If you've purchased a new or used car in California, only to find out that it has a recurring issue that affects its safety, value, or usability, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement under the California Lemon Law. This law protects the rights of consumers who have bought or leased a defective vehicle from a dealership or manufacturer and provides a legal remedy for those who have suffered harm or financial losses as a result of the defect.
In this blog post, we'll explain the key aspects of the California Lemon Law, including what qualifies as a "lemon," what you need to do to file a claim, and how to maximize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. We'll also provide some tips and resources for dealing with car dealerships, manufacturers, and legal professionals so that you can make informed decisions and protect your interests.
What Is the California Lemon Law?
The California Lemon Law, also known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, applies to new and used cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and other motor vehicles that are sold or leased in California, and that come with a manufacturer's warranty. Under this law, a vehicle is considered a "lemon" if it meets the following criteria:
- The vehicle has a defect or nonconformity that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety.
- The defect or nonconformity has not been repaired after a reasonable number of attempts by the dealer or manufacturer.
- The defect or nonconformity has persisted for a certain period of time or mileage, depending on the type of vehicle.
If your vehicle meets these criteria, you may be eligible for a refund or replacement, depending on your preferences and the circumstances of your case. You may also be entitled to other damages, such as incidental expenses, towing fees, or rental car costs, as well as legal fees and court costs.
How to File a Claim Under the California Lemon Law
To file a claim under the California Lemon Law, you need to follow these basic steps:
- Notify the dealer or manufacturer of the defect or nonconformity, and give them a reasonable opportunity to repair it.
- Keep a record of all repair attempts, including dates, descriptions, and invoices.
- Contact the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repair, or other relevant agency, to report the problem and request arbitration or mediation.
- Hire a lemon law attorney who specializes in California law, to represent you in negotiations with the dealer or manufacturer, and to file a lawsuit if necessary.
Tips for Dealing with Car Dealerships and Manufacturers
If you're experiencing problems with your car, you may be frustrated, angry, or confused about what to do next. Here are some tips to help you navigate the process:
- Be persistent, but polite. Don't give up after one or two attempts, but don't be rude or aggressive either. Keep a cool head and document everything.
- Be specific about the problem. Don't just say "my car doesn't work." Describe the symptoms, the frequency, and the severity of the problem, and ask the dealer or manufacturer to provide a written explanation of their diagnosis and repair plan.
- Be aware of your rights. Don't let the dealer or manufacturer intimidate you into accepting a subpar repair, a lowball offer, or a non-disclosure agreement. Know your legal rights and options, and don't sign anything without consulting an attorney.
- Be patient, but persistent. The lemon law process can take several weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the case and the cooperation of the other party. Don't give up too soon, but don't wait too long either. Hire an attorney as soon as possible, to protect your interests and maximize your chances of success.
Contact Our California Lemon Lawyers
The California Lemon Law can be a powerful tool for consumers who have been sold a defective or nonconforming vehicle. By understanding your rights, following the proper procedures, and seeking the help of experienced legal professionals, you can get the refund or replacement you deserve, and avoid further financial losses or safety risks. If you need assistance with your lemon law claim, contact California Lemon Lawyers, APC, today for a consultation. We have helped thousands of clients in Sherman Oaks and throughout California, and we can help you too.