.
When a manufacturer purchases your vehicle, they must offer two solutions for you; either replacing it with one substantially similar or refunding you the total purchase price. Furthermore, all fees typically associated with new car sales, such as sales tax registration license fees, must also be covered. Base monthly payments made and any trade-in amounts or deposits given at dealerships must also be reimbursed by them.
Sometimes manufacturers may decide that refunding is the better solution to purchasing back your vehicle. When this occurs, they must still reimburse any incidental damages caused by the defective vehicle, including rental car or towing fees and any time spent without one while they attempted repairs. Additionally, they should provide compensation for time paid without one while they tried repair efforts.
If you believe you own a lemon vehicle, it is imperative to hire an attorney immediately. By starting your claim sooner rather than later, more money can be returned, and more favorable terms negotiated than would otherwise be achievable. Lemon law attorneys typically possess more expertise in finding solutions than independent parties can alone.
No two lemon law cases take the same timeframe to resolve, as each circumstance differs significantly. An experienced attorney should be able to settle yours within 90 days; some cases take longer and even go to trial.
How do I find an attorney?
Finding an attorney should be easy: whether through word of mouth from friends and family or researching Lemon Law firms online. When searching, select firms with excellent credentials for managing Lemon Law claims; those that offer free consultations to discuss your case and can tell if there’s any chance they believe that a claim exists and an estimate as to its resolution timeframe will give the best results.
Our clients often opt to pursue their Lemon Law claims via arbitration rather than court, but sometimes this may be necessary, and we can assist in choosing the most effective route. Should your case require litigation, rest assured that our experienced lawyers know precisely what steps must be taken for optimal outcomes in court proceedings.
California’s strong lemon laws could grant compensation if you have purchased a vehicle, trailer, or boat with significant defects that have been returned multiple times to its manufacturer for repairs. To qualify under these laws, your vessel must exhibit significant nonconformities which significantly impair its use, value, or safety; that is, persistent after reasonable repair attempts are attempted and persistently prevent proper function of its use, value, or safety features.
Manufacturers and their lawyers understand the strength and popularity of California’s Lemon Laws, so they often attempt to deceive consumers into settling their claims without an attorney. One common tactic is persuading them to waive their legal rights to mandatory arbitration by signing an arbitration agreement document. Usually, this tactic only increases attorney fees while hindering your case.
ATRA President Tiger Joyce addresses this concerning trend in an ATRA post on their website, which can be read here. ATRA strives to fight for consumers by reforming lemon law processes so that manufacturers will replace or repurchase vehicles with significant defects at no cost and refund any incidental fees to customers.