Did You Buy a Lemon in California? We Can Help
Purchasing a new car can be an exciting prospect. It has that new car smell, the mileage is next to nothing, and you do not have to worry about the repairs that seemed constant on your old vehicle. Unfortunately, for some car purchasers, the problems and repairs will only continue with their new car.
If your new car has problems, you may not worry at first since it is under warranty, and the dealer should simply fix the problem, right? This does happen, however, in some cases, the problem persists even after you take the car into the shop. Maybe the dealer could not identify the issue, or maybe they could not fix it. Either way, you may find yourself right back in the waiting room or without a car for several days. This can get exhausting, can be highly inconvenient, and can make you regret ever purchasing the new car. Even if the warranty means there are no out-of-pocket costs to the consumer for the attempted repairs, constantly being without a vehicle or not knowing whether your car will run is certainly stressful.
Fortunately, the law in California addresses this particular situation. The law recognizes that new car owners should not simply have to deal with repeated – and often, unsuccessful – repairs to a vehicle represented as new and in proper shape. There are specific protections for people who unknowingly purchase a car that turns out to be a lemon.
While the California Lemon Law strongly favors consumers, the law is also complex with many nuances. Manufacturers often try to take advantage of consumers unfamiliar with the detailed law, but you shouldn’t let them. Instead, contact our California Car Lemon Law attorneys to evaluate your situation. You may be eligible for a cash settlement or refund of your purchase, so don’t delay in calling today!
Do You Have a Lemon?
Many people use the term lemon to refer to vehicles of all ages with numerous problems. However, these cars will not all constitute lemons under the law. California law sets out specific guidelines for when the Lemon Law may apply to your vehicle:
- The car is new, leased, or used with a valid written warranty
- You purchased the car for personal or family purpose
- You purchased the car for business purposes and you have five or fewer registered business vehicles
- You purchased the car from someone engaged in the retail sale or distribution of cars
- You leased or purchased the car in California (unless you are a military member on active duty)
- Your car has a substantial impairment that the dealer or another authorized repair facility cannot fix after trying a reasonable number of times
If you believe the above to be true, you should contact our Lemon Law attorney as soon as possible.
We can determine whether your car’s problem constitutes a substantial impairment as required under the law. This is a case-by-case evaluation, as many problems with cars are considered substantial. If your car has a major defect, it is definitely worth a call to discuss your rights.
We will also review whether the dealer has had a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problem at hand. While there is no specific definition of “reasonable number” in the law, there are circumstances under which the law presumes the number of attempts were reasonable. This presumption applies to any of the following circumstances within the first 18,000 miles or 18 months of owning the car:
- The car has a defect that makes it unsafe and the dealer tried unsuccessfully to fix the problem two times
- The car has any substantial defect and the dealer tried unsuccessfully to fix the problem four times
- The car was in the shop for attempted repairs for more than 30 days
Even if your situation does not fit within the presumption—for example, it has been more than 18 months or 18,000 miles—you still may have rights under California’s Lemon Law as long as the repairs began during the vehicle’s warranty period.
Your Options for Relief
No one solution applies to every Lemon Law scenario. Instead, the law provides different options for consumer relief after purchasing or leasing a lemon car. Sometimes, you may keep the lemon and receive a cash settlement from the manufacturer for your troubles and expenses. You can then keep driving the vehicle, sell it, or trade it in as you wish. Two other common options include:
Refund – The manufacturer may provide a refund for a buyback of the car. The terms of the refund often include:
- Down payments, monthly payments, or lease payments
- Costs including sales tax, registration, or finance charges
- Expenses for tow trucks or rental cars due to the defect
- The remained of the auto loan or lease balance
Replacement vehicle – The manufacturer might offer to replace your lemon with a substantially similar car instead of paying you cash. Our law firm can ensure that the replacement vehicle meets all necessary specifications under the law. Note that you cannot demand a replacement vehicle nor can the manufacturer force you to accept one instead of a refund.
In either the case of a refund or replacement, the manufacturer does have the right to deduct funds for the miles you drove the car. However, this is a specific formula and the amount is not simply left to the discretion of the company.
Contact a California Car Lemon Law Firm for Information about Your Rights
While the law gives you rights in the event you purchase a lemon, manufacturers are not often willing to cooperate right away and may give you the runaround. You need assistance from our California Lemon Law Attorney at the Law Offices of Sotera L. Anderson. We protect your rights at no cost to you and help you get back on the road as soon as possible. Please feel free to call the office at 1-855-96-(LEMON) or provide information about your situation via our online contact form. We will contact you regarding your free case evaluation.