PROTECTING THE CONSUMER

SQUEEZING THE LEMON OUT OF THE LEMON LAW

The California Lemon Law is a great consumer-oriented law giving California consumers the right to return their defective vehicle to the manufacturer, for a full or partial refund, when their vehicle cannot be properly repaired after a reasonable number of attempts.

If you think you have a lemon and want to talk with experienced California lemon law attorneys, call the law office of Barry Edzant today at 661-222-9929.

Under the Lemon Law, if a vehicle is under the original manufacturer’s warranty and the dealership has made four attempts to repair the same problem, (two, if it’s a life threatening problem or has the potential to cause serious bodily injuries), or if the vehicle has been in for repair for any problem for more than thirty days, the owner may return the vehicle to the manufacturer and get back all or most of the money paid for the vehicle, plus incidental expenses and attorney’s fees. The problems with the vehicle must substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.

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However, manufacturers are often reluctant to “buy back” the vehicle since it costs them a great deal of money to do so. Manufacturers on occasion attempt to argue that the vehicle owner in some way misused or altered the vehicle in such a way as to void the warranty. If proven, voiding the warranty defeats the Lemon Law case.

As a result, after purchasing a vehicle, owners should follow the guidelines below:

1. Strictly follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedules. (Maintenance does not have to be performed at dealerships; however, warranty repairs to the vehicle should be.)

2. Keep all repair invoices, even if no repairs were made to the vehicle. If you perform your own engine work, such as oil changes, keep all purchase receipts. Also keep rental, towing, or other receipts associated with the failure of the vehicle.

3. If your vehicle is acting improperly, take it to the dealership immediately. Failure to diagnose a problem may make the problem worse, voiding the warranty.

4. Do not alter the stock components of the vehicle, such as replacing standard engine parts for racing parts. Van conversions are sometimes problematic since, after the conversion, the vehicle is no longer stock.

5. Do not use the vehicle for purposes other than those intended for the vehicle; i.e., do not attempt to tow a 19 foot motor boat with a 4 cylinder Toyota Corolla.

6. Report the continuous problem, preferably in writing, not only to the service manager at the dealership, but to the manufacturer’s representatives as well.

Being in an accident may also void portions of the warranty. For example, if an accident damages the suspension of the vehicle, suspension problems following the accident may not qualify under the Lemon Law.

While manufacturers do not like to buy back vehicles, most will cooperate with the consumer once it is determined that the vehicle is truly a Lemon under the Lemon Law. Following the tips above will help strengthen your Lemon case, and will avoid leaving a sour taste in your mouth.

Other lemon law articles that may be of interest:
Don’t be the next dealership victim
The perfect consumer approach to buying the perfect car