Lemon Law article published by Attorney Liz Gayle in the April 2018 issue of the San Fernando Valley Lawyer Magazin

Lemon Law article published by Attorney Liz Gayle in the April 2019 issue of the Santa Barbara Lawyer Magazine

If you think you might have a lemon, dealing with an auto manufacturer directly can be very frustrating. This is why the Gayle Law Group, PC always recommends that you contact a lawyer before taking any action yourself. The manufacturer will pay your legal fees, and an attorney who understands the law and your rights will represent you.

If you’d like to do further research on California’s Lemon Law, check out the following sites for useful information:

Center for Auto Safety – This site offers consumers the latest news regarding vehicle safety reports, road tests, recalls, legal actions and more.

Autopedia – An all-around online encyclopedia of links for consumers interested in Lemon Laws as they apply to cars, trucks, vans, minivans, motorcycles, RVs, SUVs and boats.

California Attorney General – On this site, you will find general and legal information for car purchasers and owners in California, including regarding the Lemon Law in California.

California Department of Consumer Affairs – Arbitration – This website contains user-friendly links to information regarding consumer-manufacturer arbitration.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – This site offers information on the most recent vehicle recalls and technical service bulletins. You can also file a safety complaint about your vehicle and review those filed by others.

Other Links:
California Department of Consumer Affairs – Bureau of Automotive Repair

CARFAX: Vehicle History Reports

CARS: Consumer for Auto Reliability and Safety 

ABC News on Lemon Laws dramatizes how important it is to act quickly with proper documentation.

National Public Radio’s “Car Talk”

California Cites We Serve

A safety recall is a vehicle manufacturer’s request for owners or lessees to bring a vehicle in for repairs, adjustments or replacement due to a known defect in the vehicle. A technical service bulletin (also called a manufacturer communication) is a recommended service repair issued by the vehicle manufacturer after an unexpected problem has occurred in several vehicles of the same year, make, and model. Auto manufacturers will often release vehicle safety recalls or technical service bulletins for certain vehicles to prevent harm to consumers and to reduce their liability. If you are dealing with a car that is experiencing a single or recurring problem, you can look for recalls or technical service bulletins on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation (ODI). On this site, you can also file and review safety complaints about your vehicle.

Understanding the Difference Between a Safety Recall and a Technical Service Bulletin

 

The major difference between recalls and technical service bulletins is that a recall usually involves safety issues, whereas technical service bulletins are often not safety-related. Recalls also are usually made at the request of a governing body or consumer safety organization like NHTSA, whereas a manufacturer typically issues technical service bulletins voluntarily.

Additionally, recall repair work is typically performed at no cost to the vehicle owner or lessee, no matter if the warranty is still valid or not. Technical service bulletin work is not necessarily conducted for free or even discounted in price. Finally, manufacturers have to contact owners/lessees of cars that are subject to safety recalls, but do not have to contact them for technical service bulletins.

 

What Makes a Car a “Lemon”?

 

A vehicle may be deemed a lemon if it has not been fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts. While this may be during the first 18,000 miles or 18 months of ownership or lease, you may also have Lemon Law rights if you took your vehicle to a dealership for repair later during the warranty period. A “reasonable number of repair attempts” usually is at least four attempts for the same problem, two attempts for a serious safety issue, or being out of service due to repairs for 30 days or more.

It is important to note that you should not assume you don’t have a legitimate case just because you don’t meet these conditions.

Lemons are manufactured in two different ways. The first is a design defect in which all cars of the same make, model, and production period are having the same problem(s). This often results in a recall or technical service bulletin being issued.

The second way involves manufacturing defects. In these instances, “Joe” on the vehicle assembly line has a bad day and doesn’t put the car together properly, so you are the only one or one of a handful of people whose vehicles are having the problem. Both types of cases are covered under the Lemon Law in California.

Your dealership may tell you that your vehicle does not qualify under the Lemon Law. Do not rely on their statements alone. Contact the Gayle Law Group, PC to determine whether you have rights under the California Lemon Law . Simply call TOLL FREE : 1-866-STOP-LEMONS (1-866-786-7536) for a FREE CONSULTATION .