By: Brett Shainfeld
As a consumer, there are several laws in place to protect you from being taken advantage of by companies selling goods and services. When you pay for goods of any kind, there’s an expectation and an understanding that they’ll work the way they’re supposed to. But when they don’t, it doesn’t always mean you’re out of your hard-earned money. And this is especially good news when it comes to expensive purchases like a new car. We’ve talked at length about the California lemon law and how it can help protect you. Now, we’re diving into the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act — what it is, and how you can use it to your advantage.
The Consumer Legal Remedies Act
The California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) declares several methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts undertaken to sell goods to consumers as unlawful. These unlawful practices include:
- Misrepresenting the source of the goods or services
- Representing reconditioned goods as new
- Advertising goods without having the expected demand in stock
- Representing a repair is needed when it is not
- Representing rebates that have hidden conditions
- Misrepresenting the authority of a salesman to close a deal
This is especially helpful in California lemon law cases concerning used cars. If dealers sell cars with accident damage, make sales for higher prices than advertised, sell rental cars without disclosing their prior use, or sell “certified pre-owned” used cars that don’t qualify for that designation, you could be eligible for protection under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
Filing a Lawsuit Under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act
So, how long do people have to sue under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act? If you want to pursue a case, you have to do so within three years of the date of the commission of the unlawful act, method or practice (according to California Civil Code 1783). So if you’re hoping to sue over the unlawful sale of a car, the case has to be filed within three years of purchasing the vehicle.
There are certain steps you have to take before you can file a lawsuit under the CLRA. Thirty days or more before you file for damages, you have to inform the potential defendant via certified mail and ask the company to correct the issue. For cars, this means the business can repair, replace, or reimburse you for your purchase that’s in violation of the CLRA.
After you present the notice to the company, they then have 30 days to repair or replace the vehicle, or to at least agree to do so in a reasonable amount of time. They also have to put a stop to the practices that got them in trouble in the first place — whether that’s improperly labeling their cars, failing to notify buyers, or any other practice that would put them out of accordance with the law.
Who Can Sue For Violation Of Consumers Legal Remedies Act?
In order to sue for CLRA violation, you must be a consumer. Under the law, this is “an individual who seeks or acquires, by purchase or by lease, any goods or services for personal, family, or household purposes.”
Usually, this definition doesn’t limit most people from pursuing a case, but there are a few instances where the person who files the suit actually does matter.
For example, if a husband purchases a car for his wife, the wife can’t file the lawsuit or demand repairs. It must be the person who actually purchased the vehicle. If a company purchases a vehicle for business use, then the sale doesn’t qualify as being for “personal, family or household purposes.”
You also have to have suffered damage within the meaning of the CLRA, such as an increased cost or burden. This could be money you’ve spent to repair damages that wouldn’t be there if the company hadn’t executed a deceptive practice. Or it could even be the amount of time and money it would cost you to bring the lawsuit.
Call Shainfeld Law
If the defending company doesn’t repair or replace the vehicle, and you win a lawsuit against them, you’ll win damages to cover the vehicle and your attorney costs. With over a decade of working to protect consumers from purchases of faulty vehicles, we’re experts in the California lemon law and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. We understand the ins and outs of these laws so you don’t have to.
You can find plenty of helpful information on the California lemon law at Lemon Law Now on our website. But if it’s more in-depth, tailored advice you’re after, you can request a free lemon law consultation with us. We’ll review your case and let you know how the lemon law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act could benefit you.
Whether you purchased a new car with faulty parts or were sold a used vehicle that didn’t fully qualify for its “certified” designation, we can help you. We have a long-standing history of winning cases, and we’ll work to get you the compensation you deserve.