You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the California lemon law (technically known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act) is quite complex. It would be nice if it were as simple as “manufacturers shall make everything right immediately,” but, as a piece of legal legislation, it’s filled with legal jargon that makes most people’s heads spin. That’s why consumers end up calling in the services of a Los Angeles lemon law lawyer.
We’ll be honest…the title of this article is a bit misleading. There’s nothing that you should expect from a settlement, if there is one at all, because absolutely every case is different. It depends on so much: the paperwork the client can provide, if the client has come to see an attorney soon enough, and if the vehicle is actually a lemon in the first place. After all, a vehicle that has a small problem that was promptly fixed by the dealership doesn’t qualify as a lemon. (But even if that’s the case, why not contact a lemon law attorney in Los Angeles just to make sure?) The only thing you should expect is that your Los Angeles lemon law lawyer will help you navigate the legal system.
There are many possible outcomes from filing a claim under the California lemon law. Let’s take a look at some of the most common lemon law settlements as detailed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Remember, every case is different, and while there may be patterns of settlements, there’s no guarantee that what your neighbor received will be what you receive for the same vehicle. Sometimes it comes down to what the consumer agrees to in order to expedite the process.
REFUND OF THE PURCHASE PRICE
For many people, this is the best-case scenario. A consumer who buys a Dodge and has nothing but trouble with it might be perfectly happy to get a refund. The consumer may then take the refund money and use it to purchase a completely different brand. The manufacturer or dealership will then take possession of the vehicle and do with it as they see fit, including branding the title of the vehicle as a lemon (or at least they are supposed to under the law).
There are circumstances wherein the refund of the purchase price can be reduced. If there is obvious damage to a vehicle — if it has been in an accident or has suffered damage from never having the oil change — the amount of the refund awarded might be less. Check out the FAQ section of this website for more detailed information on a refund is calculated.
A REPLACEMENT VEHICLE
Sometimes a manufacturer can be convinced to replace the lemon vehicle. Honestly, this is rare. Motorcycle manufacturers are most likely to agree to a replacement than car manufacturers. Even if your lemon is brand new when you purchase it, it’s likely that another model year will come out before you see any legal action take place. In this case, you will likely get a newer model year than your lemon. 2017 lemons can become 2019 replacements, and hopefully during that time the problems have been fixed within that model.
AN ADDITIONAL REPAIR ATTEMPT
A lemon vehicle is one that has the same problem again and again, and a dealership must be allowed a reasonable number of chances to repair it. By the time legal action is taken and a California lemon law attorney gets involved, these chances have usually been exhausted and a case is opened.
If you go through arbitration, sometimes the arbitrator will give the manufacturer another chance to fix their mistake. Maybe they finally found a way to permanently fix the problem between the previous attempt and the filing of the paperwork. If that’s the case, they might get that one last chance.
EXTENDED SERVICE CONTRACT
Sometimes a manufacturer will end up offering an extended service contract on the lemon vehicle, fixing it for longer than the typical warranty period. While this might not sound ideal at first, it can be beneficial if it’s going to cover anything else that might go wrong with the car beyond the known lemon problems.
CASH AND KEEP
Sometimes the offer is “cash and keep,” in which you receive some cash for your troubles and then keep the vehicle. If you can live with the problem associated with the lemon — or believe that it is finally repaired for good — this might be a good option.
Accepting the cash and keep option can be a difficult decision to make. It’s a good idea to have a Los Angeles lemon law lawyer on your side who can help you make this decision based on how it’s worked out for other people.
REIMBURSEMENT FOR INCIDENTAL EXPENSES
In addition to the possible settlements we discussed above, you might also be awarded reimbursement for certain expenses suffered due to the lemon. You may be awarded towing expenses and rental car expenses.
There’s always the chance that nothing will be gained. Despite the belief of the client and the California lemon law attorney that the case is valid, there’s always the chance that the law (or a jury) won’t work out in the consumer’s favor. While California lemon laws are the most consumer-friendly in the nation, there are times when it simply doesn’t work out. Don’t worry, though, because it’s free(to you) to work with The Law Offices of Sotera L. Anderson when it comes to lemon law cases.
GET HELP FROM A LOS ANGELES LEMON LAW LAWYER!
Navigating the legal system can be difficult, and if you choose to tackle the lemon law paperwork on your own you might not get the offers that you usually would. Sotera L. Anderson is ready to help you, so contact her law offices today to get the process started!