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California Lemon Law Attorney Advocating for Consumer Protection

Do You Have a California Lemon Law Claim? Find Out for Free

If you have made a reasonable number of attempts to get your vehicle fixed under warranty and it still isn’t working properly, you may qualify for a refund, replacement or cash settlement under California’s Lemon Law. Even with today’s modern vehicles, these types of issues remain common, and many vehicle owners and lessees find themselves needing to assert their Lemon Law rights. We focus our practice on helping California residents obtain refunds, replacement vehicles, and cash settlements under California’s Lemon Law. We have helped numerous vehicle owners and lessees statewide, and we have successfully handled claims against all major vehicle manufacturers. If you purchased or leased a lemon, a California Lemon Law lawyer can help, and we encourage you to contact us 24/7 for a free consultation.

California Lemon Law Overview

California’s Lemon Law, also known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, exists for the sole purpose of protecting California residents who purchase defective vehicles. It applies to new vehicles and CPO Vehicles that are under factory warranty, whether purchased or leased.

Dealing with constant vehicle repairs can be frustrating. But, not every frustrating issue makes a vehicle a lemon. Your vehicle must meet one of several specific requirements (discussed below), and you must still have time to assert your rights under California’s Lemon Law. However, many issues qualify for legal protection, and you should contact a California Lemon Law attorney if you have any questions or concerns about a major or recurring issue with your vehicle.

When is a Vehicle Considered a Lemon in California?

So, when is a vehicle considered a “lemon” in California? 

First, to be considered a lemon, your vehicle (whether purchased or leased) must still be under warranty when you seek to have it repaired. This can be any type of factory or manufacturer warranty—such as a powertrain warranty or a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty, but dealership “extended warranties” are typically excluded.

Second, your vehicle must meet the “lemon law presumption.” This is a set of four conditions that establish your eligibility for a refund, replacement, or cash settlement under California’s Lemon Law. Your vehicle satisfies the lemon law presumption if:

  1. The issue with your vehicle is covered under the factory or manufacturer warranty;
  2. The issue impairs your ability to use your vehicle, reduces the safety of your vehicle, or reduces your vehicle’s value;
  3. The issue first occurred within 18 months of delivery or the vehicle’s first 18,000 miles of use (although you could still have a claim if the issue first occurred later); and,
  4. You have notified the manufacturer about the issue if required under the terms of your warranty or your vehicle’s owner’s manual).

Third, you must be able to demonstrate you have made a “reasonable” number of attempts to get your vehicle repaired. California’s Lemon Law does not establish a specific number of repairs that meets this requirement but instead identifies several different scenarios in which a claim may be warranted. These scenarios include:

  • Your vehicle has been at the dealership for repairs for 30 or more days during the first 18 months or 18,000 miles;
  • The dealer was unable to repair a severe safety issue after two or more attempts; or.
  • The dealer was unable to repair any other issue after four or more attempts.

These are not the only possibilities. You can have a California Lemon Law claim under other circumstances as well. Ultimately, each claim is judged on a case-by-case basis, and you will need to speak with a California Lemon Law lawyer to determine if your vehicle’s issue qualifies.

How Does California’s Lemon Law Work?

California’s Lemon Law works by requiring vehicle manufacturers to refund, replace or pay a cash settlement to a vehicle owner or lessee who meets the law’s requirements. Compliance is mandatory, and vehicle manufacturers cannot avoid liability under the law by inserting disclaimers into their purchase or lease contracts.

Even so, filing a successful claim under California’s Lemon Law can still be challenging. As a result, it is essential to hire an experienced California Lemon Law attorney to represent you. Here is an overview of what you can expect when you choose Strategic Legal Practices for your California Lemon Law claim:

1. We Will Determine Your Eligibility to File a Claim

When you contact us, a California Lemon Law lawyer will carefully review your purchase or lease agreement and your vehicle’s repair history to determine if you are eligible to file a claim. If you have all the necessary information, we can most likely do this during your free initial consultation. If we need any additional information, we will follow up with you as necessary until we can provide a clear and comprehensive assessment of your legal rights.

2. We Will Submit a Demand to Your Vehicle’s  Manufacturer

If you have a claim under California’s Lemon Law, our next step will be to file a demand with your vehicle’s manufacturer. This will be a formal written letter in which we outline your vehicle’s purchase (or lease) and service history, explain your rights under the law, and demand your preferred remedy (i.e., refund, replacement, or cash settlement). We will follow up to ensure the manufacturer receives your demand, and we will remain in contact with you as we deal with the manufacturer on your behalf.

3. We Will Pursue Your Demand and Negotiate if Warranted

There are several different ways a claim can go. In some cases, manufacturers will accept liability and provide the relief requested. This outcome is relatively rare. In others, they will accept liability but dispute the claimed remedy. In others still, they will argue that they are not liable under California’s Lemon Law. Regardless of how your vehicle’s manufacturer responds to your demand, we will aggressively pursue your right to a remedy, and, if warranted, we will negotiate for a settlement that provides adequate compensation for the costs and frustration you have endured.

4. We Will Take Your Claim to Arbitration or Court if Necessary

In a relatively small percentage of cases, it will be necessary to go to arbitration or court to secure an appropriate remedy under California’s Lemon Law. As a purchaser or lessee, you get to choose which option to pursue.

Arbitration is typically much faster, and there are fewer costs involved. Additionally, if you disagree with the arbitrator’s decision, you can still take your claim to court. However, it can still make sense to go directly to court in some cases. For example, if your vehicle’s manufacturer refuses to meet your demand or negotiate a fair settlement, we will help you make an informed decision about what to do next.

5. We Will Help You Obtain Your Award

Finally, if your claim is successful, we will help you obtain your award. Depending on the remedy you chose, this may involve returning your vehicle for a refund or replacement and completing the necessary paperwork at the dealership, or it may involve signing a settlement agreement and accepting a check. Our team will walk you through the process, and then you will be able to put your frustrations behind you.

Do You Qualify to File a Lemon Law Claim in California?

There are two main requirements you need to meet to file a lemon law claim in California. You may qualify for a refund, replacement vehicle, or cash settlement under California’s Lemon Law if:

  • You purchased or leased a covered vehicle. Covered vehicles include cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, vans, and motorhomes. Both new and CPO Vehicles can qualify—as long as they are still covered under a factory or manufacturer’s warranty. California’s Lemon Law covers vehicles purchased or leased for personal or family use, as well as many vehicles purchased or leased for business purposes. Vehicles that are not covered under California’s Lemon Law include non-registered vehicles (i.e., off-road vehicles) and vehicles that have been abused.
  • Your covered vehicle is considered a lemon. Your vehicle must be considered a lemon. This is determined based on the factors we outlined above. Your vehicle must meet the lemon law presumption, and you must be able to demonstrate that you gave the dealership a reasonable number of opportunities to remedy the issue.

If you meet both of these requirements, then you qualify for lemon law protection in California. A California Lemon Law lawyer can help you, and we encourage you to contact us promptly so we can prepare your demand.

How Much Does it Cost to File a California Lemon Law Claim?

In California Lemon Law cases, we can bill our lawyers’ fees and the costs of pursuing a claim to the vehicle’s manufacturer. As a result, it costs you nothing to engage our firm for your case.

Talk to a California Lemon Law Attorney for Free

Do you have a lemon law claim? To find out, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Strategic Legal Practices. A California Lemon Law lawyer from our firm works with clients all over California, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Clara, Orange County, San Francisco, and Alameda. You can reach us by phone or online 24/7, so call 888-757-5366 or request an appointment now