How to File a Lemon Law Claim in California.
A step-by-step guide to help ensure your rights.
If you have recently purchased a defective new or CPO Vehicle in California, you may be eligible to file a Lemon Law claim to seek compensation or a replacement vehicle. Here’s a step-by-step guide to filing a Lemon Law claim in California:
- Understand the Lemon Law.
California’s Lemon Law provides protection to consumers who purchase or lease new or CPO Vehicles that are still under the manufacturer’s warranty and have a defect that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle. If it cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the law requires the manufacturer to provide a Lemon Law Buyback of a replacement vehicle of equal or lesser value, or a full refund, often including expenses you may have incurred due to the defect.
- Keep all documentation.
Keep a record of all repair orders, receipts, and other documents related to the vehicle’s repairs. This will help you build a strong case when filing a Lemon Law claim.
- Give the manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to repair the problem.
Before you can file a claim, you must allow the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem. While there is no specific fixed number of attempts that must be met, “reasonable opportunity” typically equates to at least two attempts to fix the same problem, or four attempts to fix different problems that could cause serious injury or death.
- Notify the manufacturer in writing.
If the manufacturer has been given a reasonable opportunity to repair the problem and has not been successful, you must notify them in writing of the defect and give them a final opportunity to repair the vehicle.
- Hire a Lemon Law attorney.
If the manufacturer is still unable to fix the problem after a reasonable number of repair attempts, or if they do not respond to your written notice, you may proceed with further legal action, such as pursuing arbitration or filing a lawsuit, if necessary. The specific waiting period and steps to be followed may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, so it is advisable to consult with a California Lemon Law lawyer who can help you file a claim and negotiate with the manufacturer on your behalf.
- File a claim with the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
If you decide to file a claim on your own, you may submit a form to the Department of Consumer Affairs, which will then notify the manufacturer of the claim. You may request a refund, replacement vehicle, or other compensation from the manufacturer. Be sure to provide documentation of the vehicle’s defects and repair attempts, as well as any other relevant information.
- Wait for a response.
The manufacturer is expected to respond to a Lemon Law claim within a few weeks to a month, acknowledging receipt of the claim and indicating their intention to either resolve the claim or contest it. The manufacturer may request additional information or documentation to support the claim or may schedule an inspection or repair attempt. They may also offer a Lemon Law Buyback or a replacement of the vehicle as a resolution. If they do not, you may need to attend a Lemon Law hearing to present your case to a neutral third-party arbitrator.
It is important, however, to act quickly when filing a Lemon Law claim in California. The statute of limitations for filing a claim is generally 4 years from the date of purchase or lease, but it’s best to file as soon as possible to ensure the strongest case possible.
It’s also important to note that the California Lemon Law has specific requirements and limitations. Before you file a claim, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced Lemon Law attorney in negotiations with the manufacturer about your specific case.
At Strategic Legal Practices (slpattorney.com), one of California’s premier Lemon Law litigators, our Lemon Law experts fully understand the ins and outs of Lemon Law claims. We will work with and for you to take away any stress or worry and ensure that your rights are protected, and that you receive the compensation you deserve.