Filing for a Claim Under the Lemon Law in California

Lemon law lawsuits are growing increasingly prevalent all over the cities of the United States of America as vehicle sales increase and reliability decreases.

A lemon law claim can be availed of when a customer purchases a faulty product (often a vehicle) that is covered by the seller/manufacturer/distributor’s warranty. The claim compels the warrantor to make compensation (buyback) or to replace the defective consumer product with a functional replacement.

If you are reading this article, you are probably curious about how to submit a claim under the lemon law – specifically in the state of California.

Well, numerous factors may contribute to processing claims under a lemon law in California; that is why it takes time and is not easy to handle. Then there are also plenty of roadblocks in the way of recovering the entire amount you are entitled to get.

Take into consideration the fact that vehicle manufacturers have access to some of the most capable legal teams available. These teams have made successful careers by defending lemon law claims in California, preventing consumer action, and using every subtle legal trick available to get the cheapest settlement and save their corporate customers millions of dollars.

If you have obtained a lemon, it is really critical to engage the services of a professional lemon law attorney. Otherwise, you will become easy prey for the skilled legal teams of big multinational automobile manufacturers.

Along with hiring a lemon law attorney, you need to have a good understanding of the claim process under the lemon law in California. The more information you can provide regarding your claim to your attorney, the more likely you are to obtain a prompt and for-value buyback.

The great news is that the fundamental issues of the lemon law are relatively easy – and your understanding of them would make the difference in your claim. Below are the things that customers need to know about filing a claim for a lemon law in California.

Filing A Lemon Law Claim in California: Qualifications

Every state in the USA has enacted a lemon law, albeit a bit different from one another. The specifics differ per state — primarily the legal prerequisites for a viable lemon law claim. For instance, the lemon law might not apply to a secondhand vehicles in several states. In certain areas, such as California, the lemon law applies to secondhand vehicles for as long as the vehicle has been purchased with an explicit guarantee.

The first time you notice an issue with your car (while it is still under warranty) would not automatically classify it as a lemon, regardless of your state. When you detect a flaw in your new, secondhand, or leased car, the manufacturer may offer multiple options for resolving the issue.

To establish a legitimate lemon law claim, the most prevalent factors usually include but are not restricted to the following qualifications:

1. The car has/had a warranty-covered problem that materially affects the vehicle’s usability, value, or safety in the customer (your) individual scenario.

2. The manufacturer was given at least two or more repair options via its local certified repair facility.

• The vehicle is now out of service for over 30 days for repairs.

• The significant defect was not the consequence of inappropriate or illegal usage by the consumer (you).

At the first indication of a problem, you should contact your local warrantor-approved repair shop to book an appointment. Inform your service representative of the issue, and they should start working on fixing it.

If your vehicle qualifies the criteria of being a lemon, your communication with the warrantor and distributor is now over. Allow your lemon law attorney to file a claim for you and pursue full compensation on your behalf.

How To Avoid Being Ripped Off

A substantial portion of figuring out how to file a claim for lemon law in California is avoiding pitfalls.

To emphasize, the group of lawyers hired by manufacturers is familiar with every legal maneuver available to avoid paying buyers for a lemon car. Defense attorneys are compensated generously with one simple objective in mind: to pay the least amount of money possible for the claim. Regrettably, this is the world in which we live.

There are a few basic methods warrantors may attempt to undermine the lemon law claim immediately with some rip-off practices. In this article, we will discuss some of the most notable ones and how to prevent being a victim.

Before we get started, it is critical to know that the warrantor or manufacturer is NOT your advocate when filing a lemon law claim.

They will almost certainly try to persuade you to undertake a variety of things that would “simplify and expedite everything.” Do not fall for the hook. This translates as “easier and less expensive” for the manufacturer/warrantor. Throughout this whole claim process, the manufacturer’s primary objective is to prevent having to compensate you for a lemon. Furthermore, some of these methods will render your case useless – even if you retain the services of a lawyer after the fact.

Do not sign your rights away without consulting first a lemon lawyer.

This is the most significant factor that will destroy your claim for a lemon. There are many people who are consulting with their lemon law lawyers due to some issues, repair histories, and evidence of manufacturer incompetence after already signing a waiver for their warranty and rights. If this is the case, a lemon lawyer can no anymore be of help.

Automobile manufacturers frequently (and deviously) offer consumers a warranty extension or refund for a month or two’s payment if they are encountering troubles with the vehicle they purchased. This is typically accompanied by an agreement for settlement and release for disputes about the vehicle’s repair history. Many people are unaware that this is a waiver of the right to file a lemon law claim or any other claims that involve a breach of warranty for ongoing problems. 

Unfortunately, all of this is buried in the fine print. So read everything thoroughly.

Signing a release may void your rights under the lemon law in California — while the manufacturer simply receives a slap on the wrist.

Therefore, if you are experiencing reoccurring problems with your vehicle – whether it is a car, motorcycle, boat, or recreational vehicle – never sign any papers requesting reimbursement without first presenting them to your lemon law attorney.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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