Oceanside Lemon Law

Oceanside Lemon Law

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Oceanside Lemon Law Attorneys

Millions of drivers travel in Oceanside and San Diego County each day. They include families traveling for errands and events, workers going to and from work, and visitors exploring attractions in Oceanside, La Jolla, and Old Town San Diego.

Everyone who enters a vehicle in Oceanside wants that vehicle to run reliably and safely. When an ongoing problem with a car undermines that reliability and safety, vehicle owners can be left scrambling to find transportation, deal with unexpected repair bills, and manage the stress of unforeseen breakdowns.

If your vehicle is under warranty, yet the dealership can’t seem to fix its problems, talk to an experienced Oceanside lemon law attorney today. The team at Wirtz Law APC is here for you. 

What is California’s Lemon Law?

California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act provides protections for California consumers, including those who purchase motor vehicles. Vehicle owners who face ongoing issues may seek protection from California’s lemon law if:

  • The car was purchased or leased at retail, such as from a dealership or directly from the manufacturer; and
  • The vehicle was under an original manufacturer’s warranty or certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty when the problems appeared. 
  • The defects were not repaired after a reasonable number of attempts, which can be as few as two time
  • The defects substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle.

California lemon law covers cars, trucks, SUVs, EVs, Hybrids, and other vehicles purchased for household, family, or personal use. It covers certain parts of motor homes. The lemon law even applies to some small business vehicles.

An Oceanside small business may be covered by the lemon law if:

  • The vehicle was purchased or leased at retail and was under warranty;
  • The car has a total weight (when empty) of under 10,000 pounds; and
  • The business owns five or fewer cars, including the suspected lemon. 

California’s lemon law covers not all vehicles and vehicle problems. Vehicle owners may still benefit from speaking to an experienced lawyer to learn about other legal options. 

Not all vehicles or vehicle owners are covered by California lemon law. For example, lemon law won’t apply if:

  • The vehicle’s original or CPO warranty has expired – even if the owner paid for an extended warranty that is still in place.
  • The vehicle’s damage results from rough use or abuse beyond what the car was reasonably designed to handle. 
  • The vehicle was purchased in a private sale, not from a manufacturer or dealership. 
  • The vehicle is too large for the business rules to apply, or the business has too many cars to fall under the lemon law. 

Lemon law may not cover a vehicle, but other rules may still apply. When you speak to an attorney, you can learn more about your options and how to protect your legal rights. 

San Diego County Lemon Law Statistics

San Diego County is one of the busiest counties in California for vehicle registrations. In 2021, the California Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 3,038,801 vehicle registrations in San Diego County. These registrations included cars, trucks, trailers, and motorcycles. They also had both registration renewals and first-time registrations of newly-purchased or leased vehicles. 

In just four years – from 2018 to 2021 – California vehicle owners filed 7.6 million new registrations with the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Most of these new vehicles met their owners’ expectations. In 34,397 instances, however, vehicle owners filed lemon lawsuits to get compensation for lemon vehicles.

In thousands of other lemon cases, vehicle owners could get compensation from automakers without filing a lawsuit. An experienced Oceanside lemon lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement that fairly compensates you for your losses – and if you need to go to trial, your lawyer will be ready. 

Lemon lawsuit statistics indicate that some automakers appear in lemon law claims more often than others. Between 2018 and 2021, for example:

No automaker is immune to all California lemon law claims. A reputation for reliability and a willingness to negotiate a settlement may reduce the number of times an automaker’s name appears in a lemon lawsuit court filing. 

Filing a Lemon Law Claim

California allows vehicle owners to pursue lemon law claims without the help of a lawyer. An attorney, however, can be your best ally in a lemon law case. 


First, your attorney can help ensure you receive all the compensation you are owed under the lemon law. 

California lemon law allows vehicle owners to seek three different categories of damages:

  • A replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price (your choice). 
  • Incidental and consequential damages.
  • Attorney’s fees and costs. 

Most vehicle owners focus on the replacement or refund for a good reason. Getting a safe, reliable vehicle is the primary goal of your repair attempts and your decision to bring a lemon law claim. Yet the other two categories of damages can be just as valuable. 

Incidental and consequential damages cover any losses you’ve faced that wouldn’t have occurred if your vehicle hadn’t been a lemon. Common types of incidental and consequential damages include towing fees and alternative transportation costs. 

California lemon law requires automakers to pay attorneys’ fees if they are held liable in a lemon law claim. If you win your case, you don’t have to pay your lawyer – the automaker does. On top of this, many experienced lemon law firms work on contingency, which means you don’t pay your attorney if you lose your case. This arrangement encourages lawyers to fight to win each case and allows access to legal remedies affordable for owners of lemon vehicles. 

To help your lawyer prove the total compensation you’re owed, start by collecting all your paperwork and keeping it in one safe place. Any receipts, repair bills, and other information related to the cost of your vehicle problems should go into this collection of paperwork. These items help demonstrate what you’ve lost by being saddled with a lemon vehicle. 

There is actually a fourth category of damages called civil penalties.  When the automaker willfully fails to buy back your car or replace it, additional damages up to two times the amount of your actual damages can be awarded as well.


Arbitration has become an option to handle the number of lemon law claims. Arbitration is an alternative to a courtroom trial. In arbitration, both sides present their case to a neutral arbiter – usually a professional with experience in lemon law. The arbitrator makes a decision, which is often binding on both parties. 

Arbitration can be an efficient and cost-effective alternative to trial in some situations. Research indicates, however, that it is not always the best choice in California lemon law claims. Many lemon law cases submitted to arbitration are decided in favor of the automaker, even when the evidence demonstrates that the vehicle owner has a valid legal claim.

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

Contact an Experienced Oceanside Lemon Law Attorney To Discuss Next Steps

It can be tempting to accept an automaker’s offer of arbitration. Speak to an experienced attorney before you make any decisions, however. Lemon law attorneys have long experience with the legal process, including arbitration. Your lawyer can tell you whether arbitration is a good fit in your situation – and, if not, what your options are. 

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 a lemon, we will take your case at no charge to you on a contingency fee basis. Wirtz Law APC provides one of the best Oceanside Lemon Law attorney services everywhere in California, including Southern California, Northern California, Central California, and Eastern California.

Lemon vehicles cause worry, stress, and unexpected expenses. They can even put you and your family at risk of injury. If you have a lemon on your hands, don’t wait: Talk to the experienced Oceanside lemon law attorneys at Wirtz Law today. Reach out to us today for a free and confidential consultation.

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Wirtz Law was handed my 3-year-old automobile case by another firm with only 1 month to prepare for trial. They put all of their expertise into their preparation for my case. Richard Wirtz is not only a brilliant lawyer he is a wonderful human being. Jessica Underwood was there anytime I had a concern and…

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4370 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 800
San Diego, CA 92122
Phone | (858) 259-5009

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Los Angeles, CA 90024

Phone | (858) 259-5009

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Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Phone | (858) 259-5009