Of course, no matter how pleasant a community we live in, there are times when things go wrong with our vehicles and we need an Orange County lemon law attorney. In this county, as in any other, vehicle owners have new or used cars, trucks and SUVs with serious reliability problems. If that describes you, the Orange County lemon law attorneys at Neale & Fhima may be able to help you.
While we know it’s a headache to have a new car (or even a used car) that starts having problems as soon as you sign the purchase documents and drive it off the lot, don’t despair — the State of California might provide you with a legal remedy. All is not lost.
Because California has such strict lemon laws, California consumers are often more likely to file claims than in some other states because they anticipate chances are higher for a favorable outcome.
New Car Lemon Law Protections
The California lemon law is included in the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and, in part, is titled the Tanner Consumer Protection Act. It covers new motor vehicles, including a dealer-owned vehicle, the chassis cab of a motor home, SUVs, trucks, electric vehicles and other motor vehicles with a manufacturer’s new car warranty, as long as …
- It was bought for personal or family use, or
- It weighs less than 10,000 pounds and was bought for the use of a business.
Also, the vehicle must have been …
- Bought or leased at retail in California, or
- Purchased or leased by a full-time active-duty Armed Forces member residing or stationed in California at the time of the claim.
Your best bet is to talk to an Orange County lemon law attorney to find out whether your vehicle is covered and whether you can file a claim. Contact a lemon lawyer at Neale & Fhima at (949) 661-1007 for a free initial consultation about your situation.
Below is some important information about the California lemon law that you should know.
Used Car Warranties and Lemon Law Requirements in Orange County
Most lemon law claims involve new vehicles under the original factory warranty. But what about buying a used car ‘as is’? This means you are taking ownership of the vehicle without warranty or lemon law rights. The same is the case for buying vehicles that are covered only by the dealership’s extended service agreement. Note that only defects that are covered by a factory warranty qualify for lemon law benefits.
There are three types of factory warranties you may see on a used car:
- Transferred new car warranty. Every new car has a warranty extended by the manufacturer. When the title changes hands after you buy a used car with an extended warranty, the remaining coverage will transfer to you. But you should be aware that some auto manufacturers will put limits on what transfers. Kia is one example: This company gives extended powertrain warranty coverage only to the original owner; if the warranty has expired on the powertrain on your used car, you would not qualify for lemon law benefits.
- Certified, pre-owned warranty. These warranties cover used vehicles that were inspected, refurbished and resold by the vehicle manufacturer. The terms of the warranty are often less comprehensive than the factory warranty.
- Lemon law buyback warranty. A successful lemon law claim can get you a vehicle buyback. To reduce losses, the manufacturer will fix the car and then resell it to someone else in Orange County. To resell it legally, the manufacturer has to offer at least a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty.
The balance of the car’s factory warranty usually transfers to you when you buy the used car. But it is a mistake to assume that your used car with an in-effect warranty is covered by the lemon law. The lemon law applies only to cars that are bought retail. If you buy a car in a private transaction, you do not qualify for lemon law protection. However, if you made a private party purchase of a vehicle that is still under factory warranty, you should talk to Neale & Fhima. You may still be able to file a claim, IF the original owner is willing to cooperate. They may be willing to execute an assignment of their lemon law rights to you.
Also, note that an unexpired warranty on a used vehicle sold at retail does not guarantee that you can make a valid lemon law claim. The manufacturer may try to fight the claim by saying the defect was due to modifications or a collision. Talk to one of our attorneys immediately if you run into this problem.
Is Your New or Used Car Breaking Down Constantly? Call an Orange County Lemon Law Attorney.
Many motor vehicles in Orange County may be almost brand new, but they still suffer from frustrating reliability problems that can affect value, safety and use. If you are having trouble with your new car, rest assured that California has one of the toughest lemon laws in the country. You, the consumer, have rights. Talk to an Orange County lemon law attorney at Neale & Fhima today for a free case review. We take lemon law cases in most parts of California, including Orange County, so call today at (949) 661-1007.
When we win lemon law claims, they are paid by the dealer, not by the vehicle owner. You get a free consultation, too.
Why Do I Need an Orange County Lemon Law Attorney? Can’t I File the Claim Myself?
While anyone can file a claim, your chances of securing a favorable outcome increase significantly when an experienced lemon law attorney is working on your behalf. A skilled attorney knows how to gather the documents and evidence required, write and file a claim properly, and follow up promptly on all legal proceedings. You don’t need this headache. You’ve already got your hands full with a defective vehicle. Let an attorney handle the legal end of things.
We Help You Get a Refund or Replacement. You Pay Us Nothing.
Do I Have to Make an Attempt to Have the Vehicle Repaired?
Yes. California’s Lemon Law requires consumers to allow a dealership to try to repair the problem in a reasonable number of tries. Be sure to keep all receipts, paperwork, mechanics’ notes and used parts from each of your repair appointments. These will be vital evidence when you file a claim.
The state presumes a vehicle is a “lemon” if the following criteria are met within 18,000 miles on the odometer or 18 months, whichever is sooner:
- The manufacturer/dealer has made two or more attempts to repair a warranty defect that is likely to cause serious injury or death to a driver or passenger of the vehicle.
- The manufacturer/dealer has made four or more repeated attempts to repair an identical problem.
- The problems, covered by the warranty, are expected to significantly diminish the use, safety, function, valuation or enjoyment of the vehicle (not caused by driver abuse).
- The vehicle has been out of service 30 days or more (not necessarily consecutive) while one or several warranty problems are being repaired.
- The owner has to notify a manufacturer, preferably in writing, about the problems if required in the owner’s manual or warranty materials.
If all of the applicable criteria are met, the law presumes the vehicle is a lemon and a consumer is entitled to a replacement vehicle or refund of the purchase price. For a more detailed explanation of these requirements, contact a lemon law attorney at Neale & Fhima by calling (949) 661-1007 for a free initial consultation about your case.
An experienced Orange lemon law attorney can help you figure out the timing of a claim, but the general rule of thumb is “the sooner the better.” Granted, you must make the attempts to have your vehicle repaired as required by law, but don’t let a lemon linger. Sometimes it’s easier to hitch a ride or borrow a friend’s car if your lemon has broken down, yet again, and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of taking it in for repairs one more time. This reluctance is understandable. Who needs the frustration? However, don’t give in to these feelings of avoidance. The best way to deal with a lemon is head on.
What Is My Lemon Worth?
The value of your lemon, for the purposes of repurchase or replacement, is determined by the following formula:
- Divide the odometer reading (when you started bringing it in for repairs) by 120,000.
- Then multiply that number by the purchase price of your vehicle.
- That’s the replacement/repurchase value of the vehicle.
So, for example, if you paid $45,000 for your car and you started bringing it in for repairs at 15,000 miles, then the replacement/repurchase value of your lemon would be $39,375 (which represents a $5,625 reduction for the 15,000 miles of depreciation).
What Our Orange County Lemon Law Lawyer Enjoys About Our Community
If you live in Orange County, California, you know what a beautiful, breathtaking place it is. Whether it is the county’s lovely beach towns, exciting theme parks or luxury homes and yachts, this is one of the most iconic destinations in the state. Orange County now is the home of more than three million people, making it the third-most populated county in California. According to Niche.com, Orange County is the fifth-best place to live in the entire state.
Orange County is a car county, with hundreds of miles of highway and surface roads to get you from the beach to restaurants to parks. Without a vehicle, Orange County can be a difficult place to navigate, because there are no extensive and convenient public transportation systems that connect different areas to each other. That’s one reason owning or leasing a lemon is such a headache.
Contact an Orange County Lemon Lawyer Now
With a home as lovely as this, you shouldn’t be sidetracked from enjoying your days by the annoyances a lemon causes you. Call one of our Orange County lemon law lawyers at Neale & Fhima to discuss your claim. You’ll get a free consultation and if we win, the dealer pays the claim, not you. There’s nothing to lose. Call us at (949) 661-1007.