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The Lemon Law Attorney’s Perspective: Insider Insights and Tips

The California lemon law clearly outlines automakers’ and dealers’ responsibilities to their customers. Unfortunately, these companies routinely refuse to honor these obligations and fight lemon law claims tooth and nail. If you’re going to pursue a claim against an automaker or dealer for a defective vehicle, be prepared for a long fight and take proper steps in advance. Here are a few tips from our seasoned California lemon law attorneys for a successful claim.

Know Your Rights

The California lemon law, formally called the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, says all consumer goods sold in the state (including cars) have certain implied warranties. These include implied warranties that cars will perform as promised and for their designed purpose, and that cars are of comparable quality to similar vehicles.

If your vehicle has repeated defects that you have repeatedly but unsuccessfully tried to have repaired, the lemon law says you can demand a refund or a replacement vehicle. However, there are some vital caveats to understand.

First, the most robust protections of the California lemon law apply to vehicles within the first 18 months of purchase or that have fewer than 18,000 miles driven, whichever comes first. That does not necessarily mean that older cars don’t have legal protections, only that you might have a more challenging time proving your case.

Second, the lemon law protections only apply to defects covered by the vehicle’s factory warranty. In other words, you don’t have legal protections for aftermarket parts or modifications. Finally, you must give the manufacturer or dealer a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix the defect. However, courts have ruled that the “reasonable” number of attempts may be as low as two in certain cases, so bear that in mind.

Document Everything

There’s one golden rule in California lemon law cases: Document everything, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Why is this so crucial, you ask? Well, in the lemon law arena, your paperwork is your best ally. Every time you take your car in for repairs, you’re collecting evidence. This evidence paints a clear picture of the problems you’re facing with your vehicle. But it’s not just about dates and repair shop visits. The severity and nature of the issues matter, too. Is your car making that strange noise again? Does it refuse to start on cold mornings? Write it down. These details matter because they show patterns.

Remember: In the legal world, it’s not just about what you know; it’s about what you can prove. And your meticulous records are the proof you need to win your case.

Understand the Repair Process

Familiarize yourself with the dealership’s repair process and your vehicle’s warranty terms. Knowing what repairs have been attempted, which parts were replaced, and the details of the dealership’s diagnostic findings can provide critical evidence for your claim.

Communicate Clearly with Dealerships

When you take your car in for repairs, be precise about the problems. Vague descriptions can lead to unresolved issues. Clear communication ensures that the technicians know exactly what to look for and fix.

Don’t Settle Too Quickly

Sometimes, manufacturers might offer a quick settlement that may not fully compensate you for your troubles. Be patient and consult an attorney to make sure any settlement offer you receive is fair and just.

Maintain a Positive Relationship with Your Dealer or Manufacturer

While it’s important to stand firm on your rights, maintaining a cordial relationship can facilitate smoother communication and potentially expedite your claim process.

Seek Professional Guidance

California lemon law claims can be complex. Consulting a law firm that routinely handles lemon law cases can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to navigate the process effectively.

Need Help with a California Lemon Law Case? Contact Us Today

The best step you can take to protect your rights in a California lemon law claim is to hire an attorney who understands these cases. The seasoned lemon law attorneys at The Lemon Firm know the ins and outs of these complex cases and can guide you toward a successful resolution. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

About the Author
Sepehr Daghighian is a partner with CCA that is well-versed in all aspects of lemon-law litigation. A 2005 graduate of Loyola Law School, Mr. Daghighian has been practicing litigation throughout the state of California for over 13-years. In this time, Mr. Daghighian has advocated on behalf of California consumers in hundreds of lemon law cases throughout our great state. Mr. Daghighian has also successfully tried numerous such cases to verdict in both Federal and State Court.