Picture this: You’re driving home on a rainy day. You’ve just picked up the kids from school, the milk has been sitting in your trunk for almost an hour, and you’re ready to have some dinner before going to bed.
But just as the red light turns green, you suddenly hear a weird noise that always sounds like trouble. Next thing you know, you’re sitting by the side of the road and watching the minutes go by while you wait for the tow truck. Again.
What is lemon law? And can it give you another option besides putting up with an unreliable car?
We’re about to fill you in on the basics of California lemon law, so keep reading.
What Is the Lemon Law in California?
When you hear people talking about lemon law in California, they’re talking about what’s legally referred to as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. Under this piece of legislation, consumer goods manufacturers are required to repair problematic goods within a reasonable amount of tries and within 30 days. In addition, they’re also required to have accessible repair facilities in California.
If it’s not possible to make the repairs, the manufacturer will be required to either refund or replace the product and will also have to pay the cost of legal fees. For the purposes of this legislation, cars are considered a type of “consumer good”.
Do You Have a Claim for Your Used Car?
The short answer to this question is “maybe”.
Although most people would expect lemons laws to come with a laundry list of requirements for cars, that isn’t actually the case. The law can apply to new, used, or leased vehicles. And even if you’ve had the misfortune of getting into a fender bender on your way back to the dealership, you may still have a claim assuming that the damage isn’t the result of reckless driving.
The threshold for a lemon law presumption is if your car is breaking down with less than 18,000 miles driven or within 18 months of your purchase date.
However, even if your vehicle doesn’t quite meet that threshold, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a claim. Even though warranties can make things a little bit more complicated, as long as you’re within the manufacturer warranty or the dealership warranty, you may have a lemon law claim.
So if you’ve been finding that your new vehicle has all the hallmarks of a beater that’s in the process of breaking down before its time, you may still be able to file a claim that will force the manufacturer to either give you a refund or replace your car.
If the manufacturer opts to give you a refund, the returned sum will include expenses, legal fees, registration fees, taxes, and down payment amounts.
To put things bluntly, if you’ve been finding that your new vehicle has all the hallmarks of a beater that’s in the process of breaking down before its time, you could still be able to file a claim that will force the manufacturer to either give you a refund or replace your car. And when you just want a car that works, a lemon law claim could be the solution that you’ve been waiting for.
What Can You Do to Help Your Case?
If you suspect that you’ve been sold a lemon, there are a few things you can do to keep the process moving smoothly. For starters, you can get your repair records from a certified technician.
And for another, you can make sure that you go to either a manufacturer-certified mechanic or the dealership to get your repairs done. However, besides keeping track of your documentation and filing in a timely fashion, the most important thing you can do for your claim is to consult with a lemon law lawyer as quickly as possible.
An experienced attorney can assess the finer details of your case and will be able to tell you what you must do to give yourself the best chance of succeeding in your claim.
Should You Hire a Lemon Law Attorney?
At the end of the day, all of the major car manufacturers have in-house legal teams and high-powered firms on retainer who know the ins and outs of the law and who are prepared to use every loophole at their disposal to prevent you from succeeding in your claim. They may ask you to sign waivers. They might play hardball during the negotiations. And if you make the wrong move, you could lose your case.
If you think that your used car may be a lemon, the sooner you can retain legal counsel, the better. The car manufacturing company won’t be sparing any legal expense. So it’s important that you also have legal experience on your side of the negotiating table. To find out more about new and used car lemon law, you can learn more from Kimmel & Silverman.
Thanks to Lemon Law, You Might Have More Rights Than You Think
When your car is what’s known as “reliably unreliable” and your car dealer can’t seem to make headway on the problem, it can be tempting to just deal with it until you can buy another vehicle.
Lemon law makes it possible for Californians to get the compensation they deserve if they’ve been sold a faulty vehicle. If you’re within the warranty period of your dealer or your manufacturer, you could have a claim.
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