Fresno Lemon Law

Fresno Lemon Law

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Fresno Lemon Law Attorneys

Fresno is the most populous inland California city and the fifth-largest city in the state. With a population topping 542,000 in 2020, Fresno is also one of the top 35 largest cities in the United States. The metro Fresno area encompasses over a million California residents. 

Hundreds of thousands of Fresno-area residents and businesses daily rely on their vehicles for transportation一 to work, school, grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and other places. Thousands more vehicles travel through Fresno daily, carrying California residents and workers who must leave or go to Fresno daily for work, errands, and other personal reasons. 

Every Fresno resident who has a vehicle relies on that vehicle for safe transportation. When vehicle defects cause ongoing problems, a vehicle’s owner can find themselves stressed, scrambling to fix the problem, or even endangered by a potentially deadly problem. It is more than a mere inconvenience.

If you recently purchased or leased a vehicle at retail and you’re facing problems with the vehicle, talk to an experienced Fresno lemon law attorney today. The legal team at Wirtz Law APC is here to help. 

How Common Are Lemon Vehicles in Fresno?

As the home of one of California’s largest cities, Fresno County is also one of the largest counties in its volume of annual vehicle registrations. In 2021, the California Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 899,530 vehicle registrations in Fresno County. These registrations included over half a million passenger vehicles, like cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans.  

The DMV’s numbers include both renewed and first-time registrations of new vehicles. Together, these numbers demonstrate how heavily Fresno residents depend on their cars – and how much they need their vehicles to be reliable.

Lawsuits filed over lemon vehicles in California are relatively rare. The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG)’s Lemon Law Index reports that 7 million new vehicle registrations were filed in California between 2018 and 2021. During this time, 34,397 lemon law claims were filed in state courts. Approximately 0.45 percent of new vehicle registrations led to an eventual lemon lawsuit.

Yet the lawsuit statistics do not tell the whole story. Most lemon law claims aren’t filed in court. Instead, they are settled between the automaker and the vehicle owner. 

In these settlement negotiations, vehicle owners may find themselves at a disadvantage. Auto manufacturers have time, resources, and their in-house legal teams to help them fight lemon law claims. Many automakers push vehicle owners to take the claim to arbitration – where statistics indicate that the results favor automakers even when the vehicle owner has a valid legal claim. To level the playing field, work with an experienced California lemon law attorney

Can I File a Lemon Law Claim? 

California’s lemon law doesn’t apply to all vehicles or vehicle owners. For a lemon law claim to apply:

  • The vehicle must be purchased or leased at retail, 一either from a dealership or directly from the manufacturer, like Tesla.
  • The defects must arise during the vehicle’s original manufacturer’s warranty or a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty must be in force. You may still have a claim even after the warranty expires, if the defects were presented for repair during the warranty.
  • The vehicle must be presented for repairs during the warranty at least two times for defects that substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle to the owner.
  • The vehicle’s owner must have the vehicle for personal, or household use or their small business must meet the lemon law requirements for small business claims. 

Fresno Small Business Lemon Law Claims

California lemon law allows some small business owners to file claims. Your business may have a valid lemon law claim if:

  • The lemon vehicle has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of less than 10,000 pounds, and
  • Your small business owns no more than five vehicles, including the lemon. 

Gross vehicle weight is also known as “curb weight.” It is the weight of the vehicle when empty. Gross vehicle weight differs from a vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which includes both the vehicle and its maximum load. 

When Lemon Law Doesn’t Apply

California lemon law doesn’t apply to every vehicle purchased in California. Lemon law won’t apply to a vehicle if:

  • The vehicle isn’t registered with the state Department of Motor Vehicles. California lemon law applies only to registered vehicles. 
  • The original or CPO warranty has expired. The vehicle must be covered by an original manufacturer’s warranty or CPO warranty when the defects arise. Defects occurring during an extended warranty, or what is known as a service contract, isn’t sufficient to trigger California’s lemon laws.
  • The vehicle was purchased in a private sale. Lemon law only applies to vehicles purchased or leased at retail. Retail purchases or leases include those made through a dealership or by contacting the manufacturer directly. Private sales, such as vehicles purchased from a neighbor or co-worker, don’t fall under the lemon law.
  • The vehicle’s problems were caused by abuse or abnormal rough use. The lemon law covers problems that occur during normal or expected vehicle use. Problems resulting from abuse or unexpected rough handling, however, are not. 

If your vehicle doesn’t meet the requirements for filing a lemon law claim, don’t give up hope. You may have other legal remedies available. An experienced Fresno lemon lawyer can help you determine your next steps.

Why Do I Need an Experienced California Lemon Lawyer?

California lemon law allows vehicle owners to bring their own claims against automakers. The law also allows vehicle owners to be represented by an experienced lawyer – and it should cost you nothing out of pocket.

Under California lemon law, a vehicle owner who wins their claim can seek four types of compensation from an automaker:

  • Reimbursement or a replacement vehicle. This is the most well-known remedy under California lemon law. The vehicle owner can choose whether the automaker repays them for the vehicle or supplies another “substantially similar” vehicle to replace the lemon. The choice is yours, not the automaker’s.
  • Incidental and consequential damages. This form of compensation is less well-known but also important. Incidental and consequential damages repay a vehicle owner for losses related to owning the lemon vehicle. For instance, towing fees for having the lemon vehicle taken to the shop are often included in calculating incidental and consequential damages. If you had to rent a car, pay for a rideshare, or buy a bus pass because your car was in the shop, these amounts might also be included.
  • Attorney’s fees and costs. California lemon law requires an automaker to pay a vehicle owner’s attorney’s fees and costs if the owner wins their lemon law claim. This requirement means you won’t have to pay your attorney out of pocket if you win. In addition, many lemon lawyers work on “contingency,” which means you won’t pay them if you lose your claim. 
  • Civil Penalties. In sum situations, where the automaker or distributor has willfully failed to comply with the California Lemon Law by failing to promptly repurchase or replace a defective vehicle, you may also be entitled to additional damages, called civil penalties. Civil Penalties can be as much as two times your actual damages.

Working with an attorney offers the best opportunity to win a lemon law claim and receive the total compensation you are owed under the lemon law. Experienced attorneys know which methods automakers use to avoid paying valid claims, and they know how to fight for their client’s rights.

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

Has Your Recent Vehicle Purchase Left You Feeling Sour?

Fresno is one of the US’s largest cities, with an extensive network of roads and freeways. Navigating Fresno often requires access to a safe, reliable vehicle. At Wirtz Law, APC, we have a success rate of more than 97 percent and have recovered more than $45 million for our clients.

If you are fed up, have had enough, and think your car is a lemon, call us at (858) 259-5009 for a free evaluation. If your vehicle is determined as a lemon, we will take your case at no charge on a contingency fee basis. Wirtz Law APC provides one of the best Fresno Lemon Law attorney services in Central California. We also provide services for Northern California, Southern California, and Eastern California lemon law claims. To learn more and to schedule a consultation with a Fresno Lemon Law attorney at Wirtz Law, APC, you can reach us through our secure online contact form, and one of our attorneys will be in touch with you shortly.

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