Are you having problems with a vehicle you have recently purchased or leased?
Is the new vehicle you purchased or leased in and out of the repair shop or dealership for the same problem?
Does your vehicle sit in the repair shop for lengthy periods of time leaving you without reliable transportation?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, California Lemon Law (Civ. Code § 1793.22) states you may be entitled to a full refund “buyback”, a replacement vehicle, or a cash settlement.
There are state and federal laws that put you on equal footing with the big auto manufacturers that sell defective vehicles, or “lemons,” to unsuspecting buyers like you.
At Century Law Group, LLP, we help drivers in California recover money from the automakers who have sold them lemons. We are committed to providing you with quality legal representation, putting your needs and concerns first. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients win favorable settlements in California.
If a vehicle you purchased or leased is giving you problems, and you have questions about your rights with regard to California’s lemon law process, schedule a free consultation with us today and speak to our experienced California lemon law attorneys. We can help you in your fight to hold the major car manufacturers (and their teams of defense lawyers) accountable and we’ll help get you back on the road in a reliable vehicle.
Does My Vehicle Qualify Under California’s Lemon Law?
To qualify under California’s lemon law you must successfully prove the following:
- Your vehicle has either a serious safety defect or a nonconformity;
- The defect or nonconformity is covered under a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty;
- The defect or nonconformity substantially impairs the use, safety, or value of the vehicle;
- You gave the manufacturer or authorized repair dealership a reasonable opportunity to fix the defect or nonconformity.
What Defects Does California Lemon Law cover?
California’s lemon law covers material defects covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. A material defect is one that substantially impairs the use, safety, or value of a vehicle, including but not limited to:
- Engine trouble;
- Transmission problems;
- Software malfunctions;
- Bad brakes;
- Defective airbags;
- Electrical issues; and
- Steering defects
What Is A Dealership’s “Reasonable Opportunity To Repair?” When do I have a California lemon law claim?
To prove reasonable opportunity to repair, the California’s lemon law provides three guidelines:
- If you have a serious safety defect, you must show that the vehicle has been subject to examination or repair at least twice, but the defect continues to exist and is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven;
- For a nonconformity that is not a serious safety defect, you must show that it has been subject to examination or repair at least four times and continues to exist. You must also prove the nonconformity is a substantial impairment of the use, safety, or value of the vehicle. That means it renders the vehicle unfit, unreliable, or unsafe for warranted or normal use or significantly diminishes the value of the vehicle;
- For a vehicle that has been in repair for a lengthy period of time, you must show that it had been out of service by reason of repair for one or more non-conformities, for a cumulative total of 30 or more business days during the lemon law rights period, which ends 18 months after the date you received the vehicle, or once you have put the first 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever occurs first.
What To Do If You Believe You Have Purchased A Lemon In California
First, it is always a good idea to enlist the help of a knowledgeable California lemon law attorney, who can ensure that you understand the rights and options you have after discovering that you have been sold a lemon.
Second, you must make sure to take the vehicle in for repair each time the problem arises. Be sure that all examinations or repair attempts are documented, and keep all copies of your receipts and documents.
If the problem was not fixed within a reasonable number of attempts to repair, write to the manufacturer or dealer. This gives them a chance to make things right before you have to litigate, and it gives you more documentation in your files to present at a potential hearing.
Are There Any Time Limits Under California’s Lemon Law?
The repairs and notification to the manufacturer should happen within the lemon law rights period, which is within the term of the manufacturer’s warranty. Stated another way, you first need to be within the warranty period. Then the attempts to fix the problem with the vehicle must happen within the first 18 months of buying the vehicle, or within the first 18,000 miles driven.
Do I Need to Work With A Lemon Law Attorney?
No. You are not required to hire an attorney to help you with your lemon law claim. However, the help of an experienced California lemon law attorney is statistically a huge benefit. Working with a knowledgeable lemon law attorney is essential to recovering the most compensation for your defective vehicle.
When we purchase a vehicle, we expect it to be safe and dependable. So, we are understandably very frustrated when we discover that the vehicle we have paid our hard-earned money to acquire is defective. If this is what you are experiencing, you may want to file a breach of warranty claim with the help of an experienced California lemon law attorney.
Under both state and federal laws, you may be entitled to a replacement, a refund, or a fair settlement. However, you must first give the manufacturer or dealer a reasonable amount of time to repair the vehicle. However, if the problems persist after the manufacturer or dealer has made a reasonable number of attempts to fix them, filing a lawsuit may be the only way for you to remedy the situation.
A knowledgeable California lemon law attorney can let you know when it is best to file a lemon law claim. Your attorney can also help you understand what qualifies your vehicle as a lemon, as well as how many times you must allow the manufacturer or dealer to attempt to fix the problems with your vehicle before you can seek a remedy under state and federal lemon laws.
Ultimately, the law will determine what type of recovery you are entitled to receive, be that a replacement, a refund, or a settlement.
Why is hiring a Lemon Law Attorney Worthwhile?
- It is usually not a good idea to try to negotiate with an auto manufacturer or dealer on your own, unless you are very familiar with California lemon laws. Without the assistance of a knowledgeable lemon law attorney, it will be very difficult to get the liable dealer or manufacturer to compensate you fairly, if at all;
- Consumers are often made to believe they have to pay for the repairs to their vehicles, or that they must consent to unfavorable terms to resolve their issues. A skilled lemon law attorney will ensure that your rights are protected, and that you are compensated fairly for the defective vehicle you were sold;
- Lemon law cases can be very complicated. This is why many lawyers consider lemon law a completely separate area of law. Only an experienced California lemon law attorney will be able to build the best lemon law case on your behalf to present in court;
- Because so much effort must go into determining if a vehicle qualifies as a lemon under the law, negotiating a fair settlement, and/or arguing a lemon law case in court, lemon law attorneys create a huge advantage. A lawyer who specializes in California lemon law will give you the best chance to achieve the best results from your lemon law claim, and to maximize your recovery.
Advantages of Hiring a California Lemon Law Attorney
Here are some specific advantages of hiring an attorney who specializes in California lemon law cases to assist you with your claim:
- Your attorney can help you address any doubts you have regarding the legality of your lemon law claim. An experienced attorney will understand the nuances involved with determining if a vehicle is a lemon as defined under California’s lemon law;
- Most lemon law attorneys offer a free initial consultation, where they will thoroughly investigate your claim and evaluate the merits of your case before they accept it and move forward. Identifying each and every defect in your vehicle that renders it a lemon requires an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of state and federal lemon laws that may apply to your case;
- Our attorneys will have the ability to effectively negotiate and advocate on your behalf. If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements to be compensated for the defective vehicle you were sold, a skilled attorney will still find ways to get your vehicle replaced, your money reimbursed, or to negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf;
- Even if your vehicle’s warranty has expired, an experienced lemon law attorney may still be able to recover compensation for you. For example, we may be able to help you reach an agreement with the dealer or manufacturer that will provide you with some sort of settlement in good faith.
Why Hire Us?
We fight to win and have a track record that demonstrates that. We have successfully represented thousands of clients and recovered millions on their behalf in settlements and verdicts.
We are emotionally invested in your case. We understand that having a large investment turn out to be defective can be frustrating and overwhelming. We work hard to make the process less stressful and hold your hand through it. Pursuing a lemon law case is fraught with bureaucratic paperwork, and can be quite overwhelming for the average consumer. When you hire us to handle your lemon law case, you don’t have to worry about all of that, we handle the hard part for you.
We take care of the legal stuff. It will be our responsibility to make sure that you do not miss the statute of limitations for filing a lemon law claim in California, and that all other deadlines relevant to your case are met.
We don’t charge you a dime. When you hire our California lemon law attorneys to represent you, you won’t need to be concerned about how you will pay us. We get the auto manufacturers to pay our fees. You don’t pay any out of pocket expenses to have our top notch lemon law attorneys advocating for you.
Get the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free, no obligation consultation today. We will assess your situation, walk you through your process and answer every question you have.