One year ago, we published a piece about what makes a car a lemon. After people learn more about what constitutes a lemon, they have questions about whether they will have to go to trial. Many people have never had to go to court, and the idea of doing so is so daunting that they don’t contact a lemon law attorney to resolve their issues. This would be a significant mistake! Attorney Doug Sohn filmed a video addressing this concern. He explained that it “virtually never happens” due to his effort to settle these cases.
Does the same extend to arbitration? There are instances when someone assumes their case must be submitted to arbitration. They may be told this by a friend or even the car’s manufacturer. However, it is essential to know that per California’s lemon laws, choosing to take your claim to arbitration is entirely voluntary.
A Different Perspective on Arbitration
Imagine the manufacturer or someone else telling you about the benefits of arbitration. They may point out that you will not need to hire an attorney for arbitration, it’s quicker, and the outcome is only binding to the manufacturer. In other words, you can reject the arbitrator’s decision because you aren’t bound to it.
Whereas neither of those things is false, they are somewhat misleading. For instance, why would someone choose not to hire a lemon law attorney? The law requires the manufacturer to pay your attorney’s fees. It is improbable that the manufacturer will not have an attorney at arbitration. The only people who save money when you don’t have a lemon law attorney is the manufacturer.
Anyone who has bought a lemon is eager to get their issue resolved. The idea of a “quicker” resolution may seem highly appealing. Never forget that your attorney has the same goal, but they will not rush into something to your detriment. During the discovery phase, your attorney will learn what the other party knows. There may also be a need to depose witnesses under oath to establish what happened and why. During arbitration, you have less of a right to discovery. The speed of the result comes at a cost.
Lastly, can you reject the arbitrator’s decision? Absolutely, but that decision is not sealed. The manufacturer’s attorneys may introduce the decision at trial—in the rare event that it goes this far. The idea that you can walk away makes it appear that you have nothing to lose, but that is not a genuine reflection of the situation.
Speak with a Lemon Law Attorney
Though we touched on this above, we like to point out that our advice (and representation) is always free—at least to you. The manufacturer pays all our fees, and we will take nothing from you. If someone tells you that you need to go to arbitration or that it is in your best interest, take the time to speak to legal counsel. We want what you want: a resolution. You have nothing to lose by contacting us today to schedule a consultation.