Filing a Lemon Law Claim in CA: What You Need to Know
If you are having issues with your new or used car, truck or SUV, you may want to consider how to file a lemon law claim in California. If you have owned your vehicle for less than 18 months or driven it for less than 18,000 miles and discovered a problem with how it operates, you may be eligible. In the state of California you may be able to request a buyback of the remaining value of the vehicle or a full replacement, including any options or packages that are on yours.
However, there are several steps that must be followed in order to establish a legal basis for those remedies. Before you get started, know that the key components of a claim involve allowing the manufacturer or dealership the opportunity to fix the vehicle’s problems and to create a paper trail that will demonstrate the issues and the lack of resolution.
Dealership Repair: See If They Can Fix the Problem
While rare, it’s possible that a problem with a vehicle caused by a significant defect can be fixed. Sometimes a manufacturer will issue a recall and replacing a part or changing a certain system will resolve the issue. So, California lemon law requires that you give the car maker or the dealership at least one or two times to fix the problem.
The reason that the number is not set in stone is because defects vary. A mechanic may decide that the vehicle is unsafe to operate after just one inspection if it involves the suspension or engine, for example. On the other hand, an issue in the cargo bay may not be critical for safety and state law dictates that a dealership could have up to four chances to fix the malfunctioning part or come up with another solution.
Collect All Documentation for Your CA Lemon Law Claim
No matter how many visits you take to a dealership, always be sure to get a copy of the service center mechanic’s appraisal of the issue that they found, whether it is the same as the one that you reported and the repair that they attempted. Where possible, try to get documents that are time- or date-stamped so that you can keep track of exactly how long you were without your vehicle.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have a copy of the bill of sale and any warranty information that you were provided when you either purchased the vehicle or began the leasing process. When you combine those two sets of information, it begins the foundation of any potential lemon law claim.
If you have also racked up charges pertaining to transportation, or the lack thereof, you should also try to collect those records. This could include emailed receipts from rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft, hotel bills, towing fees, or anything along those lines. You may be able to receive compensation for those costs as well.
Hire a California Lemon law Lawyer
It can be hard to know the intricacies of the lemon law, and using the state arbitrators doesn’t put anyone on your side to get the maximum compensation for your defective vehicle and pain and suffering. In fact, the California lemon law attorney team at the Law Office of Jacob K. Kashani has faced car makers and new or used car dealerships that engage in deceptive practices, including:
- Non-Disclosure of Previous Accidents and/or Frame Damage – Vehicle history reports only include accidents or damage that is reported, for example by an insurance company. A shady dealership that inspects an incoming vehicle may not mention what is uncovered in an inspection.
- Non-Disclosure of Real Condition and Mileage Fraud – In addition to significant damage, you may have purchased a vehicle from a dealership where a mechanic changed the value of the odomter or didn’t disclose other information. This can significantly decrease the value of a vehicle.
- Non-Disclosure of Previous Rentals – Anyone who has rented a car or seen taxis and police cars knows that they are subject to hard usage. This can wear down many components more quickly than would be seen if they were used by someone who owned or leased the vehicle.
Just like with any defective vehicle that could qualify for lemon law protections, these types of omissions can drastically affect the value of your vehicle or make it hard to assess where defects came from. And these are just some of the practices that people who are trying to file a lemon law claim face.
In addition, even if you have collected the documentation listed above, a car maker may try to pay as little as possible. An experienced lemon law attorney will fight to get you the maximum compensation for car payments, taxes and fees as well as costs you faced while your vehicle was in the shop.
To learn more about how to protect your legal rights when you think your car is a lemon, contact the Law Office of Jacob K. Kashani today for a no-cost consultation. We’ll review your records and discuss your options to ensure that you can get back on the road safely and in a car that you can trust.