How to negotiate with a car manufacturer or dealership for a Lemon Law settlement
If you believe that your new or CPO Vehicle may fall under the protection of the Lemon Law, you may be entitled to a settlement from the car manufacturer or dealership. Here are some steps to negotiate a settlement.
- Keep records. Keep detailed records of all the necessary documentation related to your vehicle and the repairs that have been attempted. This includes purchase agreement, repair orders, receipts, invoices, service records, warranty documents and any correspondence you’ve had with the dealership or manufacturer. This will help you demonstrate the number of times you have tried to fix the problems.
- Understand the California Lemon Law. This law (also known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act) provides protections for consumers who purchase or lease new or CPO Vehicles with significant defects. Under the law, if a vehicle has a defect that substantially impairs its use, value or safety, the manufacturer or dealership is required to offer a Lemon Law Buyback — to repair the vehicle, provide a replacement, or offer a refund.
- Communicate clearly. Communicate clearly and calmly with the car manufacturer or dealership. Explain the problems you have been experiencing with your car and the number of times you have tried to fix it. Let them know you believe your vehicle is a lemon and that you’re interested in a settlement. Be polite, but firm, and explain that you’re willing to negotiate in good faith. Also make sure you keep a record of all conversations you have with them.
- Seek legal representation. If you’re not confident in your ability to negotiate, or feel that you’re not getting anywhere with the dealership or manufacturer, consider consulting with an attorney with a proven track record dealing with this law. They can help you navigate the process, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that your rights are protected.
- Be willing to compromise. Be willing to negotiate a settlement that is fair and reasonable for both parties. This may involve a Lemon Law Buyback — accepting a replacement car, a refund, or other compensation. Be open to compromise and willing to negotiate until you reach a mutually acceptable settlement.
- Consider arbitration. If negotiations with the car manufacturer or dealership are unsuccessful, consider participating in an arbitration program. California’s Lemon Law arbitration program provides an impartial third-party mediator to help resolve disputes.
- Get the settlement in writing. Once you’ve reached a settlement, make sure you get it in writing. The settlement agreement should include all the terms of the settlement, including any payments, repairs, or replacements that will be made.
Negotiating for a Lemon Law settlement can be a complex and time-consuming process. California has specific requirements and limitations so it’s important to be patient, persistent and prepared throughout the process to increase your chances of reaching a successful settlement. Before you file a claim however, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced Lemon Law attorney in negotiations with the manufacturer about your case.
At Strategic Legal Practices (slpattorney.com), one of California’s premier litigators, our experts fully understand the ins and outs of Lemon Law claims. We work with and for you to take away any stress or worry and ensure that your rights are fully protected, resulting in you receiving the compensation you deserve.