What exactly is a “lemon” car?

For people all over the state of California, owning a car is a good idea. When you have a car, it will make it easier for you to get around the state, commute to work, and enjoy all that the area has to offer. When you are going to purchase a new or used vehicle, you will want to be diligent to ensure that it is in good condition. However, even diligent buyers could end up purchasing a car that has mechanical or body issues that are not apparent or easy to identify until you have owned the vehicle and driven it consistently. In these situations, you may have purchased a vehicle that is in bad condition and would violate lemon law in the state of California.

What Exactly is a Lemon Car?

The state of California offers a unique lemon law protection for vehicle buyers in the state. Generally speaking, it is designed to protect buyers of both new and used vehicles that have acquired a vehicle that is experiencing excessive repair, particularly compared to vehicles of similar age and similar mileage. To qualify for relief under the lemon law, you will need to meet a few different standards:

  1. The vehicle must have been purchased or leased in the state of California. Those that were acquired in another state would not qualify, even if the owner lives in the state.
  2. Generally, this law is designed for newer vehicles as older vehicles tend to have normal wear and tear, which would not be covered. For the vehicle to be covered under the lemon law, it will still need to be covered by the manufacturer’s original warranty. Additionally, the vehicle must have been purchased less than 18 months ago or have less than 18,000 miles drive, whichever event occurs first.

These laws will provide coverage for both new and used vehicles whether they were purchased in an official lot or from a private party. If your vehicle is used and does not meet all the criteria, it will not be covered by the lemon law.

What if I have Repair Needs and my Vehicle Qualifies as a Lemon?

If your vehicle is newer and qualifies as a lemon, the automaker will have the responsibility of rectifying the problem. Generally, they will first attempt to make any necessary repairs on their own at the local repair center. However, once a reasonable amount of repair attempts have been tried and deemed unsuccessful, the manufacturer may be required to buy back your vehicle or provide you with a fair replacement. Generally, if one of the following situations occurs, the manufacturer will need to complete a buyback or replacement:

  1. The manufacturer or dealership of the vehicle has tried to fix the problem at least four times, but the results were unsuccessful.
  2. The manufacturer has tried to make repairs for a problem that causes safety concerns but has been unsuccessful at least twice.
  3. Your vehicle has been in the repair shop for up to 30 days in total due to repeated repairs.

If any of these situations has occurred, your vehicle may qualify for reimbursement and replacement under the Lemon Law in this state. It is important to keep proper documentation of all the repair attempts, which can help you validate any claim under this legal protection program.

What to Do if Vehicle Needs Repairs

If your vehicle is not operating properly and meets the criteria for lemon law protection, the first thing you should do is bring your vehicle in for service. You should always bring your vehicle to a service center that is affiliated with your dealership and manufacturer as they will ultimately have the responsibility for any necessary repairs. If the repair center has completed a number of repair attempts and it still has not been properly fixed, you should consider pursuing a claim under the lemon law.

How to Pursue Claim Under Lemon Law

If your vehicle has not been properly repaired after the required amount of attempts, it can make sense to seek reimbursement, replacement, or a buyback under the lemon law program. In these cases, it can make sense to work with an attorney throughout the rest of the process. Your attorney will help you properly notify the dealership and manufacturer while organizing all of your supporting documentation including repair records and vehicle inspection reports uppsc full form.

When you are going to file a claim under the lemon law, the value that you can receive from the manufacturer is going to be impacted by a variety of factors. This includes mileage and if there is a body or mechanical repair needs that would not be covered by the warranty program. An attorney can help you better estimate what you can expect to receive in compensation. 

Generally, the manufacturer is going to try and work with you to settle your claim. This will include coming up with a financial amount that will be provided to you to cover any losses or buy back your vehicle. If you are not satisfied with the initial amount suggested, your manufacturer may offer a legal arbitration process. While this can be an efficient process, you may be stuck with a compensation amount that you are satisfied with. Another opportunity that you will have is to file a lawsuit under the lemon law in which you will request a certain amount in damages. In either event, having legal support by your side can be helpful to ensure your claim is filed on time and that your case is properly presented.   

Reasons to Hire an Attorney for Your Lemon Law Needs

If you have purchased a vehicle that is a lemon, it can be a frustrating experience. Not only will you have a vehicle that is not reliable, but you also could incur a lot of expenses due to the necessary repairs. Accordingly, it is fair to seek reimbursement for your losses. When you are in need of legal support, California lemon law lawyers can offer a variety of services that will help ensure you are properly represented. This will include evaluating your case and offering consultation on what you are entitled to and how you can move forward. The attorneys can also handle all notices, filing, negotiations, and other legal work needed to help ensure you are properly compensated for your losses. When you are looking for an attorney, the team with Neale & Fhima LLP is a great group to contact. The team here is quite experienced with California lemon law and can help ensure you receive the support that you need.