The Lemon Law Process: Getting A Refund For Your Lemon in California

If you are the original purchaser of a lemon, you are entitled to a refund of the following:

  • Your down payment and any monthly payments you’ve made.
  • The balance of your loan.
  • Collateral charges, i.e. sales tax, finance charges, and prorated registration and service contracts.
  • Rental car, tow truck, and any other expenses that are a direct consequence of your lemon.

If you leased a lemon in Los Angeles, California, you are entitled to:

  • Your down payment.
  • Your monthly lease payments.
  • All remaining lease payments.
  • Collateral charges, i.e. sales tax, finance charges, and prorated registration and service contracts.
  • Rental car, tow truck, and any other expenses that are a direct consequence of your lemon.

Getting A Replacement Vehicle

During the lemon law process in California, if you choose to replace your lemon, your replacement vehicle must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be essentially identical to your lemon at the time you purchased or leased it.
  • It must include the same service contract.
  • It must include any and all factory or dealer enhancements that came with the purchase of your lemon, i.e. undercoating.

You will still be reimbursed for rental cars, tow trucks, and any other expenses that are a direct consequence of your lemon, and the manufacturer will be held responsible for sales tax and license and registration fees for your new vehicle.

Let us know if you think you have a lemon on your hands and would like to utilize lemon law in order to get a replacement for you vehicle. While the laws can be intricate, we specialize in consumer protection laws and have an efficient, streamlined process when it comes to getting our clients the settlement they deserve and walking them through the lemon law process.

Lemon Law Process for Used Cars

If you suspect that your used vehicle might be a lemon, or simply want more information about California used car lemons laws, reach out to our Los Angeles office immediately. In order to make the lemon law process as quick and painless as possible, make sure you are requesting and keeping thorough and proper documentation of all your repair attempts and interactions with the service people and managers at your dealership.

Starting the Lemon Law Process for Used Cars

Starting the lemon law process for used cars can be daunting, but we’re here to help. If you have a used car that you think is a lemon, the first step is to contact Shainfeld Law so that we can perform a free evaluation of your situation and determine what the next steps are in the used car lemon law process. The reason why it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side is that manufacturers will often fight against lemon law claims, and our lemon law lawyers are experienced enough to deal with these manufacturers in a way that will earn you maximum recovery.

While we feel confident that we can get you the settlement you deserve for your lemon, there are some helpful hints and tips that you can take into account when starting the used car lemon law process. Taking these steps helps ensure a quick, painless, and rewarding process. Remember, we utilize lemon laws in such a way that we insist that the manufacturer cover your legal fees, so you’ll never pay out of pocket for our legal services. There’s no reason not to pursue your claim.

In California, you may also be protected by law if you think that you may have been deceived by your dealership in regards to the state your car was in when you purchased it. If you think the dealership withheld information about prior repairs or issues before you purchased the vehicle, or you think your vehicle may have been improperly certified, there are laws that are in place to protect you.

The Lemon Law Buyback Process

When a manufacturer has tried unsuccessfully to repair your vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts, the California lemon law buyback process can be initiated. When your vehicle qualifies for under California lemon buyback law, the manufacturer has one of two options. The first is to offer a replacement vehicle, and the second is to buyback the defective vehicle. Furthermore, you may be eligible to receive compensation for incidental damages due to defects related to the vehicle; it’s best to speak with a qualified lemon law attorney to find out more about this process.

California lemon buyback law also stipulates that should you opt for a replacement vehicle, that the manufacturer is required to cover all taxes, registration and relevant state motor vehicle information updates that accompany a traditional vehicle sale.

If you purchased the vehicle or consumer item in question and it has qualified as a lemon, your buyback will consist of:

  • Your monthly payments and down payments contributed towards the purchase of the vehicle
  • Additional charges incurred, including sales tax, finance tax, registration and any prorated service orders towards correcting the issue
  • Incidental charges, including tow truck expenses or rental car costs
  • Payments towards loan balances
  • If you are not the original owner, your payments will go towards your purchase price of the vehicle

If you leased a vehicle that qualifies as a lemon, your buyback procedure will consist of:

  • Lease payments and any down payments
  • Additional charges associated with vehicle purchase, including sales tax and registration
  • Incidental charges, including towing expenses and rental vehicle fees
  • Payment that covers any additional obligations as specified in the lease

For purchased vehicles, the lemon law buyback process further consists of calculating mileage offsets and determining compensation for other components related to the lemon, such as if there was an accident caused by a defective vehicle.

Mileage Calculator


Usage Deduction

$5,833.33

Mileage Offset Calculator

The calculation used to determine the mileage offset is fairly straightforward. The calculation takes the mileage on the car’s first attempt to repair the warranty defect, minus the mileage at the time the vehicle was purchased. The number is then divided by 120,000 and multiplied by the purchasing price of the vehicle. In the end, this value is reduced from the reimbursed amount. California lemon law also states that the manufacturer should cover incidentals, including rental vehicle charges, towing fees, and repair expenses.

Use our handy lemon law calculator to determine the offset: Simply plug in the purchasing price of your vehicle and the mileage at which your car had its first lemon-related warranty repair.

What if I Don’t Have a Lemon?

In this case, the manufacturer pays the consumer a sum of money, while the consumer keeps their car and the car’s remaining warranty stays in effect. If you’re unsure of whether or not your vehicle qualifies as a lemon in California, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to give you a free evaluation of your case and help guide you to the next steps of the lemon law process.

Contact Shainfeld Law Today

If you’re unsure whether you qualify for a full refund or the lemon law buyback process, give our Los Angeles office a call and we will walk you through the lemon law process and criteria. There are certain criteria that need to be met when it comes to getting the recovery you deserve, and the lemon laws differ from state to state and may apply differently to your specific situation. Our lemon law lawyers are experts in this area of law and can guide you through the steps of the lemon law process.

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888-567-2279

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

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