When you buy a GMC vehicle and have nothing but problems with it that haven’t been able to be fixed after multiple attempts to do so, there are legal options available for you under California’s lemon law. The term originated from the slang “lemon” to describe defective or low-quality vehicles, and the purpose of the law is to protect consumers from the sale of defective goods or products. If you find yourself in such a situation, consulting with a defective vehicle lawyer can provide guidance on your rights and potential remedies.
California’s lemon law provides important protections to consumers, but they mean nothing unless you decide to assert your rights and know how to fight for them. Large car manufacturers such as GMC have deep pockets and have high-powered attorneys on their payroll working to fight claims and minimize settlements, so going up against them on your own can be difficult, and delaying can hamper your ability to bring a successful claim.
Fortunately, you can help level the playing field by getting help from an attorney experienced in lemon law who claims to fight for the settlement you deserve. At Neale & Fhima, our California lemon lawyers take on the major auto manufacturers to enforce lemon law rights on behalf of clients throughout Orange County, Riverside County, and across the state.
If you have been stymied trying to get your vehicle repaired and believe that you may have a lemon law claim, contact our offices for a free consultation to determine the best way to handle your case.
There are many attorneys in California, but it is important to find one with the lemon law experience, knowledge, and resources needed to win optimum compensation. Here are some reasons why we believe you should choose Neale & Fhima:
When a GMC vehicle is defective and hasn’t been able to be properly repaired, it is important to investigate and find out the best way to get the dealer to live up to its obligations, and build your case if issues cannot be satisfactorily resolved. When you retain Neale & Fhima, we immediately start working for you. We will:
We provide experienced and aggressive legal representation for lemon law claims throughout California, fighting for the compensation our clients deserve.
Under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, better known as California’s lemon law, individuals, and small businesses that purchase defective vehicles which cannot be repaired after a “reasonable” number of attempts are entitled to a refund of nearly all their money (down payment, monthly payments, etc.) or, if they choose, they can have their vehicle replaced at the expense of the manufacturer.
This is known as a “buyback” and applies to most new vehicles purchased or leased in California that are still under a manufacturer’s new-vehicle warranty. If there is coverage remaining on the warranty at the time of a subsequent sale, used vehicles may be covered as well. If you’re dealing with such issues, consulting a used car lawyer can provide clarity on your rights and options.
The law is favorable to consumers and creates a presumption in favor of the car owner if a certain number of repair attempts are made (or the vehicle is in the shop for a certain number of days) during the first 18 months or 18,000 miles. Just as one would consult a pedestrian accident lawyer for injuries while walking, it’s crucial to understand your rights regarding vehicle repairs. You may also have a claim if your vehicle was out of service for an aggregate period of 30 days or more or if you’ve lost confidence in the vehicle because of the problems. But you do not need to meet the presumption to have a lemon law claim, in fact most lemon law cases do not satisfy the presumption requirement above. You may have a claim if you presented your vehicle only 2 or 3 times for repair, and even if the repairs occurred after 18,000 miles or the first 18 months of ownership.
Some of the common issues that GM owners have complained about include:
Not every defect will qualify your car under the lemon law – you must be able to demonstrate a substantial impairment to use, value, or safety and have had at least one serious warranty issue and the defects must have been covered by the original factory warranty. Minor problems such as a glove compartment door that sticks, will not qualify.
Safety defects can include steering problems, ignition, exhaust and fuel system, brake, airbag, computer module, engine, transmission, seat belt, and wheel and tire defects. If you’ve been involved in an accident due to these defects, a distracted driving crash lawyer can also assist with cases where distractions played a part. These serious defects must typically be repaired in two or fewer attempts.
Other defects, such as air conditioning, power window and door locks, and audio/navigation system defects, also qualify and can trigger a lemon law claim.
Before filing a lemon law claim, you must make a reasonable number of attempts to get the defect fixed, and you should save all your work orders, receipts, and spare parts from your repair appointments so you can prove you tried to find a solution.
If your vehicle has a recurring mechanical problem, you have been to the dealership several times, and they do not know what to do to repair the vehicle properly, GMC must offer a “lemon law buyback.”
There is a method to determine the value of your GMC lemon for buyback for purposes of replacement or repurchase. The amount you receive for your vehicle is subject to a reduction for how much you have used the vehicle prior to the first repair visit for the defect. According to a formula, the number of miles driven prior to the first repair visit, is by dividing the odometer reading when you brought it in for repair by 120,000, then multiplying it by the purchase price.
For example, if your vehicle cost $30,000 when you bought it, and you started bringing it in for repairs at 12,000 miles, your lemon law award would be reduced by $3,000, and your buyback amount would be $27,000.
In addition, the California lemon law allows you to recover attorneys’ fees and legal expenses related to your lemon law claim from your settlement with GMC as well as possible civil penalties when it’s proven that there were willful violations of the lemon law, which can equal up to a maximum of twice the price of your vehicle.
When your car is a lemon, chances are you have many questions. Most can be answered at your free initial consultation, but to get started, here are some answers to questions our lemon law attorney is often asked:
What is the average California lemon law settlement?
There is no average settlement, as settlements may vary greatly based on the individual circumstances of the case and factors such as the car’s make and model, as well as its age, purchase price, and mileage.
How long does a California lemon law case take to settle?
How long a case takes to settle depends on the circumstances. If everything is clear and an agreement can be reached, a lemon law claim can be resolved within 30 days, typically taking three to six months or even longer if manufacturers refuse to repurchase or replace a lemon vehicle.
Are there time limits to filing a lemon law case in California?
Yes, California’s lemon law has a four-year statute of limitations, a claim must be brought 4 years from the date you know the vehicle was a “lemon” or should have known it was a “lemon.”
What are the guidelines in the California lemon law for used cars?
Lemon law claims can field for used cars as well, however, generally the vehicle must be sold with a Certified Preowned Warranty (CPO) to qualify, but not always. Give us a call to discuss and find out if your used car qualifies.
When you have the Neale & Fhima legal team working for you, we will be there to answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the entire legal process.
If you are dealing with a defective vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation under California’s lemon law, which provides a number of legal remedies to consumers. However, each case is different, so let the experienced legal team at Neale & Fhima determine whether or not your vehicle qualifies as a lemon under the law.
Call us now for a free initial consultation so we can get started fighting to make sure GMC provides the fair compensation you deserve.
Get help now! Call 888-407-2955.