Did you know that if you have a defective vehicle it may qualify as a lemon? If you purchased a ‘lemon’ in California, you are in luck. This is because California has one of the most consumer friendly lemon laws in the United States. If you find yourself with one of those defective vehicles, you may be eligible to file a Lemon Law claim in California. Once you understand how to file lemon law claims, you’ll be able to put this legal protection to good use.
Before we fully get into how to file lemon law in California, we know that not everybody has heard of this law. For starters, the Lemon Law provides important protection to consumers who buy or lease new or used vehicles from a licensed dealer in California. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the 7-step process of how to file a Lemon Law claim in California.
Step 1: Determine If Your Vehicle Qualifies
How do you file a lemon law claim you ask? The first step to filing a Lemon Law claim is to determine whether your vehicle meets California’s Lemon Law requirements. This step is very important because not every defective vehicle is a lemon under the law. If you determine that your car does not qualify, there is no point in going any further.
Generally, a vehicle will qualify if It has substantial defects that were not repaired after a reasonable number of repair attempts within the warranty period. If the defect surfaces within 18 months/18,000 miles of the purchase date, it also qualifies.
Step 2: Keep Detailed Records
This is where several lemon owners come up short; they don’t document their interactions with the dealership. They may be so focused on how to invoke lemon law that they don’t keep track of the things they need to win their case. If your vehicle has substantial defects, it is important to document the issues and repairs thoroughly. Keep records of any repairs or attempted repairs, along with any correspondence with the manufacturer, dealer, or repair shop. These records will help you to build a strong case and provide evidence in support of your Lemon Law claim.
If you took the vehicle for several repair attempts and you don’t have the documents, it is not too late. You can go to the dealership/repair shop to request for the required records. Do this before stating your intent to file a lemon law claim to avoid any pushback or dishonest behavior from the dealership. This is because the dealership has a close relationship with the manufacturer and may try to protect them. You can simply state that you need the papers for ’record-keeping’ sake.
Step 3: Give the Manufacturer or Dealer a Chance to Repair the Vehicle
Many defective vehicle owners jump the gun when attempting to file a lemon law claim. It’s understandable that the vehicle is giving you problems, but don’t forget to give the manufacturer a chance to fix it. Sometimes the problems are easily repairable and you can avoid the lengthy legal process of filing a claim.
In most cases, the Lemon Law requires that you allow the manufacturer or dealer at least two chances to repair the vehicle before filing a Lemon Law claim. If your vehicle has a serious defect, you should notify the manufacturer or dealer with a lemon law complaint immediately and provide them with an opportunity to fix it.
When the manufacturer tries and fails to fix the problem a couple of times, then you have a case. Be sure to keep records of any repair attempts, including the date and location of each repair visit. Read the actual repair order and make sure the problem you went in for is listed. Sometimes if other issues are discovered while in the shop they can have that as the main reason for the visit, possibly affecting the amount of compensation available to you.
Step 4: Consult an Experienced Lemon Law Attorney
If the manufacturer or dealer is unable to repair your vehicle after a reasonable number of repair attempts, it is time to consider filing a Lemon Law claim. If you want a chance at winning your case, you’ll need a professional. Attorneys experienced in lemon law help people navigate the entire process, allowing you to relax while your case moves through the legal motions.
You’ll want to consult with an experienced Lemon Law attorney. These professionals can advise you on the strength of your case, help you gather evidence, and assist you in filing your claim.
Step 5: File Your Lemon Law Claim
To file a Lemon Law claim in California, you’ll need to complete and file a “Demand for Arbitration” form. This will involve the manufacturer or dealer and the appropriate dispute resolution program. You’ll need to include detailed information about your vehicle, the defects you’ve experienced, and the repair attempts that have been made.
Step 6: Attend a Lemon Law Hearing or Settlement Conference
After you’ve filed your Lemon Law claim, you’ll be required to attend a hearing or settlement conference. During this process, you’ll have the opportunity to present your evidence and arguments to a neutral third party. This ‘neutral third party’ will determine whether your vehicle qualifies as a “lemon.”
Step 7: Receive Remedies for Your Lemon
If your Lemon Law claim is successful, you’ll receive compensation for your defective vehicle. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may receive one of three things:
- A replacement vehicle
- A refund of your purchase price
- Cash compensation for your losses
Your Lemon Law attorney can advise you on the best course of action and help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Simplifying the Process of How To File Lemon Law
Now that you know how to start a lemon law claim, let’s back up to one of the most important steps. Do you know that with a good and experienced lemon law attorney, you can avoid most of these steps? With an attorney like Quill and Arrow, you don’t need to worry about how to apply for lemon law, negotiating with the manufacturer, or the lengthy lemon law process California has. This firm is dedicated to fighting for the rights of lemon owners, so consulting and demanding their services means they can represent you. They will also help with filing your claims and aggressively negotiating for the best compensation with the manufacturer. You deserve the best, and Quill and Arrow is here for you!
How to start the lemon law process?
To start, you need to first take the vehicle in for repairs a couple of times. After several unsuccessful repair attempts, gather all the repair documents and reach out to an experienced lemon law attorney. They should always be available to follow up with you.
How to file a lemon law complaint?
To file lemon law today, you don’t need to do much. All you need to do is reach out to Quill and Arrow, explain your ordeal and allow them to verify. Once they ascertain the validity of your case, they will show you the next steps to take.
Carlo V. DeFalco