Camarillo Lemon Law

Camarillo Lemon Law

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Camarillo Lemon Law Attorneys

Camarillo is a rapidly growing city. Between 2010 and 2020, the population increased by nearly 10 percent. Today, many Californians visit Camarillo for work, school, or recreation. Many more pass through the area each day. And all of these residents, visitors, and travelers need safe, reliable transportation. 

When you buy a vehicle, you expect it to provide safe and reliable transportation. You don’t expect to leave the dealership with a vehicle that has ongoing problems, that leaves you stranded, or that threatens your safety. Yet Camarillo residents who end up with a lemon vehicle face exactly these problems. 

If this situation sounds familiar, talk to an experienced Camarillo lemon law attorney today. Legal representation can help you protect your rights, and it may cost you little or nothing out of pocket. 

Lemon Vehicle Statistics in Camarillo

California’s lemon law applies only to registered vehicles. In Ventura County, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recorded 596,553 passenger vehicle registrations in 2021. Ventura County residents also registered thousands of trucks, trailers, and motorcycles that year – bringing the county’s total registrations to just over 825,000. 

This number is a fraction of the 36.2 million vehicle registrations recorded in California in 2021. Yet each registration represents a vehicle or trailer that a Ventura County family or business relies upon every day. 

In a study of lemon lawsuits, the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) and fellow researchers examined lawsuits filed in state courts between 2018 and 2021. They found 7.6 first-time vehicle registrations were filed in those years, yet only 34,397 lemon lawsuits were filed. Lemon law cases thus made up 0.45 percent of all new vehicle registrations from 2018 to 2021.

Yet these numbers don’t tell the whole story. Most lemon law claims don’t become lawsuits. Instead, they are settled out of court. An experienced Camarillo lemon lawyer can help you exercise your rights under the lemon law. 

Which Automakers Are More Likely to Produce Lemons?

The CALPIRG study also examined which automakers were named most often in lemon lawsuits between 2018 and 2021. The study looked at how many lemon cases the automaker was likely to face compared to how many vehicles it sold.

The researchers found that some automakers had higher rates of lemon vehicles than others. For example, General Motors faced one lemon law case per 78 vehicles it sold in California between 2018 and 2021. Jaguar Land Rover North America, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan North America, and Ford Motor Company also had relatively high rates of lemon law claims.

Some automakers’ names rarely appeared in lemon lawsuits. Toyota Motor Sales, for instance, appeared in one lemon law claim for every 2,029 vehicles the company sold. Mazda Motor of America and Mitsubishi Motors North America also appeared infrequently. 

Common Problems With Camarillo Lemon Vehicles

While only 10,707 lemon law cases were filed in California courts in 2021, the number of lemon vehicles on the road is much higher. The CALPIRG study estimates that in 2021, 6.3 million vehicles with “hazardous unrepaired recalls” were on California roads. 

Lemon law claims demonstrate that nearly any part of a vehicle can contain a defect that causes problems or threatens driver and passenger safety. Just a few of the defective parts named in California lemon law claims in 2021 are:

  • AC and heating systems
  • Collision and engine operation sensors
  • Odometers
  • Seat belts
  • Transmission components, including the clutch and the range control module
  • Brakes and emergency brakes

Nearly any part of a vehicle can contain a defect. These defects can easily threaten the reliability of the vehicle and the safety of the passengers. 

Understanding California’s Lemon Law And How it Applies to Your Camarillo Vehicle

California’s lemon law has developed over many years. The law got its start in the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act in 1970. The act was amended several times to clarify the terms of lemon law protections and expand those protections. 

Today, key elements of the state’s lemon law include:

Which Vehicles are Covered by Lemon Law

To be covered by the lemon law, a vehicle must:

  • Be purchased or leased “at retail,” usually from a dealership or directly from the manufacturer.
  • Be covered by an original manufacturer’s warranty or a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty when the problems begin. 
  • Develop problems during ordinary, expected use of that vehicle type as a result of abuse or neglect. 

Typically, vehicles owned or leased for personal, family, or household use are covered as long as these conditions apply. Some business vehicles are covered as well. 

Some Businesses are Covered by Lemon Law

In 2000, California’s lemon law was amended to include protections for some small businesses. Today, a small business can seek protection under the lemon law if:

  • The business owns five or fewer vehicles total, including the defective one, and
  • The defective vehicle has a “curb weight,” or gross vehicle weight, under 10,000 pounds. 

Many small businesses that use pickup trucks, minivans, or box trucks for deliveries find that their vehicles are covered by the state’s lemon law. Businesses that are not covered by the lemon law may have other available legal remedies. Consulting an experienced Camarillo lemon lawyer can help these businesses determine how to handle their situation. 

The Law Defines “Reasonable” Number of Repair Attempts

In the early years of California’s lemon law, automakers attempted to define “reasonable number of repair attempts” broadly. One auto executive testified before the state legislature that thirty or more repair attempts by a dealership should be considered “reasonable.” 

Today, the law limits these attempts. Typically, an automaker’s attempt to repair a lemon vehicle will be considered a “reasonable” number if the automaker had at least two tries or the vehicle was at the dealership for service for more than 30 days total. 

California Lemon Law Offers Protections for Active Duty Service Members

For most vehicle owners, California lemon law only applies to vehicles purchased or leased in the state of California. In 2007, however, the law expanded to cover vehicles bought or leased by active-duty service members serving in California, no matter where they bought their vehicles. 

This amendment recognized that many military service members come to California from other states and that they need access to lemon law protections while serving in California. 

Why Should I Speak to an Experienced Camarillo Lemon Law Attorney?

Always speak to an experienced lemon lawyer if you have questions. An attorney can answer your specific questions and help you determine the best course of action in your situation. 

Compensation for Lemon Law Claims

California’s lemon law allows for three distinct types of compensation in lemon claims:

  • Refund or replacement. An automaker liable under the lemon law must provide a refund of the purchase price or a “substantially similar” replacement vehicle. The vehicle owner may choose which one they want.
  • Incidental and consequential damages. These damages repay you for losses you experienced because your vehicle was a lemon. Towing bills often fall in this category. The cost of renting another vehicle, paying for Uber or Lyft, or buying public transportation passes also falls in this category. 
  • Attorney fees. When a vehicle is a lemon, the automaker must pay attorney fees for the vehicle owner. This provision makes experienced representation affordable for many Californians.
  • Civil Penalties. The California lemon law also has a provision to encourage automakers to comply with the law. If an automaker is found to have willfully failed to comply with the California lemon law, then it may have to pay civil penalties to a consumer. The amount of civil penalties as be as much as two times the amount of actual damages.

Should I Go to Arbitration for My Lemon Vehicle? 

Many automakers encourage or try to require arbitration for lemon law claims. While arbitration can be less costly than a courtroom trial, there is no jury and no right to appeal. Statistics also show that arbitration can tip in favor of automakers.

Never agree to arbitration without speaking to a Camarillo lemon law attorney first. A lawyer can explain arbitration in more detail. An attorney will also give you an educated opinion on whether arbitration is the best choice in your specific situation.

Can I Afford a Camarillo Lemon Lawyer?

Many Californians hesitate to hire an experienced lemon lawyer because they fear they will not be able to afford attorney’s fees. Recognizing this, California’s lemon law makes it easier for vehicle owners to get the representation of an experienced lawyer.

California lemon law requires automakers to pay a vehicle owner’s attorney fees if the vehicle is a lemon. If you win your case, the automaker pays your lawyer’s fees. In addition, many attorneys work “on contingency,” so they do not charge you a fee unless they win your case. Ask attorneys about their payment arrangements before you agree to hire one. 

Contact a Camarillo Lemon Lawyer at Wirtz Law APC Today

Your vehicle should be a trustworthy tool in your life. Yet lemon vehicles are anything but trustworthy. They may break down repeatedly, leave you stranded, or even pose a threat to your safety and health. 

If you have a lemon on your hands, talk to the team at Wirtz Law APC today. Our experienced Camarillo lemon law attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Whether you’re sure you’re covered by lemon law or you have questions, reach out to us today to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation. We’ll do our best to get you back on the road safely.

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