Top 5 California lemon law tips

The California lemon law requires that the manufacturer to brand the title of the new or used car a “lemon” when it is bought back.  Reselling a California lemon car can be extremely costly for the manufacturer.  Therefore, the manufacturer and dealership representative may try to defeat your otherwise valid lemon law claim with common tactics.  We are hopeful our experiences will help you identify these unethical practices and procedures.  The following is a list of our top 5 tips that may help save your lemon law case.


No. 1:  Document, document, document.  Document everything, including phone conversations with the manufacturer or dealership.  It is a common tactic that the dealership technician will be unwilling, or unable, to duplicate your concern and will document your problem as “no problem found.”  Whether it is a journal, photographs or videos, documentation is needed to combat manufacturer technicians documenting your problem as “no problem found.”  The manufacturer is likely to mistake “no problem found” with “no problem.”


No. 2:  Pay attention to your repair order.  Make sure the repair facility accurately documents your concern on the repair order.  Do not let the service advisor alter or change your complaint or concern.  In the state of California all automobile repair orders follow the rules set forth in the Bureau of Automotive Repair Write it Right manual.  All repair orders follow the same general format called the three “C’s.”  Concern, Cause, and Correction.  The concern is the problem with your car.  The repair facility must document your concern exactly as stated.  A small change by the repair facility in how the concern is documented can negatively affect, even destroy, your lemon law case.  Never leave the dealership without a repair order for that specific visit.  You are entitled to a repair order for each and every visit to the repair facility.


No. 3:  Do not go to arbitration.  The California lemon law does not require you to arbitrate your case prior to filing a lemon law lawsuit.  And in most cases arbitration can hurt your lemon law case.  Should you lose during arbitration, the manufacturer can use the negative decision against you in any subsequent lemon law case.  Also, why go to arbitration without a lemon law lawyer on your side.  The manufacturers use their own lemon law defense attorneys for arbitration.


No. 4:  You need a lemon law attorney.  If your car, boat, or RV has been in the shop two or more times for the same problem you should contact an experienced California lemon law lawyer.  The dealerships are required to report to the manufacturers when any car goes in for repair more than one time for the same problem.  Once alerted to your potential lemon law claim, the manufacturers employ an entire network of agents, technicians, and lemon law defense lawyers to defeat an otherwise valid California lemon law claim.


No. 5:  The manufacturer/dealer is not your friend.  Even if your vehicle clearly qualifies as a lemon, the manufacturer does not want to voluntarily buy back your car.  Please remember, the dealership is the manufacturer’s local representative.  It is common for the dealership, acting on behalf of the manufacturer, to get you to trade in your car instead of lemon law buy back.  Step 1, the dealership tells you your car should be bought back, it is a lemon; Step 2, you are invited you into the sales room, and the dealership will buy your car; Step 3, you are presented with a sales contract for a trade in, not a lemon law buy back.  Therefore you lose thousands on the trade in vs. a California lemon law buy back.


Please call, or contact us online, should you have any questions or concerns about your vehicle.  A qualified lemon law lawyer will speak with you about your potential case.  Even if your vehicle does not qualify under the California lemon law we are happy to discuss your concerns.

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