Experienced Lemon Law Attorney in Los Angeles, CA
If you have been sold a defective vehicle, and have made repeated attempts to repair the defective vehicle (but to no avail), then California law may give you a right to sue the manufacturer and/or dealership. Defective vehicles that cannot or have not been fixed after repeated attempts are known as “lemons.” Lemon law litigation could lead to compensation through either a replacement or a refund, thus helping offset the time, stress, and financial burdens caused by the defective vehicle — it’s worth noting that the right to sue is granted to consumers via regulations that have been in place for nearly five decades.
Despite the fact that Lemon Law regulations and requirements are intended to protect everyday consumers, they are not always easy to understand, and popular misconceptions abound.
We encourage potential plaintiffs to contact an experienced Los Angeles lemon law attorney here at Quill & Arrow for guidance on how to proceed with their claims — and for an initial case evaluation to identify the underlying issues.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about the “basics” before speaking with an attorney, let’s continue by exploring some common questions clients may have regarding their Lemon Law rights.
Consider the following…
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I heard that California Lemon Law protections only apply to new, personal vehicles, and not to used, leased, or commercial vehicles. Is that true?
A: No, that is a common misconception — it’s not actually true.
It’s important to point out that California’s Lemon Law regulations protect purchasers of both new and used vehicles (including leased vehicles), so long as there was an applicable warranty for the time period during which you made reasonable attempts to repair the defects. If you were not able to secure an extended service warranty with your purchase of a used vehicle, for example, then you would likely not be entitled to Lemon Law compensation, though you might still be entitled to compensation through other means.
Commercial vehicles are also covered by California’s Lemon Law regulations, though there are a number of additional requirements of which purchasers should be aware:
- The vehicle at-issue will not qualify as a “lemon” if the business has registered more than five vehicles; and
- The gross weight of the vehicle must be less than 10,000 pounds.
For example, suppose that you purchase a small sedan for use as a delivery vehicle for your pizzeria, and you have five or fewer vehicles registered with your pizzeria business. Under these circumstances, you could still make use of California’s Lemon Law protections, making it an invaluable option for quickly securing compensation in a situation that might otherwise require a significant additional time investment to correct.
Q: Am I required to arbitrate my Lemon Law dispute?
A: Not at all — in California, you have a right to arbitrate your Lemon Law dispute, but it is not mandatory that you engage with the arbitration process. In fact, arbitration is generally a poor strategy for securing compensation in the Lemon Law context, as (despite the fact that arbitrators are meant to be neutral) parties with significant industry connections and financial resources at their disposal tend to be advantaged by the arbitration process.
Consider the following: an arbitrator is likely to be biased against a “one-off” plaintiff, as they are aware — whether consciously or subconsciously — that large corporations are routinely involved in litigation, and might later require their paid arbitration services. Though the process is meant to be fair and balanced, it’s undeniable that arbitrators who make decisions favorable to the manufacturer could potentially secure a future benefit.
Q: What sort of compensation am I entitled to if my vehicle qualifies as a “lemon” under the law?
A: Well, there are primarily three available options: 1) a cash settlement that is negotiated outside of the courtroom, and may not necessarily be linked to a specific loss calculation, 2) replacement of the vehicle, or 3) reimbursement for the losses associated with the defective vehicle.
The cash settlement can be rather variable, so we won’t cover that here.
With respect to vehicle replacement, the manufacturer must provide an adequate replacement. Whether you accept the replacement is up to you — under the law, you have the right to refuse a replacement remedy (which you might want to do, given your negative experiences with the manufacturer and that particular vehicle model).
Reimbursement is the most common remedy in Lemon Law cases. When you choose to be reimbursed, the manufacturer “repurchases” their vehicle from you (after deducting the value of use as derived from the mileage amount). They will also pay incidental expenses associated with the vehicle, including taxes, registration fees, monthly payments, cost of repairs, and more.
Q: Am I entitled to any compensation if my vehicle does not meet the necessary qualifications to be considered a “lemon” under the law?
A: Yes, though your compensation will not be replacement or reimbursement. If your vehicle is defective but does not qualify as a “lemon,” then you can sue and recover compensation that accounts for the diminished value of your vehicle as a result of its defects — typically, this will apply in cases where there is a defect, but it is not so severe that it prevents you from using the vehicle.
For example, if your car engine makes an annoying hissing noise that has no impact on its functionality, then your vehicle might not be a “lemon,” but it certainly has a diminished value that could give rise to compensation should you choose to sue.
Q: Will a modification have an impact on my ability to recover under Lemon Law regulations?
A: It could. If your modification caused or contributed to the defect at-issue, then the manufacturer has no obligation to replace or reimburse you for losses. As such, if you’ve made any modifications, you’ll have to show that the modification is not linked to the “lemon” status of your vehicle.