When buying a new vehicle, you should drive off the dealer’s lot and be assured that your new vehicle will perform safely, properly, and to the vehicle specifications as described.
Unfortunately, not every vehicle owner drives away with that “new car” feeling. If you discover that your vehicle has major problems, doesn’t work properly, or has a long-term defect, you may have recourse under California’s lemon law.
California protects consumers from defective automobiles through its comprehensive lemon law. Auto manufacturers are required to refund or replace a lemon law settlement for defective vehicles.
In this article, the Lemon Law Experts will guide you through what the lemon law settlement process might look like for you. We’ll also help you understand why an experienced lemon law lawyer is the best choice to help you navigate the complexities of a lemon law claim.
What Is a “Lemon”?
Before considering the basics of lemon law settlement claims, it is important to define what a “lemon” is. It can be annoying to take your brand new vehicle in for repairs over and over. However, experiencing repeated breakdowns doesn’t necessarily mean your vehicle is a lemon.
To qualify for lemon law protection in California, you will need to show that your new vehicle meets the following criteria:
- There is a substantial defect that impairs the safety, value, or use of the vehicle;
- The manufacturer has attempted a reasonable number of repair attempts to fix the defect;
- The defect was not caused by driver misuse.
If your vehicle meets these criteria, it may be time to speak with an experienced lemon law lawyer. The Lemon Law Experts can help.
Lemon laws apply to both new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles as long as the repairs take place under the manufacturer warranty.
You can seek a California lemon law settlement for a used or certified pre-owned vehicle, much like you would a new vehicle, based on the manufacturer warranty. Speak with a lemon law lawyer if you have questions about whether you might be able to bring your used car lemon law claim.
Typical Lemon Law Settlements in California
There is no such thing as an average lemon law settlement in California. The average lemon law settlement can range drastically from case to case for any number of reasons.
Factors that usually influence a lemon law settlement amount include:
- Make and model,
- Purchase price,
- And the nature and frequency of the repairs.
Having a lawyer can greatly impact your lemon law settlement outcome. Automotive companies have been battling lemon law settlement claims for nearly 50 years. Don’t try to fight them on your own.
Many firms want to get their clients quick settlements and avoid litigation at all costs. But if negotiation can’t achieve the result you deserve, our team at the Lemon Law Experts is willing to stand up for you all the way through trial.
Recent California Lemon Law Settlements Recovered By Our Firm
While there are no typical lemon law settlements, some settlement outcomes are more common than others. Below are a few examples of settlements outcomes we helped our clients achieve:
What Can You Get in a Lemon Law Settlement in California?
Some common settlement outcomes under California’s lemon law include:
- Vehicle repurchase/refund (minus a usage fee for when you drove the vehicle trouble-free);
- A replacement vehicle;
- A “cash and keep” settlement;
- An extended warranty;
Depending on your unique circumstances, any of the above may be a satisfactory outcome.
Alternatively, you may not be able to agree with the auto manufacturer and be left with nothing. Speak to an experienced lemon law attorney to avoid that outcome. The average lemon law settlement in California usually involves at least some kind of compensation to the purchaser of a lemon.
Questions About Your Vehicle? We've Got Answers
Vehicle Repurchase / Refund
If the vehicle is deemed to be a lemon, the consumer is able to receive a vehicle repurchase.
The repurchase is where the consumer receives a refund of the down payment, monthly payments, taxes, incidental or consequential expenses related to the lemon (such as rental car or tow car expenses) plus the payment of the remaining loan balance of the vehicle.
Oftentimes, the repurchase might be the best lemon law settlement outcome. A mileage offset will be deducted from the refund for the time that the vehicle was driven trouble-free. A lemon law lawyer can help you consider a refund and work through the math.
A Replacement Vehicle
While not a common outcome, one possible lemon law settlement is for the manufacturer to replace your vehicle with a new one that is substantially similar to the one that is a lemon.
Replacement vehicles tend to be difficult to facilitate as it depends on inventory and finding a vehicle that is substantially similar to the one that is a lemon. The consumer will be responsible for any difference in price and the mileage offset.
Cash and Keep Settlements
Oftentimes, consumers believe that the problem with their vehicles can be fixed or they simply do not want to relinquish possession of their vehicle. In these situations, a “cash and keep” settlement may be a better option.
This is where the consumer retains possession of the vehicle and receives a cash settlement for the troubles experienced with the vehicle. An experienced lemon law attorney can help you carefully weigh this option and assess whether this is the best option for you.
One settlement option is an extension of the manufacturer warranty. As a lemon law settlement, these types of extensions on the warranty often have significant monetary value.
They cover repairs on the affected parts, as well as possibly the entire vehicle. A savvy lawyer can help negotiate an extended warranty that extends well beyond the original manufacturer warranty period.
Inability to Settle
While the above reflect typical lemon law settlements in California, these options and outcomes are by no means guaranteed. Working with an attorney who is not afraid to step away from the negotiating table and go to court for you can help you get the compensation you deserve. Reach out to our experienced lemon law lawyers for assistance.
How the Lemon Law Experts Can Help
Our sole focus is lemon law, and we’re standing by to use our expertise to help you. We understand California’s lemon law inside and out.
We’re also not afraid to put the squeeze on at the negotiating table when needed. In fact, we are willing to take your case to court to get you the best possible outcome and to help you turn your lemon into lemonade.
Contact The Lemon Law Experts today for a free consultation.