The California Lemon Law, formally known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, was designed to protect consumers who buy or lease a new or used vehicle that is still under the manufacturer’s original warranty. Under the law, consumers who have purchased “lemons” are entitled to a refund, replacement vehicle, or cash settlement at the expense of the manufacturer. Another settlement option worth considering is what’s known as “cash and keep.”
What does “cash and keep” mean?
With this settlement, the owner of the lemon car receives cash (less than the original purchase price) from the manufacturer to compensate them for their troubles, while retaining possession of the vehicle. It can also include reimbursement of expenses incurred while dealing with lemon issues, such as towing expenses and rental car fees.
Is “cash and keep” right for you?
While not for everyone, this option is worth considering if you can live with the problem associated with your vehicle or believe that the issue has been resolved. Once your claim has been settled, however, the case is closed. So it is recommended that you only accept this or any other lemon law settlement under the advisement of an experienced lemon law attorney.
What are the other options?
If you’re not thrilled about keeping your lemon, even with a cash and keep offer on the table, there might be other settlement options worth considering:
- Refund of the purchase price. Typically, the most desired outcome of a lemon law claim. The car owner can use the refund to purchase any make or model of their choosing. It is worth noting that the amount awarded could be less than the original purchase price if there is any obvious damage from an accident or neglected car maintenance.
- Replacement vehicle. The manufacturer may offer to replace your dud with a comparable vehicle. However, this is a money losing settlement for the manufacturer and is not a common outcome.
- Extended service contract. In other cases, the car manufacturer may agree to provide service and repair for longer than the typical warranty period which would cover the cost of anything else that might go wrong with your car beyond the known lemon problems.
Leave it to the experts
While cash and keep might be best for you, it is always advisable to have a California Lemon Law attorney represent your claim. They can help you navigate the legal process, handle the paperwork, and negotiate an optimum settlement. There’s no cost to the consumer for getting legal representation. The manufacturer is responsible for the settlement cost and attorney fees.
Think you have a claim? Get a free, no-obligation case evaluation from Sotera L. Anderson, California Lemon Law Attorney, here or call 1-855-96-LEMON, or (858) 247-0050.