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What Constitutes a ‘Lemon’ Under California Law?

Lemon Law

What is California’s Lemon Law?

California’s Lemon Law protects individuals who purchase or lease defective vehicles that consistently exhibit issues even after repairs. The law describes a lemon as a car plagued by persistent problems significantly affecting its worth, safety, and functionality.

If the dealer or manufacturer can’t fix the issue even after a reasonable number of repair attempts under the warranty, you might have a valid Lemon Law Claim. Knowledgeable lawyers from a reputable law firm in San Diego provide an overview of how the Lemon Law works and what you should know if you suspect you bought a lemon.

What Does a “Reasonable” Number of Repair Attempts Mean?

The law doesn’t specify the number of times you must attempt to repair a car before it becomes a lemon. However, Lemon Law lawyers in San Diego provide the following factors for determining when a reasonable number of repair attempts has been reached:

  • The manufacturer or dealer has tried to resolve the same problem at least two times without success, or
  • The car has been in the shop for more than 30 days, even if not consecutively, to repair a problem covered by the warranty, also known as the Lemon Law Presumption.

The substantial defect should not result from your unreasonable or unauthorized use. At the first sign of a defect, ensure you schedule an appointment with your authorized local repair facility under the warranty to begin the repair process. If the vehicle is still defective after four repair attempts, consult San Diego Lemon Law attorneys immediately.

What Are the Outstanding Indicators of a Lemon?

Being aware of the factors surrounding a lemon can help you identify if you purchased or leased a lemon and take the appropriate action. Critical indicators are:

  • Frequent breakdowns characterized by mechanical issues and recurring repairs
  • Persistent problems that require you to keep fixing the same issue unsuccessfully
  • Manufacturer recalls
  • Difficulty having your warranty claims approved or delays in receiving repairs

What Type of Car Does the Lemon Law Cover?

California Lemon Law aims to safeguard consumers by providing them with legal remedies such as refunds or replacements when they buy defective vehicles. The law covers the:

  • Vehicles leased or purchased for personal, household, or personal purposes
  • Most vehicles leased or purchased for business use
  • Dealer-owned cars and demonstrators
  • Cars, SUVs, vans, trucks, and pickups
  • The chassis, chassis cab, and drive train of a motor home

Knowing how to file a compensation lemon claim for any of these types of vehicles can be an uphill task. It calls for the legal expertise of experienced Lemon Law lawyers in San Diego to protect your rights. They can evaluate your case and help you weigh your options on the kind of compensation to pursue.

What Should I Do If I Discover I Have a Lemon?

Once you discover you have a lemon, the first thing to do is notify the manufacturer. They will advise you on the steps to take. However, avoid taking action before consulting experienced San Diego Lemon Law attorneys. They have the skill to evaluate your case and advise whether to pursue arbitration or file a lawsuit.

Whichever option you choose, keep in mind that the manufacturer is not your friend in a Lemon Law claim. They will try to convince you to resolve the issue in the simplest and quickest way, often to their advantage, not yours. Their goal is to avoid compensating you, so you should work with skilled legal experts who can fight to protect your rights.

How to Avoid a Lemon Law Rip-Off

Understanding how Lemon Law claims work is crucial to help you avoid traps when buying a car. Manufacturers pay large amounts of money to defense lawyers with the goal of paying as little money as possible for your compensation claim. You can avoid being ripped off in the following ways:

  • Don’t sign away your consumer rights: The manufacturer might offer a warranty extension or a small reimbursement, settlement, and release agreement related to claims on repeated repairs. Signing a release may take away your rights to pursue further compensation.
  • Consult extensively before accepting arbitration: Private arbitration makes you less likely to win your case, and even if you do, you may get far less money than you would in court. The manufacturer sponsors most arbitrators, and they will fight to protect the manufacturer’s interests, not yours.
  • Don’t skip Lemon Law clauses in purchase orders: Some manufacturers make it difficult for consumers to pursue further legal action beyond arbitration. For example, they can include a clause prohibiting you from opting out of arbitration within a given number of days after delivery. Read this clause carefully to understand what you’re up against.
  • Don’t sign an out-of-court Lemon Law agreement that puts the Lemon Law attorney fees on you: Under the California Lemon Law, manufacturers must pay the attorney fees and other legal costs. Avoid signing an agreement that puts this responsibility on you.

An Experienced Lemon Law Attorney Providing Legal Counsel in Lemon Cases

After you realize you might have bought a lemon, you want to take legal action as fast as possible to protect your rights. Working with skilled Lemon Law attorneys in San Diego can expedite the process and enhance your chances of a favorable outcome.

San Diego Lemon Law is a reputable law firm that aims to provide a high level of legal representation. We fight to ensure manufacturers honor their end of the bargain in their warranty when consumers purchase vehicles. If you have a lemon case, don’t hesitate to contact us. Call us at 619-434-0819 for a FREE consultation.

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