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

In the event that your vehicle or consumer item is found to be defective while under warranty and the manufacturer is unable to repair within a reasonable amount of time, you may be eligible to enter the lemon law buyback process. In the lemon law buyback process, a lemon may either be replaced by the manufacturer, or a refund may be issued. In the state of California, these laws apply to new or used vehicles, as well as purchased or leased vehicles, as long as they have a written warranty attached. Even if your vehicle doesn’t qualify as a lemon, you may still be eligible to receive cash compensation for the diminished value of your consumer item or vehicle in certain situations.

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


Mileage Offset Calculator

During the lemon law process, when you do get a replacement or refund for your lemon, be aware that the manufacturer can deduct a certain amount based on the distance that you drove your car before you experienced trouble. 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. The lemon law calculator multiplies those numbers and then divides it by the life expectancy of the car (in California it’s 120,000 miles) to calculate the offset number.

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

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