Palm Springs Lemon Law
Palm Springs Lemon Law Attorneys
Palm Springs is Riverside County’s largest city, covering approximately 94 square miles. Over ten percent of Palm Springs is included in the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians reservation, making Palm Springs the administrative capital of the state’s most populous reservation.
Palm Springs is also a popular tourist and snowbird destination. Tens of thousands of US residents move to Palm Springs in the winter to enjoy the warm, mild weather. Between November and March, the city’s population more than triples, from about 45,000 people year-round to over 120,000 in the winter months.
With so many people living in or visiting Palm Springs, reliable vehicle transportation is a must. If you’ve bought a new or certified pre-owned vehicle that has ongoing issues, talk to an experienced Palm Springs lemon law attorney today.
Lemon Vehicle Statistics in Palm Springs
The California Department of Motor Vehicles registered nearly 2.2 million vehicles in Riverside County in 2021. These registrations included autos, large trucks, trailers, and motorcycles. Passenger autos – cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs – constituted the largest category of registrations. In 2021, over 1.5 million passenger vehicles were registered in Riverside County, according to the DMV.
Most of these vehicles are not lemon vehicles. Thousands of Palm Springs residents own safe, reliable vehicles for their household or small business. When you’re not a member of this majority, however, your life can become difficult very quickly.
The DMV’s numbers include both new vehicle registrations and renewal registrations. Research examining new vehicle registrations shows that relatively few new vehicles end up with their owners filing a lemon lawsuit in court. California’s Auto Lemon Index, for instance, found that between 2018 and 2021, only 0.45 percent of new vehicle registrations were linked to a lemon lawsuit.
The number of lawsuits for lemon law claims, however, doesn’t show the entire picture. While only 10,707 lemon law cases were filed in California state courts in 2021, about 6.3 million “hazardous unrepaired recalled vehicles” were estimated to be out on California’s roads. What happens to all the lemon law claims that don’t end up in court?
Most lemon law claims don’t need to go before a judge or a jury. Instead, they are settled out of court between an automaker and an auto owner. Working with an experienced lemon law attorney offers you the best chance of standing up to an automaker’s legal department and getting the full, fair compensation you deserve under the lemon law.
How to Tell If Your Vehicle is a Lemon
Not all troublesome vehicle problems qualify for protection under California’s lemon law. Several factors can affect whether or not the lemon law applies to a particular vehicle or owner.
California’s lemon law requires a vehicle to be under warranty when the problems start. The problems must be something covered by the warranty.
By “under warranty,” the lemon law typically means either the original manufacturer’s warranty that comes with a new vehicle or the certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty that comes with a certified pre-owned vehicle bought at a dealership. An extended warranty or extended service contract may not apply.
Ownership and Use
California’s lemon law covers vehicles that are purchased at retail – from a dealership or directly from the manufacturer. It covers vehicles that Californians buy for personal, family, or household use. A car that you buy to drive to work every day, for instance, may be covered by lemon law.
Can small business owners in Palm Springs seek protection under the California lemon law? In some cases, yes. The lemon law applies to a small business’s vehicle if:
- The vehicle has a curb weight under 10,000 pounds, and
- The business owns five or fewer vehicles in total (the suspected lemon is included in the total).
Businesses that don’t meet these requirements may have other legal remedies available. Speak to an experienced auto law attorney to learn more.
California lemon law covers a wide range of vehicle malfunctions, breakages, and other problems that can occur. Lemon law cases filed in California courts in 2021 included defects in a wide range of vehicle parts and systems, like:
- Front engine mounts
- HVAC systems, including heat, AC
- Back-up cameras
- Collision and lane change sensors
- Navigation software
- Cruise control, all-wheel drive, and power steering systems
- Brakes, including emergency brakes
- Power-related problems like batteries, fuel filters and injectors, oxygen sensors, and throttle problems
- Exhaust systems
- Cooling systems
Other issues may also arise. California lemon law covers these and other issues for vehicles that meet all requirements for the law to apply.
A lemon vehicle must have ongoing issues – but before the owner goes to court, the owner must give the automaker a “reasonable” number of attempts to repair those issues. Most owners do this by bringing their vehicle to a dealership for service.
The number of repair attempts considered “reasonable” will depend on the problem your vehicle is having. Under the law, two repair attempts may be enough to qualify as a lemon. It may also depend on how long your vehicle is in the shop. For instance, California lemon law generally considers a vehicle a lemon if it is out of service for repairs for more than 30 total days.
It’s important to speak to an experienced attorney even if you suspect the lemon law won’t cover your car. Even if lemon law does not apply, you may have other legal rights and options. A lawyer can explain those options to you and help you make an informed decision about how to handle the problems with your vehicle.
What to Know When Choosing an Experienced Palm Springs Lemon Law Attorney
Lemon law attorneys specialize in helping California vehicle owners navigate the lemon law’s requirements. When looking for an attorney, keep the following points in mind.
How Lemon Law Attorneys Are Compensated for Their Work
For many vehicle owners, the cost of hiring a lawyer may feel too expensive – especially if you’ve already spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on towing fees and vehicle repairs.
Fortunately, California lemon law contains a provision that allows vehicle owners to hire an experienced lawyer without draining their wallets. Under the lemon law, if an automaker is found liable, the automaker pays the vehicle owner’s attorney fees.
In addition, many lemon law attorneys work on contingency. If the lawyer doesn’t recover compensation for you, you do not pay attorney fees. Talk to an attorney about how they’ll be paid before choosing the one you’ll work with.
Arbitration: What to Ask Before You Accept
Many automakers try to push vehicle owners into arbitration instead of a court case. Vehicle manufacturers claim that arbitration is a faster and less expensive way to deal with lemon law claims.
In arbitration, issues are decided by a third-party arbitrator instead of a judge or jury and without full rights of discovery. Even the evidence rules are different. The arbitrator’s decisions are generally binding, and opportunities to appeal them may be limited.
Arbitration can be faster than a courtroom trial – but it can take more time than a negotiation between an automaker and an experienced lawyer. Also, arbitration statistics demonstrate that in lemon law claims, automakers tend to win cases even when the vehicle owner has a valid claim under state law.
Your best decision is to speak to a lemon law attorney before accepting an automaker’s offer of arbitration. An attorney can tell you whether arbitration is a good choice in your specific case.
Damages in Palm Springs Lemon Law Claims
Many Palm Springs residents have heard that if your vehicle is a lemon, California lemon law requires the automaker to provide either a refund or a replacement vehicle – and that you can choose which one you want.
These provisions do appear in the state’s lemon law. However, a refund or replacement vehicle is not the only type of compensation you can recover in a lemon law claim.
In some instances, in addition to a repurchase, you may also recover civil penalties up to two times your actual damages. Civil penalties are to punish the auto makers for willfully failing to follow the California lemon laws.
As mentioned above, California lemon law also allows a vehicle owner to recover attorney’s fees from an auto manufacturer if the vehicle is a lemon. You may pay nothing out of pocket for representation from an experienced lemon law attorney in this situation.
A third type of compensation offered by California lemon law is repayment for “incidental and consequential damages.” These are financial losses you wouldn’t have had if the vehicle was not a lemon.
Common examples of incidental and consequential damages include:
- Towing fees if your vehicle regularly breaks down.
- Damage to personal property caused directly by the vehicle defect.
- The cost of rideshares, bus passes, or other alternative transportation you needed because your vehicle was in the shop or would not run.
No one buys a vehicle hoping it will be a lemon. Most people buy a vehicle expecting exactly the opposite – that they will receive a reliable, trustworthy vehicle they can use for many years.
If you’re facing the stress and uncertainty of life with a lemon vehicle, don’t wait. Talk to an experienced Palm Springs lemon law attorney at Wirtz Law APC today. We’ve helped clients throughout California understand their legal options and secure the compensation they deserve under California’s lemon law. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with one of our lawyers.
Over 97% Success Rate
In Lemon Law Claims
Words can not explain how grateful I am for such a great team. Every single person at Wirtz law was amazing. They gave me nothing but kindness and encouragement during such a stressful time in my life. They were always willing to help in any way. My attorney Jessica was so outgoing and quick with…