Bakersfield Lemon Law

Bakersfield Lemon Law

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Bakersfield Lemon Law Attorneys

Nearly 40 years ago, California enacted the state’s landmark vehicle lemon law — the Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Protection Act. Before lawmakers passed California’s lemon laws, consumers had very little protection or means of recourse when they purchased a vehicle with manufacturing defects. “Lemons” refer to vehicles with serious reliability concerns related to one significant issue or a longer list of minor problems. California lemon laws protect consumers by requiring vehicle manufacturers to repurchase or replace vehicles subject to warranty defects that cannot be remedied within a reasonable number of attempts. 

Despite the state’s groundbreaking Lemon Laws, many consumers face difficulties when trying to get the automakers to follow the lemon law.  Vehicle manufacturers and distributors are hesitant to concede that a car is defective out of fear that they will snowball effect, resulting in other owners seeking similar compensation. However, the experienced Bakersfield Lemon Law attorneys at Wirtz Law, APC, have a long history of successfully representing clients in their Lemon Law claims against car companies. While many Lemon Law lawyers focus solely on buybacks, the attorneys at Wirtz Law strive to secure maximum compensation, including civil penalty damages, on behalf of their clients through whatever legal means necessary. Contact the Bakersfield, California, lemon law lawyers at Wirtz Law at 858-259-5009 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your defective car claim

Bakersfield Lemon Law 

California provides significant protections to consumers who purchase defective new vehicles. California lemon laws are the strongest in the nation. However, understanding the state’s lemon laws is crucial to preparing a viable and compelling case for compensation. An experienced Bakersfield lemon law attorney can help individuals saddled with a defective or dangerous vehicle. 

Is My Car a Lemon?

While colloquially, people use the term “lemon” to refer to any issue they experience with their vehicles, California defines what qualifies as a lemon. The Lemon Law covers new and used cars, pickups, trucks, vans, SUVs, EVs, and the chassis, chassis cab, and drive trains of motor homes. 

Several general requirements exist for a car to qualify as a lemon in California.

  1. The law applies to all newly purchased or leased vehicles regardless of whether it is used for personal or small business. 
  2. It applies to used vehicles if there is a valid new car express warranty at the time of purchase.
  3. The purchaser must allow the manufacturer, through authorized dealers or mechanics, a reasonable number of attempts to repair a substantial manufacturing defect.  This can be as few as only two times. 
  4. The defects must substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. 
  5. The defects must be unrepaired after a reasonable number of repair attempts.

These are general requirements, and other situations may lead to a lemon law claim. 

What Am I Entitled to Under California’s Lemon Law?

Those with a valid California lemon law claim may return their vehicle to the manufacturer in exchange for a refund or replacement. If the consumer chooses a refund, the manufacturer must pay off any outstanding loan or lease and accept the return. In addition, an attorney can pursue refunds that may include the following:

  • The consumer’s down payment or lease inception costs;
  • Any funds the consumer received from a trade-in; 
  • Government fees, including registration, license, and sales tax; and 
  • Any monthly payments the consumer made up to the date of the settlement. 

However, it is essential to note that the law permits the auto manufacturer to deduct a “usage fee,” or a mileage offset, under California’s mileage formula. In addition, the law may allow other deductions, which an experienced Lemon Law attorney can advise owners of. 

Will a Lemon Law Claim Affect my Credit?

California lawmakers enacted the state’s lemon laws as consumer protection. Accordingly, a lemon law claim should not negatively impact a consumer’s credit score or rating. 

History of California’s Lemon Laws 

Various federal and state statutes apply to defective vehicles. Understanding the interplay of California’s various consumer protection statutes is essential to determining the best course of action. 

Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that governs consumer product warranties. The Act establishes three primary requirements that may apply to defective vehicles:

  • The warrantor must designate or title its written warranty as either “full” or “limited”;
  • The warrantor must include specific information about warranty coverage in a single, clear, easy-to-read document; and
  • The seller or warrantor must ensure that its warranties are available wherever its applicable products are sold. 

The Act is essentially the Federal Lemon Law for new vehicle purchases. 

California Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act is an umbrella law that covers California’s lemon law. The Act provides consumer protection when a vehicle is defective and irreparable after a reasonable number of attempts. 

Expansion of California’s Lemon Law to Military Personnel 

California expanded its lemon laws to cover all military personnel stationed in California, regardless of where a servicemember purchased their vehicle. To qualify under the military exception, armed forces members must have been stationed in California when they bought the vehicle or filed the lemon law claim. 

For the purposes of California’s lemon laws, the law defines a “member of the armed forces” as a person on full-time active duty in the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, or National Guard. This designation includes those on active military service at a qualifying military service school. 

Steps to Take for a Successful Lemon Law Claim

Hiring an experienced Bakersfield, California, lemon law attorney is the most beneficial step a consumer can take when filing a lemon law claim. In addition to retaining a skilled lemon law lawyer, consumers should take specific steps to aid in a prompt and favorable outcome. The basis for most of these steps is establishing a complete repair history record.

  • Ensure that the repair facility documents all vehicle complaints fully and accurately;
  • Request a work order before leaving the dealership;
  • Allow the dealer an opportunity to repair the problem vehicle at the first indication of a substantial problem;
  • Use consistent language in describing the vehicle’s issues to the dealer;
  • Make sure there is a new work order for every repair attempt; and
  • Consult with an attorney before agreeing to arbitrate any disputes. 

In addition, vehicle owners must seek repairs from an authorized dealership. This is because vehicle modifications and installing third-party parts may compromise a lemon law claim in California. 

Do I Need to Arbitrate my California Lemon Law Claim?

Arbitration refers to an informal method of resolving legal disputes. Car manufacturers often inform consumers that their claims must go through arbitration. While arbitration has some benefits, most advantages work in favor of the auto manufacturer. There is no jury in arbitration. Nor is there a right to an appeal in arbitration. Consulting with an attorney before agreeing to any dispute resolution process is crucial to ensuring a just and equitable outcome to a California lemon law case.

What Happens During A Lemon Law Case? – A Guide to California Lemon Law Infographic

What Happens During A Lemon Law Case - A Guide to California Lemon Law

Discuss Your Rights and Options with a Bakersfield Lemon Law Attorney Today

If you recently purchased a vehicle and you have continually experienced unexpected problems, you may have a Lemon Law claim against the seller or manufacturer. The Lemon Law attorneys at Wirtz Law, APC, have decades of hands-on experience helping our clients obtain financial relief from sellers and manufacturers. Our lawyers have over a 97 percent success rate among the Lemon Law cases we’ve handled, resulting in more than $45 million going back into our clients’ pockets. To learn more and schedule a consultation with a Bakersfield Lemon Law attorney at Wirtz Law, APC, call 858-259-5009 today. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form, and one of our lawyers will reach out to you shortly.

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