If you have a vehicle with serious reliability problems in California, you may be able to qualify for relief under the California Lemon Law. One of the options under the lemon law is that the manufacturer will buy back the vehicle because it has met the definition of a lemon under the law. This is known as a lemon law buyback.
A buyback usually consists of a refund of all funds that you put toward the purchase or lease of the car. It includes the down payment, all monthly payments you have made (including the finance and tax charges), and a part of your registration (prorated). The manufacturer will charge you a usage fee; this is the value of the time that you were driving that car when it was ‘free of trouble.’ The buyback also should include paying you back for consequential or incidental expenses that you had because of the lemon. These could include a rental car and towing costs. Also, the balance on your car loan is fully repaid.
When Is a Car Considered a Lemon in California?
In this state, your vehicle is considered a lemon if any of the following items happen in the first 18 months or 18k miles of the lease or purchase of your vehicle:
- 4+ attempts to repair the same problem
- 2+ attempts to repair a defect that can lead to injury or death
- Your car is not drivable for more than 30 days for any repairs.
In California, your car will be presumed to be a lemon if any of the above criteria are met. You would at that point be entitled to either a buyback or a replacement vehicle.
If the problems with the car occurred after 18k miles or 18 months, you might still have a lemon law claim. The lemon law gives you protection as long as the issues occurred during the factory warranty. In some situations, you still could get lemon law relief even if the car is outside the factory warranty period. You could have a claim if the first attempt to repair the vehicle occurred during the warranty.
The time period that it takes to resolve a lemon law case will vary. At Neale & Fhima, some lemon law cases can be resolved within three months, but others can take longer. To get as much recovery as possible, it is always beneficial to have your case reviewed by an experienced lemon law attorney.
Do You Have an Unreliable New or Used Car?
As lemon law attorneys in California, Neale & Fhima want you to remember that if you bought a new or used vehicle with major reliability problems, you could be entitled to compensation. The California Lemon Law protects you from owning highly unreliable cars, trucks and SUVs that still are under the original manufacturer’s warranty. Contact one of our lemon law attorneys in Southern California today if you have a new or used car under warranty with recurring, serious reliability problems.