California Lemon Law New Car

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    California Lemon Law: New Car Claims

    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.

    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:

    1. The vehicle is bought for home, personal or family use -or- by a business that uses less than five vehicles
    2. The vehicle has a gross weight rating of under 10,000 lbs. (this exempts some larger trucks but nearly every vehicle qualifies);
    3. The vehicle came (as nearly all must be) with an express warranty from the manufacturer; and
    4. 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.

    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 as well as 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.

    California New Car Lemon Law FAQs

    Does lemon law only apply to new cars?

    California lemon law new car claims are the most common examples of consumers seeking protections under the Song-Beverly Act. However, they are also applicable to many kinds of pre-owned vehicles as well.

    When is a new car considered a lemon?

    You can seek a replacement or a buyback under the new car lemon law if your car has been in the shop for at least 30 days, OR has been in for repairs at least two times for serious defects and four times for other issues. This is true as long as you found out about the defect during the express warranty period.

    What Our Clients Are Saying!

    We have a proven track record winning California Lemon Law Cases. Look at what our clients have to say about our top-leading California new car lemon law attorney.

    Karla J. Chatsworth Lake Manor, CA

    My car was just purchased back by the Manufacturer! I am so appreciative of Jacob's experience and thankful to get a redo on a car that just kept going into the shop. He has been very responsive and quick responding to my questions throughout the process. I have a new car that's not breaking, thanks to Jacob! I am so happy, thanks a million!!

    Javier P. Los Angeles, CA

    Jacob and his team are awesome, they keep in contact with me all the time, during this process until I get my check from Ford.

    Patrick D. Torrance, CA

    I bought a Honda civic in 2016, and had problems with the A/C almost immediately. I brought it into Honda's repair shop numerous times, and each time, they would say that nothing was wrong with it. I finally decided to contact Jacob to see what could be done, and it was the best decision I could have made. Jacob was always quick to respond, whether it was through call, text, or email. He also broke everything down into layman's terms since I don't know much about cars or the lemon law process. Last and most importantly, he fought to get me the most out of my situation. In the end, Honda fixed my A/C problem AND they gave me a generous settlement (about 3x more than what I expected).

    Navid P. Los Angeles, CA

    My Mercedes kept having problems and had been in the service station several times. A few times I had to go get a rent-a car which made it hard to fit into my schedule going after work to pick it up and drop it off. After several times of having car problems I decided to call Jacob. Jacob was caring, understanding, extremely knowledgeable, and helped me get a settlement very quickly. He answered all my questions and was extremely helpful. He is the go to attorney if you find yourself in this type of situations. His assistants are also fantastic. Thank you.

    Claire T. Los Angeles, CA

    I bought a new Ford C-Max Energi in 2014. After 36k miles I needed a new transmission. Another attorney I know referred me to Jacob Kashani saying he was "excellent." I immediately contacted Jacob and he explained the Lemon Law process thoroughly. I rejected Ford's first offer of settlement because it wasn't a "buyback" under the Lemon Law Statute. Instead, I asked Jacob to go ahead and file a lawsuit against Ford. He had no problem doing as I requested and, after a few months, Ford did offer to buy back my car, pay off my loan and pay my attorney's fees. I am very pleased with Jacob's handling of my case and how quickly he resolved my case. I would recommend you call Jacob if you are having problems with a new or used vehicle still under the manufacturer's warranty. Don't wait or wonder if you have a case, call Jacob. Also, Jacob's assistant Lavisha is so helpful and pleasant to deal with!

    Sean A. Central LA, West Hollywood, CA

    Jacob Kashani is a knowledgeable, hard working and fierce attorney. I've called Jacob at least 6 times through the last 5 years and he's always had the right answers, as well as creative solutions whether it was pertaining to vehicles or even areas of law outside of his expertise. The three things you want in your attorney is knowledge, creativity, and hard work. Jacob has that!

    Contact a California New Car lemon law attorney for a free consultation

    Get in touch with the California new car lemon law attorney at the Law Office of Jacob K. Kashani today. We look forward to working with you to get the maximum compensation for the facts of your case merit.