California Lemon Law Refund/Buyback Calculator

The state of California has one of the best consumer protection laws to safeguard you when you have bought or leased a defective vehicle. A successful lemon law claim will often result in a vehicle “buyback,” a manufacturer refunds you for what you’ve invested so far into your car.

However, as you’d expect, the calculations of your refund are a bit more complicated than the exact dollars you’ve spent. Manufacturers apply deductions to the refund based on a specific Lemon Law refund/buyback formula.

Some of the factors that determine your refund are:

  • Monthly payments
  • Down payment amount
  • Vehicle Financing
  • License & Registration Fees
  • Taxes
  • Balance of the Loan
  • Manufacturer installed options
  • Service contract
  • Rental Car or rideshare expenses

What’s NOT included in the buyback:

  • Optional non-manufacturer vehicle upgrades

Some of the deductions the manufacturer will seek:

  • Mileage offset (see calculation below)
  • Late charges or penalties incurred

Manufacturers will often try to extend the date in which the defect first became apparent so that the mileage offset is in their favor. Ultimately, they will fight to pay you less money. This is where we shine. We will not let the teams of manufacturer lawyers bully you into accepting less than you deserve. Schedule a quick no-obligation consultation with one of our Lemon Law attorneys today.

California’s Lemon Law Refund/Buyback Formula

California has a specific formula that manufacturers must use to determine the mileage deduction for the buyback. The formula is the miles you have driven the vehicle before the first repair attempt, divided by 120,000 (California’s determined average for the lifespan of a vehicle) multiplied by the cash price of the vehicle.

Written more simply:

(Miles driven / 120,000) x (purchase price of vehicle) = $mileage offset

Here’s an example:

You purchased your vehicle for $30,000 and drove it around for 7,000 miles before taking it in for the first repair attempt.

This is how you calculate the usage fee

(7,000/120,000) x (30,000) = $1750

In this example, your mileage offset amount would be $1750 which would be deducted from your buyback payout. For the car alone, your buyback amount would be $28,250.

The toughest battle in a lemon law claim is convincing the manufacturer that your vehicle in fact qualifies as a lemon and therefore you are entitled to a buyback. The second toughest battle is determining the mileage offset. The manufacturer will fight tooth and nail to argue earlier repairs are not related to the major defect which qualifies your vehicle as a lemon. We fight them every step of the way and protect as much of your vehicle buyback refund as possible.

Now what?

You now have a better understanding of how the buyback refund is calculated, your next step is to document and gather evidence that will support your lemon law claim. Receipts that show repair costs, rentals, rideshare spend as well as any additional costs you incurred while dealing with your defective vehicle will help you increase your buyback amount and build a successful claim. We can help you do that. Schedule a free consultation with our lemon law attorneys today.

How much does it cost to hire a California Lemon Law attorney?

The California Lemon Law is among the best consumer protection laws in the nation. Our legal representation for you is paid for by the manufacturer. We only get paid if we win and the manufacturer is the one who foots the bill. The manufacturer is required to pay our legal fees and any associated court costs. We get it, everyone is afraid of working with attorneys because of expensive legal fees. This is one of the few times where you don’t need to worry about that. With no out-of-pocket expenses for you, hiring a lemon law attorney to help you build your case and negotiate with the auto manufacturer giants is a no-brainer. There is no downside to having free, experienced legal advocates by your side.



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