What can I expect if I file a “lemon law” lawsuit?
The general remedy is a refund of your purchase price. In addition, if the violation of the law is “willful”, which in many cases it is, you may be entitled to a civil penalty. This penalty can not exceed two times the amount of actual damages. In addition, you may be entitled to rental cars, repair expenses, and other damages you suffer because of your purchase of the vehicle.
What are the legal requirements to show that you have a lemon?
As a general rule, if you are reading this and have started looking into the lemon law, you probably have a lemon vehicle. My experience with California consumers for the past sixteen years is that they are very patient and will take a great deal before they decide they have had enough. Car manufacturers have repeatedly told consumers that they do not have a lemon law claim unless he or she has had four repair attempts for the same defect within the first 12,000 miles. This is a lie which is routinely presented in order to cheat consumers.
The correct standard is that the vehicle have a “reasonable number of repair attempts” within the warranty period. The warranty period can be as much as 10 years and 100,000 miles for Hyundai, Kia, and Volkswagen, 7 years 70,000 miles for Chrysler, and 3 years 36,000 miles for General Motors and Ford. These warranty periods may change depending on the year of your vehicle. ALL VEHICLES IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA COME WITH A STATE MANDATED MINIMUM 5 YEAR 50,000 MILE EMISSIONS WARRANTY. This warranty is usually in effect for stalling problems and other “drivability” issues.
Do I have to pay a lot of money to enforce my “lemon law” rights as a consumer?
The state lawmakers, knowing that the average car buyer could not take on the powerful and rich car makers by themselves provided that a prevailing consumer in a lemon law claim can collect his or her attorney’s fees and court costs from the manufacturer.
Does the “lemon law” apply to leased vehicles?
Does the “lemon law” apply to used cars?
Yes, if the used car is covered by a warranty. If the used car is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, the consumer can bring a lemon law claim against the manufacturer just as if the vehicle were new. If a consumer buys a used vehicle from a dealership without a manufacturer’s warranty, but with a dealer’s warranty or a service contract the consumer can pursue the dealer for a lemon law claim.
Does the “lemon law” apply to cars bought with a service contract only?
Yes. A service contract gives a consumer legal rights under the Lemon Law. These consumers would have lemon law rights against the selling dealer and also the service contract provider.
Does the “lemon law” apply to other major consumer products, such as boats, planes, RVs, and motorcycles?
Yes. My office enjoys cases involving boats, motorcycles and RVs.