Think you have a lemon? Here are some do and don’ts.
Coming to the realization that your car might be a #lemon is one of the worst feelings as a #consumer. It’s likely that you spent hard-earned money to purchase your #automobile only to be stuck wasting time going to the dealer for repair after repair for the same issue. Fortunately, lemon car laws have been written to protect you in times like this. Making a #lemonlaw claim, however, requires a bit of know-how. Here are the top five do and don’ts if you think, “I was sold a lemon car!”
Addressing the problem(s) – Do and Don’ts
DO be specific in your complaint when you take your vehicle to the dealer about the issue you are encountering and make sure the service person documents it as you describe.
DON’T try to diagnose the mechanical problem yourself. Leave that to the auto mechanic experts. Why? Lemon laws typically allow the manufacturer two or three repair attempts for the same issue. If you bring your car back with the same problem but suggest that cause might be caused by something other than what you brought it in for previously, that could be considered two different problems according to the lemon law, and you’ve lost your “two attempts to repair” claim.
Record keeping – Do and Don’ts
DO keep all paperwork on every repair done to your car by the dealer or auto repair shop. Every time you drop off your car to the dealership for repairs, do not leave without the work order. And be sure to get a copy of the final repair record when you pick up the car. Make sure the invoices include the diagnosis of the problem, repairs done, how long the car was in the shop, dates of service, and fees charged. Not only are you entitled to this paperwork, but it is also critical to any lemon law case. If it goes to court, you are required to show that the manufacturer had chances to fix your car but was unable to. Paperwork is your proof.
DON’T leave empty-handed or let errors or omissions of information on the invoices slide. Ask the service person to make any corrections so that your claim meets the requirements for a lemon law settlement.
Meeting the repair requirements
DO take your car to an authorized dealer to handle repairs. With the California Lemon Law, the manufacturer is allowed a reasonable number of repair attempts to fix the problem. What is considered “reasonable” will depend on the circumstances, but in all cases at least two repair attempts are required before a claim can be made.
DON’T continue to try and fix the problem once you have met the lemon law requirement for “reasonable number of repair attempts.” And don’t let the dealer or manufacturer pressure you into additional repairs.
Acting in a timely way
DO take your vehicle to the dealer for repairs as soon as you first notice a problem and if the problem persists. If the issue is still not resolved, contact a lemon law attorney as soon as possible.
DON’T wait to take your car in for repair. The California Lemon Laws apply to new vehicles and used or leased vehicles still under the manufacturer’s original warranty. If the deadlines for filing a lemon law claim pass, you could be out of luck to reach a settlement.
Reaching the best settlement
DO consult a lemon law lawyer to understand the claims process and your settlement options, including refund of the purchase price or buyback, a replacement vehicle, extended service contract, or cash-and-keep. A lemon law attorney
DON’T trade or sell your lemon car before filing or completing a lemon law claim. Only the original owner of the lemon can file a claim for a replacement vehicle or refund of the purchase price. Also, don’t accept a low-ball settlement. Auto manufacturers will often try to minimize their loss and liability and they know all too well that frustrated or impatient car owners might be eager to settle for less than they are entitled to.
Don’t go it alone
Perhaps the important “don’t” is don’t go it alone. Plaintiffs who are represented by an experienced lemon law attorney have a better chance of receiving a maximum and fair settlement than those who are unrepresented. There is no cost for a consultation with a lemon law lawyer. In fact, there’s never a cost to the vehicle owner because the California Lemon Laws allow attorney fees to be collected from the manufacturers, not from the consumer.
If you think your car is a lemon, add this to your to-do list: contact a lemon law attorney!
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.