- January 21, 2022
- Categories: Lemon Law
The lemon law statute in California has a great deal of authority. In fact, it is one of the most powerful lemon laws among all states in the nation. The purpose of the California Lemon Law is to provide legal recourse to consumers who’ve purchased defective vehicles and to protect consumers from aggressive and sometimes unethical vehicle sales tactics.
The California Lemon Law holds manufacturers liable for the quality of the vehicles they build and sell. While manufacturers do their best to design and produce vehicles that are stylish, functional and competitive, they sometimes inadvertently incorporate design, mechanical, or electrical flaws in the production process. When this happens, the California state legislature has made sure that consumers don’t get stuck holding the bag.
While our state has a very consumer-friendly lemon law that ensures your protection, there are still steps you must take before filing a lemon law claim. To find out more about your rights under the law, contact the California lemon law lawyers at Neale & Fhima at 888-407-2955.
Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act
Under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, if you purchase a defective vehicle, you are legally entitled to a refund, or the vehicle can be replaced at the manufacturer’s expense. However, you must prove that it’s a lemon according to legal guidelines. Some defects may not qualify for a lemon law claim. First, you must have made a reasonable number of attempts to have your vehicle repaired. If it turns out that you do have a lemon, you can either 1) have the manufacturer repurchase or replace your vehicle or 2) negotiate a cash settlement with the automaker.
The lawyers at Neale & Fhima can advise you about whether you’ve made the appropriate number of repair attempts to qualify for a lemon law claim. Our law firm has been exceedingly successful in bringing lemon law claims, and we know the law in great depth.
Is Your Vehicle a Lemon?
A “lemon” is a car, truck, utility vehicle, SUV, motorcycle, RV, travel trailer, or other vehicle type that is defective. Whether the problem started immediately when you drove the vehicle off the dealership lot or it began many months later or even years later, the defect is chronic, and mechanics can’t seem to fix it. From heater’s that don’t work to an engine that fails to start, there are many types of mechanical and electrical problems that can render a vehicle defective.
The Lemon Law in California states that your vehicle must have “nonconformities,” which are defined as any defect or malfunction that is covered by the manufacturer’s original warranty. Nonconformities significantly restrict the vehicle’s
- use, or
There are many defects that could affect the vehicle’s safety, but there is no requirement under the law that the defect actually endangers you.
Common defects that affect safety include:
- Engine issues
- Steering issues
- Poor acceleration
- Braking problems (not just squeaking)
- Fuel gauges and speedometer don’t work
- Electrical issues
- Battery dies regularly, or drains irregularly
- Door locks don’t work
- Transmission issues
Is There a Time Limit on Filing a California Lemon Law Claim?
Yes. The statute of limitations under California’s Lemon Law is four years. Generally, the sooner you file, the better. If you have purchased or leased a lemon, start collecting copies of your repair bills and call a California lemon law attorney right away. The longer you wait, the more frustrated you will become.
Which Lemon Law Remedy? The Choice is Yours.
A successful lemon law claim puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes time to select the form of compensation. Here are the two primary remedies:
Option A: Repurchase
The manufacturer will take possession of the vehicle and issue you a refund of the purchase price (reduced by the value of your use of the vehicle prior to the first repair attempt). If you financed the vehicle, the manufacturer will refund the payments, down payment, and pay off the loan. You will also receive a refund of registration fees, taxes, etc.
Option B: Replacement
The manufacturer will take possession of the vehicle and provide you with a new one. It must be an identical or substantially similar vehicle. The manufacturer will pay the registration and taxes on the new vehicle, but you will not receive a refund of fees or finance charges paid on the original vehicle. This option requires the consent of both parties.
In some circumstances, we may be able to negotiate an additional option called a “cash and keep.” This would allow you to retain possession of the vehicle and receive a cash payment to compensate for the defect.
Call Neale & Fhima Today to Learn More About the Lemon Law’s Authority
If you’re experiencing chronic repairs with your vehicle and suspect it has a defect, contact our lemon law attorneys today. We have locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dana Point, and San Diego. You can call 888-407-2955 to speak with us from anywhere in the state and learn more about the authority of the lemon law statute in California. We look forward to serving you.