Have You Purchased a New Car and Now Have a Lemon Law Case?
Any vehicle sold with a warranty is guaranteed by the manufacturer to operate as promised when you drive it off the lot. With the California new car lemon law, you have legal protections in the case of defects. While there are certain conditions that need to be met, you may be able to receive compensation for the remaining value of the vehicle as well as costs you took on during the process.
Jacob Kashani is an experienced lemon law attorney who is dedicated to helping you squeeze every drop of justice out of your situation. With his mechanic and car sales background, he truly understands vehicle issues as to their pertinence to the law. With Jacob’s deep expertise, unwavering commitment to protecting your rights, and a track record of successfully recovering over 20 million dollars for clients, he is the right person to take on your case.
New Car Lemon Law Eligibility
The new car lemon law, as the name implies, applies to almost every new vehicle sold in the state, provided it meets a few eligibility criteria including:
- The vehicle is bought for home, personal or family use -or- by a business that uses less than five vehicles
- The vehicle has a gross weight rating of under 10,000 lbs. (this exempts some larger trucks but nearly every vehicle qualifies);
- The vehicle came (as nearly all must be) with an express warranty from the manufacturer; and
- You or a mechanic first discovered the defect within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles of ownership.
The last part is not a firm or hard rule, and it’s one reason you may want to consider seeking an experienced lemon law attorney in California. Most standard warranties are for two to six years for new vehicles and it can be impossible to detect a defect until something untoward happens.
Even if your vehicle doesn’t meet the criteria it is possible to receive compensation for the diminished value of the vehicle based on the number repairs of the vehicle.
Additionally, California’s lemon laws have civil penalty provisions. Those provisions allow owners to recover civil penalties of up to twice their actual damages if they can prove the manufacturer willfully violated the state’s lemon laws.
What are my Rights as a New Car Owner?
As a new car owner, you should not have to have numerous issues for years down the road. If you are encountering issues and you are not sure if your vehicle qualifies for any remedies, do not hesitate to call us. We will evaluate your case at no cost.
One of the primary remedies available under the California Lemon Law is a vehicle replacement. If your vehicle cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts within the warranty period, the manufacturer may be required to replace it with a comparable new vehicle. This replacement can be an identical make and model or a similar one that meets your needs.
In addition to a vehicle replacement, the Lemon Law also provides for a repurchase of the vehicle. This involves the manufacturer offering you a refund of what you have paid minus a reasonable offset for use in lieu of a vehicle replacement. It is important to note that you have the right to accept or reject a settlement offer, and you may choose to pursue other remedies if you believe they are more appropriate.
Civil penalties are another remedy available under the California Lemon Law. If the manufacturer willfully violates the Lemon Law, you may be entitled to civil penalties in addition to other remedies. These penalties can range from a few thousand dollars to significantly higher amounts, depending on the circumstances of the case.
It’s worth noting that in order to exercise your rights under the Lemon Law, you must generally provide the manufacturer with a reasonable number of repair attempts. The exact number of attempts required may vary depending on the nature of the defect and the potential safety hazards it poses. Additionally, it is important to keep accurate records of your repair attempts and any communication with the manufacturer or authorized dealerships, as this documentation will be crucial in establishing your case.
If you believe your new car may be a lemon, it is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Lemon Law cases such as the Law Office of Jacob K. Kashani. We can help you understand your rights, guide you through the process, and advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the appropriate remedies under the law. Remember, the Lemon Law is designed to protect consumers like you, and knowing and asserting your rights is essential to resolving the issues you are facing with your new car.
How Does a Car Qualify for the Lemon Law in California
There are two separate checklists to complete if you want to consider filing a claim under the California lemon law:
- Eligibility as noted above
- Providing the manufacturer the opportunity to fix the problem to your satisfaction.
In the case of any defect that does not present a risk of injury or death, the lemon law provides that you allow a dealership or other certified mechanic up to four opportunities to fix the problem before you can begin a claim. If the defect is more serious, two visits might suffice.
On the other hand, the law also suggests that if the vehicle needs to be in the shop for a cumulative of 30 days you may have a lemon law claim if it’s just one repair. These are guidelines, and you should consult with a legal professional to determine whether or not the facts of your potential case merit a claim.
The California New Car Lemon Law Statutes Presumptions
Options After Qualifying
You have two key options when you have established that you have a lemon law claim: you can opt for the manufacturer to provide you with a replacement vehicle that is substantially similar to the one you originally purchased, or you may opt for them to repurchase the vehicle with a cash offer.
Some people may work with a lemon law attorney even if they opt for a replacement vehicle. The consumer protection statutes provide for buyers to seek repayment of any charges that they faced as a result of their car, truck or SUV not working. These include, but are not limited to, towing fees, charges for taxis or ride shares and even hotels depending on where the breakdown occurs.
Fighting for repayment is one reason to consider an attorney with experience in the new car lemon law, but they can become especially important when you instead ask for the manufacturer to buy back the vehicle. There is a “mileage offset” that the car maker can subtract from the purchase price of the vehicle in their offer, and some have been known to be aggressive in their math so that they can pay as little as possible.
In either case, you will want to consider whether or not going through the state arbitration process adequately protects your interests and maximizes the damages that you can obtain from a car maker because of the defective vehicle.
How Does the California Lemon Law for a New Car Work?
Filing a lemon law claim in California involves several steps. Here is a general outline of the process:
- Determine if your car qualifies: The California Lemon Law applies to new or used vehicles that are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and have significant, unresolved defects that affect their safety, use, or value. Check if your car meets the specific criteria outlined in the law.
- Gather documentation: Collect all relevant documents related to your vehicle, such as purchase or lease agreements, repair records, warranty information, and any communication with the manufacturer or dealer regarding the defects.
- Notify the manufacturer: Before filing a legal claim, California law requires that you give the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to repair the vehicle. Send a written notice via certified mail to the manufacturer or its authorized representative, outlining the defects and requesting a repair or replacement within a specific timeframe.
- Consult an attorney: While not mandatory, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced lemon law attorney who can guide you through the process, evaluate your case, and represent your interests.
- Engage in dispute resolution: The manufacturer may offer a dispute resolution program, such as arbitration, to resolve the issue outside of court. Participating in this process is generally a prerequisite before pursuing a lawsuit. However, it’s important to note that the decision reached through arbitration is binding on the manufacturer but not on the consumer.
- File a lawsuit: If the manufacturer fails to resolve the issue or the arbitration process does not yield a satisfactory outcome, you can proceed with filing a lawsuit. Prepare the necessary legal documents, including a complaint that outlines the details of the defects and the manufacturer’s failure to address them adequately. File the lawsuit in the appropriate court and pay the required filing fees.
- Proceed with litigation: Once the lawsuit is filed, the legal process begins. The manufacturer will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint, and both parties will engage in discovery, which involves exchanging relevant documents and information. The case may proceed to settlement negotiations, alternative dispute resolution, or trial, depending on the circumstances.
- Obtain legal representation: Throughout the litigation process, it is advisable to have an attorney representing your interests. An experienced lemon law attorney can navigate the complexities of the legal system, gather evidence, negotiate with the manufacturer, and advocate for your rights.
- Trial or settlement: If the case proceeds to trial, the court will hear arguments and evidence from both sides, and a judge or jury will render a verdict. Alternatively, the parties may reach a settlement agreement at any stage of the litigation process, which can include compensation, vehicle replacement, or other appropriate remedies.
- Follow court orders or settlement terms: If the court orders the manufacturer to compensate you or provide a replacement vehicle, comply with the court’s instructions or settlement terms. Make sure to keep records of any further interactions with the manufacturer to ensure compliance.
Please note that this is a general overview of the lemon law process in California, and the specifics may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. It’s always recommended to consult with an attorney who specializes in lemon law to get personalized advice tailored to your situation.
What Should I Do If I Have a Lemon Vehicle?
If you suspect that you have a new lemon vehicle, it’s crucial to take immediate action to protect your rights as a consumer. The first step is to gather all relevant information and evidence regarding the issues you have encountered with your vehicle. This includes keeping a detailed record of the dates, times, and descriptions of each problem, as well as any repair attempts made by the manufacturer or authorized dealership. It’s also essential to retain copies of all documents related to the purchase or lease of the vehicle, such as contracts, warranties, and repair invoices.
Once you have compiled all the necessary information, it is advisable to consult with a lemon law attorney. Lemon laws in California are among the most robust in the United States, providing strong protection for consumers who have purchased or leased defective vehicles. An experienced lemon law attorney can guide you through the process, evaluate the strength of your case, and help you understand your legal options. They will assist in drafting a formal demand letter to the manufacturer, outlining your complaints and requesting either a replacement vehicle or a refund.
In addition to seeking legal assistance, it’s crucial to report your lemon vehicle to the appropriate state agencies. In California, you can file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the lemon law program. This step ensures that your case is on record and may provide additional support in your pursuit of a resolution. Remember to stay organized, remain persistent, and keep all communications and documentation related to your case in a secure location. By taking these proactive steps, you increase your chances of reaching a favorable outcome and obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Law Office of Jacob K. Kashani, A.P.C. and provide your sales or lease agreement along with your repair orders so we can evaluate your case. We will let you know the chances of a successful recovery and what amounts are reasonable to expect at no cost to you. Even if we win your case, the attorney’s fees and costs are paid by the manufacturer. If we are not successful you do not owe us any attorney’s fees and costs we have incurred.