What is the lemon law?

Lemon laws are a set of laws made to protect consumers who purchase defective goods. In our case, we primarily use lemon laws to protect consumers who have bought or leased defective vehicles.

How does the lemon law work in California?

When a vehicle is sold with a warranty and the vehicle as a defect that substantially affects the safety or use of the vehicle, the defective vehicle must be repurchased or replaced by the manufacturer. There are both state and federal laws in place to protect consumers against lemons.

How do I know if my car qualifies as a lemon in California?

If your car is still under warranty and you’ve made reasonable attempts at repairs, you may be eligible for protection under lemon laws. Additionally, if your vehicle is no longer under warranty but your problems started occurring when the vehicle was still under its warranty, you may have grounds to file a claim. The criteria for lemon laws vary from state to state, but in California, if your vehicle starts experiencing significant issues within 18 months or 18,000 miles, and a reasonable amount of repair attempts were made, your vehicle is presumed to be a lemon.

If I do qualify, what sort of compensation am I entitled to?

It depends on the specifics of your case, but you may be entitled to a full buyback or an equivalent replacement. When a manufacturer repurchases your lemon, you should receive a full refund plus the cost of legal fees and any other fees associated with your lemon. If you qualify for a replacement vehicle, the manufacturer must replace with a model that is the closest equivalent available to your lemon, offer the same service contract, and include any add-ons that you received during the original purchase.

What if my California vehicle is no longer under warranty?

You may still be entitled to compensation. It depends on many factors, including when you started to receive repairs on your vehicle. If your vehicle first started experiencing issues while it was still under warranty, it is possible that you are eligible for a buyback or replacement. Because the intricacies of these laws are complicated, it’s smart to reach out to an experienced lemon law lawyer regarding your circumstances. We offer free evaluations and are happy to answer any questions you may have about your current lemon situation.

Do I still qualify if my vehicle is leased?

Yes, as long as your car was leased with a warranty, you should still qualify under lemon laws. When a manufacturer agrees to repurchase your leased vehicle, they’ll reimburse you for any downpayment and monthly payments you made in order to lease the vehicle, as well as any other fees and costs associated with your lease.

What if I have a used vehicle? Am I still eligible?

Yes. If you bought a used vehicle that is still under warranty from a manufacturer or dealer, you may still qualify under lemon laws. Even if you didn’t buy your lemon new in California, you’re still entitled to consumer protections. As long as your used vehicle came with a warranty, and you’re still protected under that warranty, the same lemon laws apply to you. Additionally, there are also consumer protection laws in place that can protect you if you suspect that the dealership may have deceived you about the history of your used car. If you think that your used car wasn’t properly certified or that the dealership did not disclose an accurate repair history of your vehicle, contact us right away. There are lemon laws that apply to this situation, and we have the knowledge and expertise needed in order to get you the settlement you deserve.

How much is this going to cost me?

Not a cent. State and federal lemon laws require that manufacturers cover legal fees as part of your compensation, and as your attorneys, we ensure that will happen. We have a 99% success rate, but whether we win or lose your case, you won’t receive a bill from us. It’s important to find experienced lemon law attorneys that will utilize lemon laws in such a way to get you a full reimbursement, including the legal fees associated with the lemon law process. Because we don’t bill for our services, our clients have the rare opportunity to work with the country’s top lemon law lawyers at no out-of-pocket cost to them. Call our Los Angeles office today!

How long will the lemon law process in California take?

With a 99% success rate and an aggressive reputation among manufacturers, we settle almost all of our claims outside of court. When we approach a manufacturer, they understand that it’s in their best interest to settle, or we’ll aggressively pursue the claim until we get favorable results. Because of this, we achieve incredibly fast results — most manufacturers will immediately comply with our demands. Depending on your individual case, the lemon law process usually lasts between 1-3 months.

I think my boat/motorcycle/RV/plane is a lemon. Can you help?

Yes! Lemon laws don’t only apply to cars. If you have a motorcycle, boat, motorhome, or plane that you purchased for personal use, there are still consumer protection laws in California on your side. Additionally there are lemon laws in place that protect against appliances that are defective as well. Fortunately, we’re extremely well-versed in lemon law and have the expertise needed to handle any lemon law claim you have for us.

What will happen if I qualify for a replacement vehicle?

If your purchased vehicle is a lemon and your settlement with the manufacturer consists of a replacement vehicle, the replacement must meet the following criteria:

  • it must be the closest possible equivalent to your lemon vehicle
  • it must include the same service contract
  • it must include all the add-ons or services that came with your original vehicle, such as rustproofing

You will also be reimbursed for any costs or fees associated with your lemon, such as rental car fees, tow truck fees, or out of pocket repair costs.

What does "lemon law presumption" mean in California?

Lemon law presumption refers to a certain scenario in which your vehicle would be presumed a lemon in a court of law. While these criteria differ from state to state, in California your vehicle falls under lemon law presumption if the following occurs within 18 months or 18,000 miles of purchasing your vehicle:

  • it is repaired at least two times for a substantial safety defect that could cause bodily injury or death
  • it is repaired at least four times for a persistent non-substantial safety defect
  • it is out of service for more than 30 days total due to any combination of problems or defects.

What’s a manufacturer buyback and what does it entail?
If your purchased vehicle turns out to be a lemon, the settlement with the manufacturer may consist of a “buyback.” This means the manufacturer will issue you a refund that consists of the following:

  • your downpayment and any past monthly payments you’ve made
    sales tax, finance charges, registration fees, service contracts, and any other associated fees.
  • any costs associated with your lemon, such as repair costs, rental car costs, or tow truck fees.
  • the remaining balance on your loan.

If you leased your car, the buyback will include any and all lease payments you’ve made and the payment of any remaining lease obligations.

What if my vehicle doesn’t qualify as a lemon in California?

Don’t give up just yet. Even if your warranty is no longer in effect, if your vehicle’s problems started before your warranty expired, you may still have a claim. Consumer protection laws aren’t always black and white. We specialize in this area of law and with a free evaluation, and we can tell you whether you have a claim. We often find that consumers are given misinformation when it comes to what their rights as consumers are. If you are dealing with a defective vehicle or appliance, you deserve compensation, and we can help. And remember, we always ensure that your settlement includes the cost of legal fees, so you’ll never receive a bill from us. Give our Los Angeles office a call today.

I think my vehicle is a lemon. What should I do?

First and foremost, be sure that you’re keeping very careful and thorough written reports of all your repairs. Make sure the dealership is providing documentation of every repair, and ask for your own copies. Always ask for the names and titles of the people working on your vehicle, and if your mechanic isn’t able to duplicate the issue, take them on a test drive until you can identify the issue to them. Also be aware of service bulletins and recalls that might be associated with your vehicle. Be aggressive when fighting for your consumer rights. If you’re not sure of what the next steps are, we’re here to help. Contact Shainfeld Law immediately if you need more information or think you have a claim.

How do I make sense of my warranty?

It’s impossible to make every single vehicle perfectly, and manufacturers know this. That’s why they sell their cars with warranties — it’s an acknowledgment from the manufacturer or dealer that there’s a chance their vehicle might be defective, and if so, they will be held responsible for repairs for a certain amount of time. Warranties will differ depending on what kind of car you purchased, so make sure you look your warranty over carefully to see how long it’s good for and what exactly it covers.

Why do I need a lemon law lawyer in California?

Even if it seems like you have an open and shut case when it comes to your lemon, unfortunately, that’s not always how it goes. Manufacturers will often fight back against you when pursuing a lemon law claim, even if your car meets the criteria for lemon law presumption and you are protected by your warranty. Because of this, pursuing a lemon law claim on your own can be risky. We suggest contacting not just a lawyer, but an attorney that specializes in lemon law specifically, like the attorneys at Shainfeld Law. Because we have a winning record and an aggressive reputation in the industry, manufacturers know not to push back when we approach them with our demands.

My dealership said I don’t have a case. Should I give up?

No! It’s in the interest of your dealership that you don’t pursue a lemon law claim, so they may be misleading you. If you think that there’s even a slight chance you have the grounds to file a lemon law claim, contact us. We offer free evaluations, and because we utilize lemon laws in a way that demands the manufacturer cover legal fees, you won’t receive a bill from us. Call our Los Angeles office today so that we can get started on your evaluation and guide you through the lemon law process.

I have a lemon but I don't live in California. Can Shainfeld Law still help me?

Yes. Although we’re based in California, we’re experts in lemon law in any part of the United States. If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do for you, give our Los Angeles office a call today. We offer free consultations and are happy to walk you through the steps of the lemon law process.

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113 N. San Vicente Blvd., 2nd Floor,
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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