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California’s Lemon Law is designed to protect consumers who purchase and lease defective vehicles. If you believe that you may be driving a lemon, learn about the steps that you need to take to assert your rights under California’s Lemon Law. If you’re wondering what to do if you have a lemon, we’ve got answers for you!

At Neale & Fhima, we regularly represent clients who have purchased or leased a lemon and who are fed up with the constant trips to the dealership and empty answers. We have a 99% success rate in lemon law cases. This includes taking many of the major auto manufacturers to trial. If you believe that you have purchased or leased a lemon in California, we can help you enforce your legal rights. We invite you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about your claim.

9 Steps to Prepare for Your California Lemon Law Claim

If you are trying to decide what to do if you have a lemon, here are nine steps to take to prepare for your California Lemon Law claim:

  1. Determine whether your vehicle is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty.
  2. Make sure that you have given the dealership a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem.
  3. Understand the options that are available for pursuing your Lemon Law claim.
  4. Learn about the remedies that are available for Lemon Law claims in California.
  5. Learn about the statutory deductions that may apply to your claim.
  6. Make sure that you do not run out of time to enforce your rights under California’s Lemon Law.
  7. Research California Lemon Law attorneys to represent you in your claim.
  8. Collect your records relating to your vehicle’s repair history for the defect.
  9. Schedule a free consultation.

Let’s explore these in greater detail:

1. DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR VEHICLE IS STILL UNDER THE MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY.

In order to pursue a claim under California’s Lemon Law, otherwise known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (Civ. Code, § 1793.2 et seq.), your vehicle must still be subject to the manufacturer’s warranty when the problem arises. Some manufacturers offer longer warranties than others, so you will want to make sure that you know when your warranty expires. If you are not sure, then we can help you interpret the terms of your warranty.

2. MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN THE DEALERSHIP A REASONABLE OPPORTUNITY TO FIX THE PROBLEM.

Under California’s Lemon Law, you must give the dealership a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem in order to be eligible to file a claim. What constitutes a “reasonable number of attempts” can vary, depending on the defect and the circumstances involved. There is no set number or formula.

3. UNDERSTAND THE OPTIONS THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURSUING YOUR LEMON LAW CLAIM.

Even if your manufacturer offers arbitration, arbitration is not the only option for pursuing your claim (nor is it the best). Most times, filing a lawsuit is the most effective way to resolve your Lemon Law claim.

4. LEARN ABOUT THE REMEDIES THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR LEMON LAW CLAIMS IN CALIFORNIA.

The two primary remedies that are available under California Lemon Law are …

  • Replacement of the defective vehicle
  • Repurchase of the defective vehicle.

However, during the claims process, it may be worthwhile to consider other options, as well. These can include additional repair attempts, reimbursement for towing and other expenses, an extended service contract, cash settlement, and a variety of other options.

5. LEARN ABOUT THE STATUTORY DEDUCTIONS THAT MAY APPLY TO YOUR CLAIM.

In certain circumstances, there are deductions that will apply when the dealership repurchases your vehicle. For example, if your vehicle has damage beyond ordinary wear and tear, this may diminish the amount of your repurchase award. In most cases, a mileage deduction will apply, as well. You will want to make sure that you clearly understand the applicable deductions so that you know how much you can expect to take home from your claim.

6. MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO NOT RUN OUT OF TIME TO ENFORCE YOUR RIGHTS UNDER CALIFORNIA’S LEMON LAW.

California’s Lemon Law has a four-year statute of limitations. But, despite the four-year limitation period, waiting to file your claims will almost certainly hurt your chances for success. To protect yourself, you should get started with your claim as soon as possible.

7. RESEARCH CALIFORNIA LEMON LAW ATTORNEYS TO REPRESENT YOU IN YOUR CLAIM.

When it comes to a California Lemon Law claim, you do not want to pick just any attorney out of the online listings. Lemon Law claims are unique, and you want an attorney who has years of experience handling your specific type of claim. Neale & Fhima has this experience, and we’re ready to guide you through the process.

8. COLLECT YOUR RECORDS RELATING TO YOUR VEHICLE’S REPAIR HISTORY FOR THE DEFECT.

As you prepare to file your claim, you will want to collect as many of your vehicle’s repair records as possible. You should also make copies of any notices that you sent to the manufacturer, and you should write down everything that you remember about your interactions with the dealership’s personnel. These could all be key evidence in support of your Lemon Law claim.

9. SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION.

Finally, you will want to talk with an attorney for a one-on-one consultation about your claim. The consultation at Neale & Fhima is free, and you’ll speak with our dedicated lemon law attorneys. Under California’s Lemon Law, the manufacturer can be forced to pay the claimant’s legal fees, and no experienced Lemon Law attorney should expect you to pay their fees.

What To Do If You Buy a Lemon Used Car

The good news is that the California lemon law also applies to some used vehicles. So, here’s what to do if you buy a lemon used car. First, check to see if you have one of the three following warranties:

  • Transferred New Car Warranty
  • Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
  • Lemon Law Buyback Warranty

You’ll need one of these three warranties to be sure at the outset that you have a claim. However, even if you don’t have one of these warranties, it’s still worth a phone call to Neale & Fhima to see if our skilled attorneys can create a way for you to build a successful case. We have decades of experience with thousands of lemon law cases, and we have an outstanding record of success. We know the intricate details of the law and can anticipate the moves of auto manufacturers, so we may be able to find a way to help your case qualify. Call us for a free initial consultation at 888-407-2955. What do you have to lose?

What To Do If You Have a Lemon That You Decide to Keep

In some rare circumstances, Neale & Fhima is able to negotiate a cash settlement for clients who decide to keep their lemon. These dollars are meant to offset the difficulties and damages you’ve incurred. The cash settlement option is rare, because most clients choose to get a replacement vehicle from the manufacturer or have the manufacturer buy back their lemon. But, on occasion, we have negotiated cash settlements for clients.

What Kinds of Vehicles Does the Lemon Law Cover?

California’s lemon law covers much more than passenger vehicles. It applies to:

  • Cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans.
  • Dealer-owned vehicles and demonstrators.
  • The chassis, chassis cab, and drive train of motor homes. After-market parts like van conversions are not covered.
  • Vehicles purchased or leased for family or household purposes.
  • Many vehicles purchased or leased for business use.

The Lemon Law does not cover:

  • Vehicles not registered under the California Vehicle Code by the DMV, such as ATVs and off-road vehicles.
  • Vehicles that have been abused by their owner.

Find Out More About Your Lemon Law Claim

The California Attorney General’s Office provides a great deal of information about car buyers’ rights and their options under the lemon law. There’s a lemon law Q&A and other resource materials. Los Angeles County government also provides background on the state’s lemon law.

Continue reading to get more tips about what to do if you buy a lemon car:

Contact a Southern California Lemon Law Attorney at Neale & Fhima

If you have questions about what to do if you have a lemon, we can help. Neale & Fhima has a 99% success rate in lemon law cases. We will go toe-to-toe with vehicle manufacturers and dealerships to get you the justice you deserve. We have an outstanding legal team, and testimonials from our satisfied clients are proof of our success. To get more information about enforcing your rights under California’s Lemon Law, contact Neale & Fhima today for a free consultation. To get started with your claim, call our California Lemon Law Lawyers at 888-407-2955 or submit our online consultation form today.

Attorney Aaron Fhima

Aaron Fhima is a trial attorney who has secured numerous settlements and verdicts against large corporations and some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world. Representing consumers and injury victims throughout the state of California, Aaron’s practice areas include personal injury, and lemon law litigation. Aaron has a long record of success taking on large defense firms; and he doesn’t hesitate to take cases to trial when necessary to enforce his clients’ rights. [ Attorney Bio ]