In California, lemon law requires the manufacturers of faulty vehicles to replace or refund the vehicle costs if they are not capable of repairing it. These laws protect consumers when they lease or purchase a new car when it’s covered by a warranty.
Lemon law in California protects consumers throughout their entire warranty period as outlined during the original purchase. However, consumers have an extension of 6 months from the expiration of their warranty to file their lemon law claim.
The consumer must attempt a “reasonable” amount of repairs during the period of their warranty for their vehicle to be considered a lemon. However, “reasonable” is a general term that depends on the circumstances. In general, four repair attempts is considered “reasonable.”
It’s important to note the differences between the responsibilities of the manufacturer and dealership. The dealership where you purchased your vehicle is not responsible for replacing or refunding your original vehicle costs. However, if your manufacturer refuses to refund or replace your vehicle, that is when the problem occurs. Every situation is different, but if you feel that you’ve given your manufacturer enough time to repair your vehicle and they still refuse to refund or replace your vehicle, you should consider filing a lemon law claim.
Arbitration is an informal process where a dispute between multiple parties (in the case of lemon law, between the vehicle manufacturer and consumer) is handled and decided by a neutral third party. Arbitrations typically take up to 40 days but can be resolved sooner. Additionally, consumers are not required to have an attorney representing them during arbitration, but manufacturers often have attorneys representing them throughout the process. This leaves consumers vulnerable to losing their case because they do not have the proper expertise in lemon law.
A consumer is not required to hire an attorney, but they have the choice if they wish to. Attorney fees can sometimes be high, but you can feel confident knowing that when you have an attorney on your side, your best interests are represented either in arbitration proceedings or in court.
When you win your lemon law case, either through arbitration or a court of law, you have the option to have your vehicle replaced or your original purchase costs refunded. When you choose to have your vehicle replaced, your manufacturer must replace the faulty vehicle with one that is relatively similar. If you choose to have your vehicle refunded, then you are entitled to a refund of the original costs of your vehicle.