Many Californians are either unaware that California has a Lemon Law or, for a variety of reasons, falsely believe that it doesn’t provide them with any rights as consumers. California actually has a very consumer-friendly Lemon Law that protects both buyers and lessees of new and used vehicles. The law applies to cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, motor homes and registered motorcycles.
Often, service writers, advisers or managers at car dealerships attempt to deter you from pursuing your Lemon Law rights. They may tell you that the Lemon Law does not apply to your vehicle without giving a valid reason. Or, they may provide you with a standard excuse, such as “Your car hasn’t been in the shop enough,” “Used cars don’t qualify,” or “Your vehicle’s mileage is too high/too low.” You may also have heard these very same excuses if you’ve tried to contact the manufacturer of your car directly.
In 1970, California was one of the first states to put in place a Lemon Law, and it is still one of the strongest in the country today. The official name of the Lemon Law is the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. By law, it may provide you with either a refund of your money (down payment, monthly payments and certain other out of pocket costs) and pay off your loan, or with a replacement vehicle. It’s important to note that the manufacturer may deduct a “usage offset” (the monetary value of the miles you drove before you first took the car in for repair) from a settlement.
If you purchased or leased a new or used vehicle in California and have had an ongoing problem or problems with the vehicle that a dealer has unsuccessfully attempted to fix on multiple repair visits, you may qualify for recovery under the Lemon Law .
If you think you might have a lemon, an experienced California Lemon Law attorney could help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Gayle Law Group, PC. You will be treated with respect and your case will be taken seriously, no matter what the issue. Call TOLL FREE : 1-866-STOP-LEMONS (1-866-786-7536) for a FREE CONSULTATION.
In order for your vehicle to qualify as a lemon eligible for monetary recovery or vehicle replacement under the California Lemon Law , the problems that your car or vehicle has experienced must be of a “substantial” nature. They must substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value OR safety. Contrary to what your dealership may tell you, the problems do not have to be safety related. Examples of substantial problems include those involving the brakes, engine, steering, electrical, suspension, air conditioning, windows, transmission, doors, back up camera, or water leaks.
There are several scenarios that can qualify your car as a “lemon.” Your vehicle does not have to have extremely low mileage or be a brand new vehicle in order for the Lemon Law to protect you. For example, if your vehicle’s problem(s) occurred under warranty, your vehicle may potentially be a lemon, even with 36,000 miles or more. You could even qualify if the vehicle is out of warranty, but has had an ongoing problem that required it to be in the shop several times prior to the expiration of the warranty.
Your vehicle may also be eligible for coverage under the Lemon Law if, all together, it has been in the shop for an excessive number of days (30 or more since you took possession of the vehicle), even if the repairs of the vehicle have been for separate problems. A vehicle that needs to be constantly repaired for various issues can often qualify as one that is substantially impaired under the Lemon Law .
The Lemon Law is not just for personal vehicles either. RVs, business-owned vehicles, and boats may also qualify for coverage if they meet the legal requirements. If you’ve had trouble with a new or used vehicle in California, contact the Gayle Law Group, PC to speak with an experienced California lemon law attorney . Even if you’re not sure if you have a case, let the firm determine this for you. Don’t talk yourself out of a solution to your problem. Call TOLL FREE : 1-866-STOP-LEMONS (1-866-786-7536) for a FREE CONSULTATION for your case.
Lawyer Liz Gayle’s Helpful Lemon Law Tips for Californians with Lemon Cars
1. Do Research
If you’re currently shopping for a vehicle, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website to see if there are recalls, technical service bulletins (manufacturer communication), or complaints for the new or used car of your choice.
2. Get Repair Work and Estimates in Writing
You are entitled to a repair order or invoice every time you take your auto into the dealership or pick it up from the dealership. Ask for an invoice, even if they don’t actually repair your vehicle. Do not allow them to leave your ticket “open” while a part is being ordered – get a separate invoice for each visit, since every one of your visits counts as a “reasonable attempt to repair” and must be documented. (This is very important.)
3. Verify the Details
Make sure that what the service representative types onto your service order is a complete and accurate description of your vehicle’s problem. If it is not, ask them to clarify or further explain before they print out the work order.
4. Keep Everything
Store all records of service repairs and visits in a safe place that is NOT in your car. These papers can often get mysteriously “lost” at auto repair and service shops.
5. Document Your Calls & Visits
Write down the name and title of the person you spoke to and the content of the conversation and date after each and every phone call or conversation with someone from the dealer or manufacturer
6. Don’t Settle for Less
You don’t have to go it alone! Before you accept a manufacturer’s settlement, consult a California Lemon Law attorney to determine if what you’re being offered is fair.
7. Don’t Overly Educate Yourself
Doing research on the Lemon Law and other pertinent information can help you learn more about your options, but make sure you don’t talk yourself out of a case. Instead, ask a qualified lawyer for a free consultation to see if your case is valid.
8. Don’t Arbitrate
Contrary to what a dealer or manufacturer may tell you, you do not have to submit to arbitration with a third-party before filing a Lemon Law case with a lawyer.
9. Keep Your Options Open
Even if you’ve already gone through arbitration, you still may be able to pursue your rights with a lawyer.
10. Contact a Lawyer Right Away
If your vehicle has been in the shop repeatedly for a problem or problems, call an experienced California Lemon Law attorney as soon as possible so that evidence and witness recollections are still fresh.
Particularly in California, where your vehicle is your lifeline, trouble with a lemon can dramatically affect your day-to-day productivity and your quality of life. If you’re having trouble with a vehicle and aren’t sure what to do, call the Gayle Law Group, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION . Remember, by law, the manufacturer is responsible for paying the legal fees of the Lemon Law cases that we resolve for you. Call TOLL FREE: 1-866-STOP-LEMONS (1-866-786-7536).