What Should Consumers Know About Lemon Law Buyback Vehicles?

California’s Lemon Law requires vehicle manufacturers to replace or buy back defective vehicles after a reasonable number of repair efforts. However, to get the Lemon Law to work for you, you will need the advice and services of the right California Lemon Law attorney.

If your vehicle is deemed a lemon and an auto manufacturer buys the vehicle back from you, you will receive a check, probably buy another vehicle, and as far as you’re concerned, that’s the end of the matter. But what happens next to the vehicles that are purchased back from consumers?

Can a vehicle that has previously been identified as a lemon and has been repurchased by the manufacturer be sold again to the public? Could you end up buying a vehicle that has already been deemed a lemon? Keep reading for some of the answers that consumers in California need.

How Does California Law Define a Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle?

Under state law, a “Lemon Law buyback vehicle” is defined as a vehicle that has been repurchased by the manufacturer, on or after January 1, 1996, because of one or more specific warranty defects.

Yes, it is legal for the manufacturer to sell a Lemon Law buyback vehicle again to a member of the public, but the law protects consumers in this situation. If you purchase a Lemon Law buyback vehicle, the law requires the seller to tell you it is a buyback vehicle.

What is Required of a Vehicle Manufacturer?

When a manufacturer repurchases a vehicle because of one or more specific warranty defects, the law requires the manufacturer to:

1. Register the vehicle in the manufacturer’s name and have the vehicle titled in the manufacturer’s name before it can be sold again to a member of the public.

2. Request that both the California Certificate of Title and the registration certificate are marked “Lemon Law Buyback.”

3. Affix a decal reading “Lemon Law Buyback” to the vehicle’s left door frame or on the frame of a main entry into the vehicle (like the front right door frame on a motor home). A decal must be attached to the left side of vehicles with no doors (such as motorcycles).

Requirements for Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle Sellers

When a Lemon Law buyback vehicle is sold to a member of the public, the seller must make the following disclosures in writing to the buyer:

1. the vehicle’s year of manufacture, make, model, and vehicle identification number
2. that the vehicle title is marked “Lemon Law Buyback”
3. the nature of any fault or defect reported by the vehicle’s original purchaser or lessee
4. the repairs made to the vehicle in an effort to correct the faults or defects

How Can You Know If a Vehicle is a Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle?

More than two million new vehicles are purchased by California consumers every year. How can a consumer know whether or not a vehicle is a Lemon Law Buyback vehicle? To protect yourself when you buy a new or used vehicle in this state:

1. Look for the decal that says “Lemon Law Buyback.”

2. Look at the vehicle’s California Certificate of Title and the registration certificate to see if they indicate that the vehicle is a “Lemon Law Buyback.”

3. Ask the seller directly if the vehicle is a Lemon Law buyback vehicle. The law requires the seller to make an honest disclosure.

What If I Buy a Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle?

If you choose to buy a Lemon Law buyback vehicle, the normal documents and related fees will be required by law. These include:

1. a California Certificate of Title that has been properly endorsed for transfer
2. a transfer fee, a sales/use tax if applicable, and a smog certification if applicable
3. an odometer disclosure statement
4. registration renewal fees if the transaction takes place within 30 days of the renewal date

Additional items or fees may be required depending on the type of transfer application.

If You Think the Vehicle You Own is a Lemon

The last thing anyone who owns a vehicle wants is a lemon and the headaches that go with it. A problematic or defective vehicle can interfere with our families and our obligations. Having a vehicle repeatedly repaired is an inconvenience that means time, money, and aggravation.

However, California consumers can rely on the protection offered by the California Lemon Law. The law protects consumers who purchase or lease a vehicle under warranty. If a vehicle is faulty or defective and can’t be repaired, you may need the advice of a California consumer attorney.

Precisely Which Vehicles Are Covered By California’s Lemon Law?

In order for a defective vehicle’s owner to take advantage of his or her rights under the California Lemon Law, the vehicle must:

1. be a new, used, or leased vehicle still covered by a manufacturer’s new or Certified Pre-Owned vehicle warranty (or the dealer’s used warranty)

2. have been leased or purchased in the State of California

3. have repeat visits for the same issue before the warranty expires

A vehicle is eligible for buyback or replacement under the California Lemon Law only if the manufacturer cannot repair a fault or defect after a reasonable number of repair attempts.

If You Believe That You’ve Purchased a Lemon

If you think that a vehicle you’ve leased or purchased is a lemon, before you take any legal action, the Lemon Law requires you to give the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to repair the vehicle.

Keep – and make copies of – all receipts, bills, and other documents related to the vehicle, its purchase, and its repairs. You will need these documents if the vehicle cannot be repaired and you choose to take legal action.

If you have had your vehicle repaired several times, but the same problem persists, arrange to speak with California Lemon Law attorney Sotera Anderson. She will explain how the Lemon Law works and how it may apply to your own circumstances.

Why Will You Need a Lemon Law Attorney’s Help?

If you exercise your rights under the Lemon Law, it is possible that a manufacturer may dispute your claim. The manufacturer may insist that the defect is trivial, may try to blame you for causing the problem, or may insist that the repairs were effective and there is no problem. The manufacturer may also try to low-ball you and convince you to take the quick, low-hanging easy money, even though you may be entitled to a refund of your money.

Being represented by an attorney who has substantial experience handling Lemon Law claims – an attorney like Sotera Anderson – can make all of the difference. The right attorney will protect your rights, advocate on your behalf, and guide you step-by-step through the legal process.

A lemon law attorney can help to negotiate the best deal for you, which may mean more money in your pocket. Don’t worry about attorney fees and costs because the lemon law says the manufacturer has to pay for your attorney’s fees and costs if you prevail.

What Are a Consumer’s Options Under California’s Lemon Law?

California’s Lemon Law – the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act – may provide legal protection if you’ve purchased a defective vehicle, but to exercise your rights under the Lemon Law, you will need the advice and services of the right California lemon law attorney.

In 2018, more than 28 million vehicles were recalled in the United States for potential defects – Fords, Chryslers, Audis, Volvos, and more. That means a lot of “lemons” are traveling on California’s streets and highways. In fact, you may be driving one now.

Which vehicles in California are covered by the Lemon Law? How does the law work? That is, how can it work for you? Is it better to have a lemon replaced by the manufacturer or to have the manufacturer buy the vehicle back from you and, in effect, give you a refund? Is it better to accept cash and keep the lemon?

In this brief introduction to California’s Lemon Law and your options under that law, you’ll learn the pros and cons of having your vehicle replaced or having it purchased back from you by the manufacturer or accepting cash.

You’ll also find out exactly what steps to take if you need to file a claim under the Lemon Law, and you’ll learn how to find the legal help you will need.

Which Vehicles Are Covered?

The first thing you should know if you’ve purchased or leased a lemon in California is whether it meets the criteria of a “lemon”:

1. Only vehicles that have been purchased or leased from a dealer here in California are covered by California’s Lemon Law – can be new or used.

2. The vehicle has to have repeat repairs while the warranty is still open.

3. The dealer cannot seem to fix the defect even though you gave them several chances to do so.

4. The defect is not a minor defect, but a defect that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle.

Before You Can Claim A Lemon

As many as ten percent of the vehicles on California’s streets and highways may qualify as “lemons” under the state’s Lemon Law, and that law gives you the right to sue a dealership or a vehicle manufacturer that has sold you a lemon in California.

But before you can claim a vehicle is a lemon and try to get a refund, you must bring your vehicle to the manufacturer’s dealer for repair, and allow them an adequate opportunity to make the needed repairs. Before you can file a Lemon Law claim, there must be “repeated” repair efforts covered under the warranty.

Make and store a copy of every sales receipt, repair receipt, and any other document related to your vehicle and its repairs. These documents can help you as you work with the dealership and with the vehicle manufacturer. You will need those same documents later if you want a refund, replacement, or cash for your lemon.

How Are Lemon Law Claims Resolved?

Most claims under the Lemon Law are settled, privately and outside of the courtroom, in several months, but if you are not offered a reasonable out-of-court settlement, and you take a dealership or a manufacturer to court, the case could take a year or more to resolve.

But it’s extremely rare for Lemon Law cases to go to trial. Automobile manufacturers and dealers know the law and routinely deal with defective vehicles, so Lemon Law claims are typically resolved relatively quickly.

Should You Ask for a Buyback or a Replacement?

If you have a valid Lemon Law claim, the manufacturer is obligated to either buyback the vehicle or replace the vehicle. But, is it better to have your lemon replaced or purchased back from you by the manufacturer?

Most settlements under the Lemon Law result in cash or a buyback. In the case of a cash settlement, you keep the car and the manufacturer pays you an agreed upon amount for your troubles. Sometimes, this is a good deal for both the manufacturer and the consumer. It really depends on the consumer’s personal circumstances.

In a refund/buyback, when your claim is resolved, you’ll return the vehicle to the dealer, receive a check from the manufacturer, and the manufacturer will pay off the loan for the vehicle.

That check should reimburse you for all reasonable repair, towing, and rental car fees, any use or sales tax, license, registration, and other official fees, prepayment penalties, early termination charges, and earned finance charges if paid or incurred by the consumer.

If you want the vehicle replaced rather than bought back, the manufacturer must agree. This remedy is optional for both the consumer and the manufacturer. In this situation, you give back your defective vehicle, the manufacturer gives you a new vehicle (the same make and model), and you just continue making payments. You will get the benefit of the prior payments you made towards the defective vehicle. Replacements are rare. Most manufacturers do not agree to replacement settlements.

Should You Attempt To Resolve Your Claim On Your Own?

No. Don’t attempt to negotiate by yourself with Ford, General Motors, or with any other vehicle manufacturer. If you do, you may not receive everything that you are entitled to under the law. Instead, let a California consumer attorney handle your Lemon Law claim and negotiate on your behalf.

You don’t have to pay the attorney. The Lemon Law says the manufacturer has to pay your attorney. So, why take the risk of having the manufacturer take advantage of you and try to negotiate on your own? There are a lot of nuances in the Lemon Law. Your Lemon Law attorney will be able to negotiate the best deal for you.

How Will a Consumer Attorney Help You With a Lemon Law Claim?

The right California Lemon Law attorney can almost always negotiate a better settlement than you would be able to obtain on your own, and with the automobile manufacturer paying for your attorney’s fees, there’s no reason not to have an experienced consumer lawyer’s help.

In California, consumer attorney Sotera Anderson will hold a vehicle’s manufacturer responsible on your behalf. She will ensure that you receive what you are entitled to under the Lemon Law.

If your vehicle is a lemon, a good attorney’s help is your right, and the time to take action is now, before the manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Secret Warranties, Recalls, And Lemon Laws (What You Need To Know)

Vehicles are among the most important and expensive items we buy. If you buy a vehicle in California and it turns out to be a lemon, what can you do? If you’ve taken the vehicle in for repairs several times, and it just cannot be fixed, you may need the help of a California Lemon Law attorney.

How do vehicle manufacturers deal with “lemons” and other defective vehicles? What legal protection does a consumer have in California if he or she has been sold a lemon?

Keep reading to learn about “secret” warranties, vehicle recalls, and California’s Lemon Law. You will also learn what steps to take in California if you are the owner of a vehicle that turns out to be a lemon.

What Are Secret Warranties?

When you buy a new vehicle from a dealer, the vehicle comes with the manufacturer’s factory warranties – basic warranty, powertrain warranty, restraint warranty, emission warranty, and the like. These warranties only last for a certain period of time. For example, the basic warranty might be 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first. But, did you know that sometimes manufacturers extend these warranties without even telling you?

Skilled Lemon Lawyer San Diego

When a manufacturer learns about a mechanical or design fault or defect in a vehicle model that is already on the market, it sometimes will extend the factory warranty to cover repairs for those specific defective parts. For example, if the water pump is the part that keeps going bad, the manufacturer might extend the factory warranty just for water pump repairs.

This extended factory warranty might sound great, but it’s not that great if you, the consumer, have no idea about the extension. You see, manufacturers do not always publicize that they extended the warranty. This is why those warranties are called “secret warranties.”

What happens is that (1) customers who think their factory warranty has expired take their car to an auto mechanic shop for repairs and pay out of their pocket for the repairs or (2) they take their car to the dealer for repairs and are pleasantly surprised to learn that the repairs are covered by a warranty they did not know existed.

Manufacturers benefit by not telling customers about the extended factory warranty. They avoid bad press and don’t have to pay for repairs if a customer takes their vehicle to an auto shop instead of the dealer.

California Lemon Law Attorney Sotera Anderson recommends that before you take your vehicle to an auto shop for repairs, you take your car to the dealer and ask whether there are known issues and whether the manufacturer extended the warranty on certain parts. Or, call the manufacturer’s 1-800 number found in the warranty book and ask the manufacturer directly.

How Do Recalls Work?

More than 29 million vehicles were recalled in the United States in 2018. That figure includes Chryslers, Fords, Toyotas, and Hondas. Recalls notify the public when a vehicle has a dangerous design defect. Defective vehicles put us all at risk, but recalls are rarely quick or efficient. Did you know that by the time recalls become public knowledge, the manufacturer has already known about the defect for some time? Did you also know that the notification process can take months?

When vehicles are recalled, manufacturers are supposed to notify the owners. However, you might not receive the notice for a few months because they are sent out in batches. If your last name is later in the alphabet, you might not receive your recall notice for months. Also, if you moved after buying the vehicle or if you purchased a used vehicle, you might not receive notice of the recall at all.

Dealerships repair recalled vehicles (or replace defective parts) at no cost to the consumer.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (nhtsa.gov) provides up-to-date information on vehicle recalls. You go visit the website and enter your vehicle’s VIN into the website and see if you have any open recalls on your vehicle.

If Your Vehicle Is A Lemon, What Can You Do?

Some new and used automobiles consistently have one problem after another – or the same problem, over and over. After a number of repairs – or attempted repairs – when a vehicle still does not run right, it might be a “lemon.”

Lemon Laws

The State of California has one of the country’s strongest “Lemon Laws” that protects consumers who have been sold lemons. It essentially says that if you have repeat problems during the warranty period that the dealer cannot seem to fix, you might be entitled to a refund.

How Does The Lemon Law Work?

California’s Lemon Law seems simple enough. You buy a vehicle, it has a problem, and after a number of efforts to repair the problem have failed, the manufacturer buys the vehicle back from you or replaces it with another vehicle.

But, in reality, lemon law claims are not that simple. There may be disagreements about the repair history, the number of visits, the problems with the vehicle, whether the manufacturer can (or should) deduct for certain things depending on the process you take, whether you get your negative equity back, whether you should get a loaner vehicle, and the list of things that can get complicated goes on.

California Lemon Law Attorney Sotera Anderson has seen manufacturers make offers to consumers that do not comply with the law, but the consumer has no idea. The consumer trusts the manufacturer (which is their first mistake) and agrees to things they never should and then they try to seek an attorney’s help later, only to find out that nothing can be done because of certain actions the consumer took. Don’t let this be you.

Repairing Failed Vehicles

California’s Lemon Law says that if you have a case and prevail, the manufacturer has to pay your attorney’s actual and reasonable fees and costs. So, there is no reason not to seek the help of an experienced lemon law attorney to help you from the start.

Under The Lemon Law, What Steps Should Consumers Take?

A consumer’s first step under the Lemon Law is giving the vehicle’s manufacturer a fair chance to make the needed repairs to the vehicle before you take any legal action. If you file a claim under the Lemon Law too quickly, that claim may not be successful.

But, if a number of efforts to repair the vehicle have failed, call California Lemon Law attorney Sotera Anderson. She will ask to see some documents and will let you know if you have a case for a refund or cash. The best part is that she will not charge you to review your matter for you. If a lemon law attorney wants to charge you to determine if you have a case, find another lemon law attorney.

If you have a case, Attorney Sotera Anderson will take it from there and relieve you of the stress of dealing with this issue on your own.

What Will An Attorney’s Services Cost?

Lemon Law attorneys in California work on a contingent fee basis. You will pay your attorney nothing up front, and when your claim prevails, the vehicle manufacturer is responsible for your attorney’s fees and costs. The contingent fee system gives everyone a chance to seek justice.

Consumer Protection

If you believe that your own vehicle is a lemon, or even if you are already talking to a dealer or manufacturer regarding a replacement or a buyback, before you move forward, speak to a California consumer attorney who handles Lemon Law claims.

Let The Right Lemon Law Attorney Handle Your Case

Without the right lawyer’s help, you may not receive the full value of your claim. In California, the right Lemon Law attorney is Sotera Anderson. Let her handle your claim from the beginning.

The right attorney can hold a vehicle’s manufacturer legally accountable and ensure that you are treated fairly. Consumer protection is a priority in the State of California, and if you need to take legal action because you’ve been sold a lemon, the law will be on your side.

Can A Buyer Ask For A Refund After A Private Auto Sale?

Everyone knows that new cars are quite expensive. If you’re careful, and if you take your time, you may be able to find a used vehicle that’s a great deal. But if the used vehicle that you buy is a “lemon,” do you have any recourse? Will a California Lemon Law attorney be able to help?

When a used vehicle is sold from one private party to another in California, the buyer is free to ask for his or her money back, but the seller is unlikely going to give the money back. That’s because private sale vehicles are sold “as is.”

A used vehicle buyer’s legal rights and options hinge on the details of the sale, but generally speaking, a buyer’s rights are quite restricted when buying a used vehicle from a private party.

When Are You Covered By Consumer Protection Laws?

When you buy a vehicle from a dealer, you are covered by federal and state consumer protection statutes for certain claims. However, if you buy a vehicle from a private party, the vehicle is sold and bought “as is.”

Skilled Los Angeles Lemon Law Lawyer

California’s Lemon Law protects buyers who have leased or purchased “warrantied” vehicles from retail sellers, not private party sellers. If a dealer or manufacturer of a warrantied vehicle can’t repair it after a “reasonable” number of attempts, the law requires a manufacturer to buy back or replace the vehicle.

Does California’s Lemon Law Cover Private Vehicle Sales?

Unfortunately, no. California’s lemon law does not apply to vehicles purchased from a private seller.

Vehicle Buyers Protection

So, do not depend on anything that a private vehicle seller tells you. Before you buy a used vehicle from a private seller, have a mechanic you trust give the vehicle a comprehensive look. That’s the smart thing to do. If the seller won’t let your mechanic inspect the vehicle, find another vehicle and another seller to do business with.

What If A Used Vehicle Is Still Under A Manufacturer’s Warranty?

If you buy a used vehicle privately while the original warranty is still open, your vehicle is still likely covered by the warranty, though some manufacturers shorten the warranty for subsequent purchasers so be sure to check the warranty booklet.

But, if you take a used vehicle in for repair a “reasonable” number of times and the manufacturer’s dealer can’t or won’t repair it properly, are you covered under the California lemon law – and entitled to a buyback? Sadly, the answer is “no.”

California’s lemon law specifically provides that only people who buy warrantied vehicles from a dealer can benefit from the lemon law. In other words, the lemon law does not apply to a used vehicle purchased from a private seller even if the used vehicle was purchased while a manufacturer’s warranty was still in effect.

There are important legal differences between buying a vehicle from a retail dealer and buying it from a private party. That’s why a California Lemon Law attorney is likely to decline a case involving the private sale of a used automobile.

How To Put Yourself In The Best Legal Position

If the vehicle qualifies as a “lemon,” you may be entitled to a refund or a replacement vehicle. To be in the best possible legal position, California consumers should save, make copies, and securely store all sales and repair receipts, contracts, and other documents related to a vehicle’s purchase and history.

Lemon Law Claims

If you file a claim under California’s Lemon Law, your lawyer will need those receipts and other documents. That’s the evidence you’ll need for your claim to prevail. When you take a vehicle to be repaired, be sure the receipts specify the reasons for the repairs and the work that was done.

There are deadlines, so if you need to file a claim regarding a “lemon,” speak at once to a Lemon Law attorney – like California consumer attorney Sotera Anderson – who understands the state’s Lemon Law and who advises and represents consumers with Lemon Law claims.

Important Things to Know About Car Ads

Be Wary of Car Ads

The car industry is huge, with nearly 18 million new cars and trucks being sold on a yearly basis. Sometimes, people who are looking to buy a new car know exactly what they want; these people will go to a dealership to buy their new vehicles without having to be influenced by commercials or anything else. But this is not the case for most people. In general, most people who are even slightly thinking about buying a new car do not actually begin the process of doing so until they are motivated by another person or an advertisement in a newspaper, TV, or elsewhere. 

Dealerships know that consumers often need a little push and, perhaps even more importantly than that, they know that advertising yields spectacular results! In fact, dealerships spend quite a bit of money on ads that they constantly aim at potential customers. A car is one of the most important and expensive things that most of us will ever purchase, but most of us do not exactly have the money for it just lying around so we resort to financing the vehicle…if we are able to get financing, that is; knowing this to be the case, dealerships will fine-tune their ads to highlight financing options that can make people jump at the thought of actually being able to get the car that they have been dreaming of. Of course, ads can be quite deceiving, so you have to read between the lines. When it comes to selling cars, a lot of shady deals are made. This is where a lemon law attorney can help. 

No Money Down!

Skilled Lemon Law Attorney San Diego

Most people who save up for a down payment know that it is not as easy as it sounds. There are always so many things to pay for that putting a little bit away for that specific purpose can be quite difficult. Dealerships are very much aware that one of the biggest things that hold people back from buying a new car is that they have so much difficulty coming up with a decent amount to use as a down payment.

The number 1 strategy that they use to deal with this issue is to offer “no money down” options. This strategy is great at getting people in the door; unfortunately, what consumers might not, at first, realize is that the lack of a down payment will only add more interest to what has to be paid later, meaning an overall higher cost in the end. Before accepting a “no money down” new car offer, consumers should consider the overall cost that they are getting into, whether they can actually afford it, and what better options they might have.

0% Financing

Another common strategy used by dealerships is to offer 0% financing options. These deals look too good to be true for one very specific reason: they usually are too good to be true! What usually happens with these kinds of deals is that they will only be approved for people who have an excellent credit record, meaning that even though they will attract people to the dealership, most of them will not even qualify. But once the auto dealer has you there, his battle is half-won because all he has to do is convince you to bite on any deal that you do qualify for. Yet another thing about 0% financing is that it will only be that way for a few short months, potentially going frighteningly high after that.

Bad Credit or No Credit? No Problem!

You have to be wary of anyone who offers you any kind of product or service even with bad credit or if you do not actually have any credit at all. One of the reasons that we all want to have a spectacular credit score is not simply because it opens more doors, but because interest rates get lower and lower on products that we finance as our credit rating rises. Dealerships know that bad or non-existent credit scores mean less paying customers and less profit, so they do everything that they can to get people in that situation to accept terrible deals; one of the ways that they do this is by altering the amount that customers will have to pay per month. Unfortunately, even if the monthly payments are low, the total still has to be paid and that means a longer payment period with much higher interest rates and a higher overall cost in the end. Analyze this well and you will see that it is a deal that you want to steer clear of.

Deals That Offer You a High Amount for Your Old Car

Auto dealers will go out of their way to get you to sign a contract that absolutely favors them; that is just the name of the game, as they see it! If you have a car that is not even worth $1,000 and you are seeing ads from a dealership willing to give you three times that or more for your car if you put it towards the purchase of a new car, you have to stop and think about that for a moment because something is not exactly right with that deal. 

The dealership wants you to jump at the chance of getting rid of your old car and getting a brand new one but don’t believe, even for a second, that they are willing to lose even a dime! What they normally do in these cases is raise the cost of the new car so that you are giving them back the money that they “give” you for your old car. You end up losing no matter how you look at it. This is a bad deal and should make you realize that no matter what kind of deal you are looking for, it is a good idea to do some research and compare prices at different dealerships so that you know exactly how much the car that interests you is really worth, as well as your old car in case you do trade it in or sell it.

Deals That Offer Cars at “Below Cost”

Cars Below Cost

The most important thing to remember when it comes to any auto dealer ads that promise to sell you a car at a price that is lower than what they paid for it is that auto dealers are not in the business of giving anything away. Those ads are certainly misleading, to say the least. Before even considering such a deal, you should do a bit of research so that you really know what the car that you are interested in is really worth it.

Legal Assistance

Above all, use your head when you are dealing with salespeople…especially car salespeople, they are not known as “sales sharks” for nothing! You want to have as much information as you can before entering into a new car deal; and if you run into any problem at all such as being sold a lemon, remember that you can always consult an attorney about the matter.  

Check out our most recent blog post about Why Do Certain Cars Become Lemons? Your California Lemon Law Attorney Knows

Things That You Should Know About Buying a New Car

Secret Warranties, Recalls, and Lemons

Buying a new or even a used car is a big financial decision for most of us because cars are not exactly cheap. In fact, most of us have to save for quite a while before we are able to come up with the down payment that we need for a new car; this means that we have to give up comforts that money could buy us for the sake of putting it away in the hope of buying a car later on. Most of us see this as a necessary sacrifice because a car is absolutely necessary for everything that we have to do, especially for those of us who live in somewhat remote places where public transportation is not really an option to get around. People in such places have to rely on a car on a daily basis in order to get to work, take the kids to school, go grocery shopping, go to different kinds of appointments, run errands, and other important things; not having a car in good working condition can make life very complicated under these circumstances. 

So when those of us who have such a great need for a car finally go to a dealership to purchase a car that we will need to use day in and day out, we expect it to be in perfect working order. Unfortunately, sometimes things do not turn out that way and consumers end up having to deal with secret warranties, recalls, and lemons. But consumers who end up with a car that is not in proper working have a few options to have them repaired or exchanged, including being able to consult with a lemon law attorney about their case.

About Secret Warranties

Buying A New Car

Generally speaking, dealerships want to avoid any problems or issues that could make them look negative in the eyes of consumers and harm future sales. When a car manufacturer becomes aware of a particular defect in one of its models they sometimes respond by contacting all the dealerships that sell that model to let them know about it and tell them to fix the defect without any cost having to be paid for it by car owners. What happens is the manufacturer will extend the factory warranty for particular defects and repairs.  The problem is that while the dealers know, not all consumers know because the manufacturers do not necessarily advertise this extended factory warranty. This type of situation is referred to as a “secret warranty.” So, consumers will think their warranty has expired, when it really has not, and instead of taking their car to the dealer for a free repair, they take it to a mechanic and have to pay for the repair.  

If you have a problem with your vehicle, before taking your car to a mechanic for repairs, double check to see if the manufacturer extended the warranty.  You can take the car to the dealer and ask. You can call the manufacturer’s 1-800 number and ask. You might want to do a quick google search and see if something comes up.  You can call a lemon law attorney and see if they know. You can even check with NHTSA or maybe even visit websites such as SaferCar.gov which can yield information about safety defects and other recalls for vehicles. 

Vehicle Recalls

One of the worst things that can happen to car manufacturers is having to recall cars because of the cost that is involved; in fact, recall costs are estimated to be in the billions on a yearly basis and that, of course, can heavily affect manufacturers’ profits and even put them critically in the red. Unfortunately for them, sometimes car defects are so severe that they have no choice but to publicize those defects to the general public and even contact car owners directly to deal with the issue before there are serious and even fatal accidents. You might be thinking that car manufacturers might be tempted to hide any defects that their cars might have to avoid losing so much money and, while that might happen from time to time, it is definitely not a good idea. Recalls definitely cost car manufacturers a lot of money and even causes them to look incompetent and unreliable to consumers, but that is much preferable to a lot of fatal and non-fatal accidents that might result from car defects and the even costlier lawsuits and government fines that would follow. If you hear about a recall for your vehicle or are directly notified about it, it is very important that you follow instructions to the letter.

Lemons

Anyone who has ever purchased a car, or has begun to look into doing so, has heard about lemons. There are various things that can make a car a “lemon.” No one wants to be sold a lemon; this is one of the biggest fears that people have when looking for a car. Of course, not all cars that happen to have defects are lemons, that depends on how severe the defect is. For example, if a car has a bad steering wheel, transmission, or engine, those are substantial defects that affect how the vehicle operates and how safe it is to be on the road. But, if the issue is that the radio sometimes does not work, that is just not enough. 

Experienced Lemon Lawyer San Diego

However, merely having a defect does not make the car a lemon…just yet. There have to be a number of repair attempts to correct the issue; if the substantial defect cannot be fixed after several attempts, the car may be considered a lemon, and the owner has a right to a refund, a replacement vehicle, or receive an acceptable cash settlement. Some car dealerships and manufacturers will want to solve this issue as quickly and quietly as possible since they don’t want negative press that can cost them future business and profits, but others are not so quick to do the right thing. 

Anyone who suspects that they have been sold a lemon should deal with the issue as quickly as possible and keep records of everything such as the purchase contract, repair records, videos, photographs, and other documentation about the problems. If neither the dealership nor the manufacturer are willing or able to fix the issue, he or she should contact a lemon law attorney as soon as possible. 

 

How the New Car Lemon Law Can Help You

Anyone who has ever purchased a new or used car has heard horror stories about unsuspecting customers being sold a “lemon.” If you have never heard the term before, count yourself lucky because that means that you have never had such a bad experience, but you should still know about it so that you can do what you can to avoid it. Imagine that you finally save enough money to use as a down payment for a new car that you have wanted for some time now. You go through all the hassles of filling out paperwork, answering questions, and waiting for everything to be approved. 

After a while, you are finally handed your keys to your brand new car and you drive out of the dealership with a big smile on your face. But something is not quite right; you might notice it right away or it might take a few days. It suddenly dawns on you that the suspension is not working exactly as it should, or perhaps the car does not accelerate the way that you would expect it to, or it could be something else altogether. You start to believe that you were sold a lemon, a term used to describe a car (often new but not always) that has considerable manufacturing defects that severely affect its safety or operation, making it a bad purchase. 

But did you actually buy a lemon? You might be completely convinced that you did, but that does not mean that the law will feel the same way about it. Because buying and selling “lemons” has been a problem throughout the years, “lemon laws” have been written in every state to deal with this issue. Of course, those laws differ from state to state and, as you would expect, some states tend to be more lenient than others. We have put together some general guidelines to help consumers who might find themselves in this situation, although the most advisable thing to do in such a case is to consult a lemon law attorney.

What Make a Car a Lemon?

According to the law in most states, a motor vehicle has to meet certain criteria in order to be considered a lemon.

  • The car must have a considerable defect that is covered by the car’s warranty and that defect must be present within a specified timeframe after the vehicle is purchased.
  • A reasonable number of attempts at repairing the particular defect that the car has must be made; exactly what that number is changes from state to state. If the defect remains after these repair attempts, the vehicle is most likely a lemon.

More About Considerable Defects

A considerable or substantial defect can be just about anything that seriously affects how the owner will be able to use the car, its market value, or how safe it is to drive. Of course, this defect must be present when the owner takes possession of the vehicle and not caused as a result of this person driving it. 

Most states will only consider the defect to be valid if it is covered by the warranty, so it cannot be something trivial that really does not affect the car’s operation, value, or safety. So, for example, if your steering wheel does not turn exactly as it should, it would not just make it difficult to drive the vehicle but also a possible danger that can end in a crash; this is clearly a substantial defect. But if your trunk does not close properly it can be easily fixed so that would not be a substantial defect. These are two clear examples, but what about problems that fall somewhere in between? You might think that a certain problem should be considered substantial but others might disagree. A lemon law attorney will be able to help you figure out if the defect that your car has can be considered substantial or not and advise you about the best way to proceed.

More About Repair Attempts

Experienced Lemon Law Attorney Las Angeles

One of the good things about buying a new car from a dealership is that they come with a warranty that should cover major defects. So when a consumer who thinks he might have a lemon notices a severe defect with the car, he or she should take it back to the dealership for repairs. Lemon law the dealership and/or the manufacturer with a reasonable number of repair attempts to fix the defect. If those repair attempts fail to resolve the issue, the car should be considered a lemon. When it comes to used cars, not every single state has lemon laws that protect the consumer, but some do; although to what extent and under what considerations vary so you have to talk to a lemon law attorney about it.

About Warranties

Manufacturers cannot create unfair warranties. Consumers are protected from this by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which was enacted in 1975. This federal statute allows consumers to sue if the terms of a warranty that they received are grossly unfair, and it does extend to the car industry.

Refund or Replacement Car

When a motor vehicle has met the criteria for being considered a lemon, the dealership or the manufacturer should be willing to provide either a replacement car or a refund; this is a reasonable solution to the problem that any of us would expect. Unfortunately, we all know that companies can be stubborn about doing the right thing at times. If neither the dealership nor the manufacturer is willing to offer a refund, a replacement vehicle, or an acceptable settlement, it is definitely time to talk to an attorney about your case and what can be done about it.  

The Process of Going to Court

If you believe that you were sold a lemon, you can choose to go to out of court arbitration where an arbitrator or a panel will take a look at your case and make a decision about what should be done about it. You can either decide to accept that decision or appeal it. If you decide to follow this route, take as much evidence with you as you can such as photographs and written records of the repair attempts that were made on the car. A lot of people choose to go to arbitration in order to avoid having to go to court. However, consider the fact that a new car is not exactly cheap and if things go wrong in arbitration, you are going to end up losing quite a bit. The best thing that you can do is contact a lemon law attorney as soon as you can and with as much documentation about your case as possible. An experienced lemon law attorney will know exactly what he or she is doing and will be able to explain what your best option is to either get your money back or get satisfaction with an acceptable settlement. Click this link https://calemonlawattorney.com/ for more information about this topic.

Four Steps Every Driver Should Take to Protect Your Lemon Law Rights (and What Those Rights Are)

In California, if you are driving a late-model automobile, pickup, van, motorcycle, or SUV that routinely needs repairs, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act of 1970 – known as the California Lemon Law – may address your concerns, and the lemon law lawyers in California are here to help.

What are your rights under California’s Lemon Law? Can you get your money back or have the vehicle replaced? How is a “lemon” defined? And will a consumer attorney be able to help? Keep reading to learn what it takes to protect and exercise your “Lemon Law rights” in this state.

Nobody wants to own a car or an SUV that has to be constantly taken in for repairs, but what can you do if you’ve purchased a vehicle that’s a lemon? To exercise your rights under the California Lemon Law, here are the four steps that you will need to take: 

  1. Know what the California Lemon Law says.
  2. Know what your legal rights are under the law.
  3. Keep copies of all receipts for repairs and any related documents.
  4. Schedule a consultation with an experienced California lemon law lawyer.

What Does the California Lemon Law Say? 

The California Lemon Law covers both new and previously-owned vehicles – whether the vehicle is purchased or leased – after an authorized dealer has made multiple efforts, to no avail, to repair the same safety or mechanical problem with the vehicle under warranty. 

Exactly what does the California Lemon Law provide? It makes vehicle dealers and manufacturers accountable for vehicles that are lemons. They must either reimburse the vehicle’s owner for the lemon or replace it. 

Skilled Lemon Law Attorney San Diego

The California Lemon Law does not apply until several attempts have been made to repair the problem – and the consumer still has no solution. Even experienced and honest auto mechanics will be unable to repair some types of mechanical and manufacturing defects. 

The Lemon Law does not specify how many efforts to fix the problem must be made before a consumer may demand a buyback. However, California appellate courts have determined that a “reasonable number” of efforts must, as a matter of law, be at least two repair attempts, though Lemon Law attorneys like to see three to four repeat visits.

What Are Your Rights Under the California Lemon Law? 

Some California consumers may not even know that they have rights under the California Lemon Law. Basically, if you buy or lease a vehicle with a warranty, and if the same problem can’t be fixed after several efforts, you have the right to compel the manufacturer to buy the vehicle back from you or to replace it.

This is Imperative: Keep Copies of All Receipts for Repairs 

What is taken into account when the amount that you are entitled to in a vehicle buyback is determined? One of the considerations will be the number of times that the vehicle was taken in for repairs and the amount of time that it was off the road. 

Keeping All Receipts Of Repairs

When you purchase or lease a vehicle in California, save, copy, and securely store all of the sales and repair receipts and any related documents. Your attorney will want to scrutinize those receipts because they are the evidence that can help you prevail with your Lemon Law claim. 

Additionally, your Lemon Law attorney will need copies of those receipts in order to begin the negotiations for your buyback. Always review your vehicle repair receipts to ensure that they accurately reflect the reason for the repair and the work that was done.

What Should You Look for When You Choose a Lemon Lawyer? 

A consumer is going to need some guidance through the Lemon Law process, but you should not work with any lawyer who charges a fee for your first consultation. Likewise, you should not retain a lawyer who charges you for their work. The reason is that the Lemon Law says the manufacturers have to pay your attorney if you prevail, not you.

You will need an attorney who has abundant Lemon Law experience. The Lemon Law is complex. California Lemon Law Attorney Sotera L. Anderson has handled Lemon Law Cases for over thirteen years. She used to represent the manufacturers. She knows what is important in Lemon Law cases and is ready to go to court if that is what a case requires.

What Else Should You Know About the Lemon Law? 

You’ve just learned about the four basic steps that you should take to protect your lemon law rights as a consumer in this state, but if you own a vehicle that is a lemon, you are going to need the personalized advice that only an experienced California consumer attorney can provide. 

Do not try to negotiate by yourself with your vehicle’s manufacturer. An experienced California consumer attorney, like Sotera Anderson, can explain how the Lemon Law applies to your own situation, protect your legal rights, and almost certainly negotiate a better settlement than you could achieve alone. 

And you don’t have to worry about the fees, because the manufacturer has to take care of that. So why wouldn’t you call an experienced lemon law attorney? 

Your attorney will hold the vehicle’s manufacturer responsible and will fight to ensure that you receive what you are entitled to by the Lemon Law. If your vehicle is a lemon, make the call now. A good attorney’s help is your right.

How Does California’s Lemon Law Affect the Auto Warranty Period for Car Repairs? (Here’s What Consumers Should Know)

California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act – the California Lemon Law – gives consumers legal protection when an auto company makes and sells a defective vehicle, but to take advantage of that protection, you’ll need an experienced California lemon law attorney.

The Lemon Law may apply to used vehicles as well as to new vehicles. It may apply to both leased vehicles and to purchased vehicles. It may apply to automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and SUVs.

What is Required to Pursue a Claim Under the Lemon Law? 

One item, however, must be in place before you can file any claim under the state’s Lemon Law. You must have repeat repairs that are covered under the dealer’s or manufacturer’s a warranty. 

However, in some cases, California’s Lemon Law can actually extend the amount of time a warranty remains in effect. This can get very complicated so please don’t try to run these calculations on your own because you could end up missing the deadline to file your claim. 

How does the extension work? When do you need to act if you’ve purchased a “lemon” from a California auto dealership? And how will a lemon law attorney be able to help?

Read on to have those questions answered, and you’ll learn more about the Lemon Law, vehicle warranties, and your rights as a consumer here in the state of California. You’ll also learn what steps to take if a vehicle you’ve purchased is a lemon.

What is the “Real” Warranty Period – When a Vehicle is a Lemon?

Every new vehicle is sold with a manufacturer’s warranty. The manufacturer gives you several kinds of warranties – like a basic warranty, a powertrain warranty, and a restraint warranty. 

Warranty Period For A Lemon Car

Those warranties last for a certain number of months or miles, whichever occurs first. Some consumers find when they buy a vehicle that’s a lemon, efforts to repair the vehicle can take a great deal of time and may even extend beyond the warranty period. But under the Lemon Law, the warranty period is “tolled” (that is, paused) when a vehicle is at a dealership for repairs. 

Beginning on the date when you leave a defective vehicle with the manufacturer’s repair facility for repairs, the warranty period pauses and does not start again until the repairs are complete. If the consumer is the party who is causing the delay, the original warranty period will not be told and instead will remain in effect. 

In fact, under the California Lemon Law, the warranty period is technically extended until the problem with the vehicle has been repaired – if it can be repaired.

What Do You Need to Extend the Warranty? 

If the dealership’s effort to repair the vehicle has failed, the vehicle’s owner must inform the manufacturer of that failure within sixty days after the repair effort was “completed.” 

So, it is important to bring the vehicle back to the dealer.

Here’s the bottom line: If a vehicle’s defects first emerged in the original warranty period, and if the dealership had a chance to fix the defects before that warranty expired, the warranty may be extended by the Lemon Law, and you may have the right to a buyback or a replacement vehicle.

How Do “Lemon Law” Attorneys Help California’s Consumers? 

California requires vehicle manufacturers and dealers to inform vehicle purchasers about their Lemon Law rights, but they do so “buried” in a booklet with all the other materials given at the time of purchase. 

Many consumers nevertheless remain unfamiliar with their rights under the law. If you own a vehicle that is a lemon – with repairs under warranty – you need an attorney’s help.

Please don’t try to calculate the warranty on your own because you may find that you miscalculated it and the deadline to file your claim may have passed.

Skilled Lemon Law Attorney Los Angeles

Every Lemon Law case is unique. A good California consumer lawyer will explain your rights under the Lemon Law, will explain how the law applies in your personal circumstances and will negotiate a Lemon Law claim on your behalf. 

Most California Lemon Law claims are settled in less than ninety days.

What About “Extended” Warranties? 

California consumers should understand clearly that the Lemon Law does not apply to the repairs covered by an “extended” warranty. Extended warranties are basically service contracts for repairs on a vehicle after the expiration of a manufacturer’s original vehicle warranty.

Extended warranties may look and read just like original manufacturers’ warranties, but the law in this state makes a clear distinction. California’s Lemon Law applies only to repairs that are still covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty.

Do You Really Need an Attorney’s Help With a Lemon Law Claim?

If you try to negotiate personally and directly with a vehicle’s manufacturer for a buyback or a replacement vehicle, here’s what’s likely to happen. A “customer service representative” will assure you that “your claims are under investigation and the situation is under review.”

In other words, you may be led to believe that the vehicle’s manufacturer is earnestly trying to resolve your problem when, in fact, nothing is being done. In these circumstances, the vehicle’s manufacturer is hoping that, eventually, you’ll simply give up and go away. That often happens.

Or what happens if the manufacturer will offer something very nominal as hush money? If you take that money, you can’t get a full refund later.

Even if the vehicle’s manufacturer eventually offers you a buyback or a replacement vehicle, without an experienced consumer lawyer’s help, you are unlikely to receive the full value of your claim. Lemon Law Attorney Sotera Anderson often gets calls from consumers who tried to negotiate on their own and realizes that the manufacturer offered the consumer thousands less than what the lemon law calls for – don’t be one of those consumers. Let her handle it from the beginning.

When Should You Speak to a Lemon Law Attorney?

If you are a California consumer and you’ve purchased a vehicle that appears to be a lemon, seek a good attorney’s advice first. An experienced California lemon law attorney is a trained negotiator who routinely handles these claims and knows what it takes to prevail on your behalf. 

The law in California is on your side, and a good attorney’s help is your right. 

If the vehicle you’ve purchased is a lemon, and if you meet the other requirements of the Lemon Law, you have the right to a buyback or a replacement vehicle, but you must take the first step – and call a good lemon law attorney promptly. Call Sotera. She’ll walk you through the lemon law process.

 

When Your Green Vehicle Goes Yellow (How the Lemon Law Applies to Hybrid and Electric Vehicles)

Over the last decade, the popularity of “green” cars has skyrocketed. In particular, consumers in California in recent years have been purchasing more electric and hybrid vehicles. The top-selling models are produced by manufacturers that include Ford, Nissan, and General Motors.

However, if you buy one of these “green” vehicles from one of their manufacturers or dealers, and if your electric or hybrid vehicle “goes yellow” and turns out to be a “lemon,” you will need the advice and insights of an experienced California lemon law attorney.

How can you know if the electric or the hybrid that you’ve been sold is a lemon? How can the law – and a good California consumer attorney – help you if you’ve been sold a lemon? Read on to learn the answers to these questions. Help is available for consumers who’ve bought lemons.

How Popular Are “Green” Vehicles in California?

California leads the nation in electric and hybrid vehicle purchases. In fact, more than half of the electric and hybrid vehicles that are sold in the U.S. are sold in California. That’s one reason why it is so important for consumers in California to know their rights under the state’s lemon law. 

Even though electric and hybrid vehicles are considered advanced, it is still possible that an electric or a hybrid vehicle may be a lemon. California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act – the lemon law – offers legal protection to consumers who find that they’ve purchased a lemon.

Hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturers have a duty to protect the general public and to produce vehicles that are reasonably safe and reasonably free of defects. When a vehicle manufacturer fails to meet that duty, consumers in California have recourse under the lemon law.

What is the Definition of a “Hybrid” or “Electric” Vehicle?

“Hybrids” are vehicles that use an electric motor along with a gasoline engine to keep fuel consumption to a minimum. “Electric” vehicles use no gasoline at all and run entirely on a rechargeable battery.

The advanced technology behind hybrid and electric vehicles offers a number of benefits, but advanced technology also creates more opportunities for a vehicle to be a lemon. For example, hybrids and electric vehicles have sensitive electronic components that are sometimes defective.

If you lease or purchase an electric vehicle or a hybrid vehicle in this state, and if it keeps needing repairs – even after several trips to the repair shop – that electric or hybrid vehicle is probably a lemon, and you should speak to a lemon law attorney without delay.

How Does the Law Determine Which Vehicles Are Lemons?

A lemon is defined as a vehicle with persistent, serious mechanical problems that the authorized dealer consistently fails to remedy. You must have repeated repair efforts that are covered under the dealer’s or manufacturer’s warranty before you can file a claim under the state’s lemon law.

Under the California lemon law, when a vehicle manufacturer is unable to repair a vehicle – after a reasonable number of repair efforts – the manufacturer may be legally obligated to replace or buy back the vehicle, provided most of the repairs occurred during the manufacturer’s warranty period. 

Exactly how does the California lemon law protect consumers? The law holds manufacturers accountable for gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrids, and electric vehicles that they cannot fix under warranty. The law provides that a vehicle manufacturer must buy back a lemon or replace it.

If You’ve Been Sold a Lemon, What Steps Should You Take?

California’s hybrid and electric vehicle owners are entitled to the same consumer protections that all other vehicle owners enjoy in this state. If you have been sold a lemon in California, you should arrange to speak right away with an experienced California lemon law attorney. 

San Diego attorney Sotera L. Anderson has settled hundreds of lemon law claims for her clients throughout California. She is a former attorney for vehicle manufacturers, and with more than nineteen years of legal experience, she knows what it takes to prevail on a consumer’s behalf. 

If you have been sold a hybrid vehicle or an electric vehicle that is a lemon – with repairs under warranty – seek an attorney’s help right away. Do not let the deadline pass for filing a claim under the lemon law. Schedule a consultation with an experienced consumer attorney at once.

Don’t try to go it alone if you need to negotiate with the manufacturer of your hybrid or electric vehicle. You ought to be represented from the beginning by an experienced consumer lawyer who will protect your rights and who will negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf.

What Defects Are Typical With Electric and Hybrid Vehicles?

Whenever you buy a vehicle in the state of California – any vehicle – keep and securely store the sales receipts, repair receipts, and any related paperwork. This is the documentation that you will need if you have to file a claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer under the lemon law. 

Every vehicle needs occasional repairs, but if your hybrid or electric vehicle continues to have the same problem, it is likely that you have a claim under the lemon law. Some of the more common, persistent problems encountered by hybrid and electric vehicle owners have included:

  1. battery failures
  2. electrical system malfunctions
  3. control panel defects
  4. braking system problems

The California lemon law protects you by ensuring that your vehicle’s manufacturer stands behind the warranty – including the warranties for hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles.

What Will It Cost to File a Claim Under the Lemon Law?

If you believe that your hybrid or electric vehicle is a lemon and that you have a claim under the lemon law, it costs nothing to speak to an experienced California lemon law attorney like Sotera L. Anderson. Your first consultation is free, and there’s no obligation.

Additionally, if your lemon law claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer prevails, the manufacturer has to pay your attorney’s fees and costs.

How Will a Lemon Law Attorney Help You?

California’s lemon law is quite complicated. You will need a lawyer who has considerable lemon law experience. Your attorney will hold the vehicle’s manufacturer accountable and will ensure that you receive what you are entitled to under the lemon law.

Most lemon law claims in the state of California can be resolved within ninety days. If your green vehicle turns yellow in this state, it is your right to seek a buyback or a replacement – and to put the lemon law to work for you – with a good attorney’s help.