California Lemon Law
     Your California Lemon Law Rights


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If you live in California, and purchased or leased a new vehicle (or used vehicle under factory warranty) from a California dealership and ended up with a “lemon”, you have rights

The California state lemon law provides California consumers with specific rights (remedies) if the consumer ends up with a defective vehicle that is subject to repeated repair attempts, or spends too many cumulative days in the dealer’s workshop.

The California Lemon Law statute provides for specific remedies in California Lemon Law cases. These include a vehicle repurchase, wherein the consumer receives a refund of the monies they have invested towards purchasing or leasing the “lemon” vehicle, plus a payoff of the existing loan or lease. An automobile manufacturer may also (or in lieu of) a repurchase offer a new replacement vehicle. Replacement vehicle settlements involve an “exchange of collateral”, meaning the current loan/lease stays in place, with the consumer continuing to make the same loan or lease payment, but on a new replacement vehicle.

The California Lemon Law invokes a “mileage offset” or “usage fee” based upon the vehicles odometer reading on the first documented repair visit for the repeated problem that makes the vehicle a “lemon” under the California Lemon Law state statute. In essence, the California consumer pays for the number of miles driven from “day-one” to “first repair” based upon a formula that sets the life-span of the vehicle at 120,000 miles. This is much like a “pro-rata”, with the consumer paying only for the trouble-free miles of use, without paying for the problem miles. If the vehicle is a repurchase, the amount is deducted from the consumers refund. If the vehicle is a new vehicle replacement exchange, then the consumer pays the manufacturer for the “mileage offset”.

Your California Lemon Law rights are divided up into two categories. The first category is the “presumption” category. Our lemon law “presumes” the vehicle to be a “lemon” if it has met specific criteria within a period of 18 months or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first. The criteria is either: 4 repair attempts for a problem that “substantially impairs the use, value or safety to the buyer”, or if the vehicle has spent a cumulative total of over 30 days in the dealers shop for problem(s) that “substantially impairs the use, value or safety to the buyer”. There is also a special provision in the California Lemon Law that allows for only 2 repair attempts for a defect “that is likely to result in serious injury or death”. The second category is the “warranty period”. Automobile manufacturer’s have “bumper-to-bumper” warranties, and quite often extended “power-train” warranties. Manufacturer-based “Certified Pre-Owned” vehicles have their own special warranties. Your California Lemon Law rights allow you to file a lemon law claim anytime during the manufacturer’s entire warranty period. To have a valid lemon law case during the “warranty period”, there must have been an unreasonable number of repair attempts for a problem that “substantially impaired the use value, or safety of the vehicle to the buyer”. The number of repair attempts is relative the how many months the vehicle has been in service, and the number of miles the vehicle has been driven. Other factors can contribute and/or decide a lemon law claim. Your lemon law attorney is best equipped to evaluate your vehicle’s repair history and make a determination of California lemon law applicability.

Does the automobile manufacturer have rights in a California Lemon Law claim? – Yes. If the vehicle is being taken back under the California Lemon Law, then the vehicle must be returned in cosmetically undamaged condition, beyond normal wear and tear. Also, the manufacturer does not reimburse for dealer or consumer added non-factory options or accessories, whether purchased/installed by dealer, or consumer.

What are the consumer’s lemon law rights when trying to resolve their lemon vehicle problems with the dealer? – this is the wrong party! Under the California Lemon Law statute, the vehicle manufacturer is the responsible party under the law, not the dealer. The new car dealer’s role is simply that of the “warranty repair facilitator” – meaning, they are simply the warranty repair station. 

Do manufacturer’s toll-free “customer assistance centers” preserve or invoke a consumers right to lemon law repurchase protection? – Usually no. Consumers, in good faith, call manufacturer’s “customer assistance centers” on toll-free numbers in an effort to get their vehicle repurchased or replaced, and are typically given a “case number”. Consumers should not be blind-sighted into thinking this is a lemon law case – it is not. It is simply a “reference number” for the “customer assistance center” to look up that customer the next time they call in to complain about their vehicle.

What about “arbitration” as it applies to your lemon law rights in California? Simply stated, there is no requirement for a consumer to pursue arbitration pursue their lemon law rights. Consumers in California can go directly to a lemon law attorney for representation in their case.

Your lemon law rights must be preserved, as well as utilized. That’s where we come in. We are California’s largest statewide lemon law firm. We have settled over 8,000 California lemon law cases. We have 20 years experience. We only pursue lemon law cases – no other area of legal practice. We are the lemon law experts. 

Recently California has been inundated with out-of-state law firms that have set up “lemon law practices” in California. They have little/limited experience with our California Lemon Law – in some cases as little as 6 months! These firms can be easily identified by their websites giving choices of multiple states. Be assured that our law firm is California-based for 20 years. All of our attorneys and offices are home-based in California. 

What are a California consumers lemon law rights in regards to Attorneys fees? Our California lemon law statute provides for the automobile manufacturer to pay both attorneys fees and costs. This is vitally important to the California consumer, and makes legal representation a reality.

Exercise your California Lemon Law rights. Call us today for a free same-day lemon law case evaluation and review by our experienced team of attorneys. You will receive a level of professionalism and personalized service second-to-none.

Your California Lemon Law Rights
Presented by
California Lemon Law Attorneys

The Law Offices of William R. McGee
California's Largest Lemon Law FirmSM

1-877-355-4666   1-877-EL-LIMON

16855 West Bernardo Drive. 3rd Floor, San Diego, CA. 92127
Copyright © 2006 

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