The California Lemon Law, also known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, provides protection for consumers who have purchased or leased a vehicle that has a defect or condition that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety. If you suspect your vehicle is a lemon, you should know the ins and outs of the California law and the best ways to present a successful claim. In this article, we will provide you with the 5 most important tips for a successful California Lemon Law claim.
No. 1: Present your vehicle for repairs to an authorized manufacturer dealership
Taking your vehicle in for repairs is necessary to document the issues and repair attempts you have made to fix it. The lemon law requires that a consumer provide the manufacturer with a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defect or condition. Under California law, a reasonable number of repair attempts depends on the nature and frequency of the defects. Typically, this is satisfied with two or more attempts to repair a substantial safety defect or condition, or four or more attempts to repair other defects.
No. 2: Make sure your repair orders accurately reflect your complaints
It is important that the repair orders accurately reflect your complaints because these documents are the primary evidence used to prove that the manufacturer was notified of the problem and given the opportunity to fix it. Repair orders are written documentation of the complaints made by the consumer, the diagnosis of the problem, and the repairs performed to the vehicle. Inaccurate or incomplete repair orders may create confusion or uncertainty about the issue and may make it more difficult to prove that the manufacturer knew about the problem and had the opportunity to fix it.
No. 3: Keep copies of all your documents
Keeping records of all repair orders and interactions with the manufacturer or dealership is important, including purchase contract or lease agreement, repair orders, receipts for incidental expenses related to the lemon. This documentation will be used as evidence in a lemon law claim to support your case and demonstrate that you gave the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to repair the issue. This includes dates of service, details of the repairs performed, and any communication with the manufacturer or dealership, such as phone or email records and the like.
No. 4: File your lemon law claim sooner than later
You should start your lemon law claim soon after taking it in for repeat repair attempts. The sooner you start your lemon law claim, the better your chances of getting a more favorable result. The California Lemon Law statute of limitations is four years from when you knew or should have know that the defect could not be repaired. Because the starting point of the lemon law statute of limitations is not straightforward, this leaves room for error. Thus, you should start your lemon law claim sooner than later.
No. 5: Hire an experienced lemon law attorney
Hiring a reputable Lemon Law attorney is important for a lemon law case because they have a thorough understanding of the law and can advise you at every step of the lemon law process. An attorney can evaluate your case and determine whether you have a valid claim under the California Lemon Law. They can also help you navigate the legal process and represent you in court if and when necessary. A great lawyer will have the skills necessary to maximize your claim.
An attorney will be able to help you gather evidence to support your claim, including repair orders and other documentation, and can use this evidence to negotiate a settlement with the manufacturer. They can also help you understand your rights and obligations under the law and can advise you on the best way to approach the manufacturer.
Additionally, an experienced lemon law attorney may also be able to negotiate a better settlement than you might be able to achieve on your own. They will be able to use their knowledge and experience to obtain the best possible result for you, as well as handle the legal proceedings, court appearances, and any necessary negotiations on your behalf. Most lemon law attorneys in California work on a contingency basis, meaning that they do not get paid unless they win or settle your case.
If you believe you have a lemon, do not hesitate to take action and seek the help of an experienced Lemon Law attorney. The lemon law process can be confusing, but with the right approach and the right help, you can get the compensation and justice you deserve.