Redding Lemon Law
Redding Lemon Law Attorneys
Millions of new vehicles are bought or leased in California every year. Most of these drivers get what they expect: A reliable vehicle. For some, however, ongoing vehicle problems cause stress and unexpected expenses – or even put vehicle owners, drivers, and passengers in danger.
If your vehicle has problems that haven’t been fixed after several attempts, you may have recourse under California’s lemon law. Talk to an experienced Redding lemon lawyer today to learn more.
What is California’s Lemon Law?
The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, also known as the “lemon law,” gives consumers certain rights if they purchase a car or other consumer goods that a nearby Redding, Sacramento, or other car dealership cannot repair after a reasonable number of attempts.
When it comes to vehicles, the lemon law applies when
- A vehicle is purchased or leased from a dealership; and
- An original manufacturer’s warranty or certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty is in effect.
- A defect substantially impairs use, value or safety of the vehicle
- The defect or defects remain unrepaired after a reasonable number of repairs, which can be as few as two.
California’s lemon law covers all passenger vehicles purchased for personal or household use. It covers certain parts of newly-purchased or leased motor homes. The lemon law also applies to certain small businesses in California. To be protected by the state’s lemon law, a Redding small business must meet two criteria:
- The company owns five or fewer vehicles, including the suspected lemon; and
- The suspected lemon vehicle has a gross vehicle weight of under 10,000 pounds.
The gross vehicle weight is also known as the “curb weight.” It is the weight of the vehicle when empty. When a car and owner meet these requirements, the state’s lemon law may apply to provide certain rights and forms of compensation.
Not all vehicles fall under California lemon law, however. Lemon law won’t apply when:
- The defect first occurred after the original manufacturer’s warranty or CPO warranty has expired. There needs to be more than an extended service warranty.
- The vehicle was purchased in a private sale, such as from a neighbor or a used car ad.
- The problems with the vehicle were caused by abuse or by use outside the ordinary, expected use for that vehicle.
- The vehicle belongs to a business that doesn’t meet the small business requirements under the lemon law.
However, vehicle owners who find themselves in one of these situations can still benefit from talking to an experienced attorney. While the lemon law may not apply, you may still have legal options to address your problems.
Shasta County Lemon Law Statistics
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, nearly 225,000 vehicles were registered in Shasta County in 2021. These registrations included renewals and first-time registrations of newly purchased or leased vehicles.
Between 2018 and 2021, about 7.6 million vehicles were registered in California for the first time. Only 34,397 lemon law cases were filed in California courts during that time – less than one-half of one percent of all new vehicles registered.
One reason lemon lawsuits are rare is that most lemon law cases don’t go to court. The majority of these claims are settled out of court. An experienced lemon law attorney can help you negotiate a settlement that reflects the total amount of your losses. If negotiations fail, your lawyer can help you fight for your rights in court.
Only some automakers appear in lemon lawsuits at the same rate, too. The California Public Interest Research Group found that between 2018 and 2021, the most commonly-named automakers in lemon law claims included:
- General Motors;
- Jaguar Land Rover North America;
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles;
- Nissan North America; and
- Ford Motor Company.
General Motors, for example, faced one lemon law claim for every 78 vehicles sold in California. Other automakers appeared in lemon law claims far less often. Toyota Motor Sales, for instance, was named in only one lemon law claim for every 2,029 vehicles the company sold. Similarly, Mazda Motor of America was named in only one claim for every 1,571 vehicles sold.
These numbers don’t include the lemon law disputes settled out of court. However, the numbers indicate that a track record of reliability or willingness to negotiate lemon law claim settlements may be more common among some automakers.
Filing a Redding Lemon Law Claim
If you’re having problems with your vehicle, you must talk to an attorney. California lemon law provides several ways that vehicle owners can seek compensation. There are also alternatives to trial, such as arbitration – but it is crucial to understand how these work and whether they are the right fit for your situation.
Compensation Under California Lemon Law
California’s lemon law allows vehicle owners to choose between a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price. The law also allows owners to recover other types of damages related to their lemon law claim.
The compensation rules aim to return you to the financial position you were in before your lemon problems began. To do this, the law allows vehicle owners to seek three different categories of damages:
- Refund or replacement. This is the most well-known compensation under the lemon law. A replacement vehicle must be “substantially similar” to the lemon vehicle, while a refund is calculated using an equation included in the California lemon law. A vehicle owner may choose whether they would like a refund or a replacement vehicle.
- Incidental and consequential damages. The lemon vehicle is the centerpiece of any lemon law claim, but it’s not the only source of losses for most owners. Towing bills lost wages from time spent dealing with the vehicle, and the cost of bus passes or Uber fees, so you can get where you’re going are all lemon-related losses, too. Incidental and consequential damages cover those types of losses.
- Attorney’s fees and costs. Many vehicle owners hesitate to hire an attorney for their lemon law claim. They don’t need to worry: California law requires the automaker to pay the owner’s attorney’s fees and costs if the vehicle owner wins their case. In addition, many lemon lawyers work on contingency, so they don’t charge you a fee if they win.
- Civil Penalties. California lemon law also provides for an award of civil penalties when the automaker willfully fails to repurchase or replace your vehicle after its defects qualify your SUV, EV, truck, minivan, or sedan ies as a lemon
Fighting all these types of damage can be challenging. An experienced lawyer can help you ensure you receive the total compensation available to you – including payment for your lawyer’s services.
Arbitration vs. Trial in Redding Lemon Law Claims
California automakers often encourage or even attempt to require vehicle owners to go through arbitration instead of filing a lemon law claim in court. In arbitration, an arbiter, who is supposed to be neutral, and without a jury, hears the evidence and arguments from both the vehicle owner and the automaker, then makes a decision. That decision is often binding on both parties, just as a court verdict would be, except there is no right to an appeal.
Arbitration developed as an alternative to trial, especially in specialized or technical cases. For some legal matters, arbitration is a helpful way to reduce costs without reducing the quality of a legal decision.
Research indicates that arbitration in lemon law claims may be unfairly weighted against vehicle owners and in favor of automakers. If you’re considering arbitration, talk to an experienced lemon lawyer first. An attorney can tell you whether arbitration is the right fit for your case. A lawyer can also help you understand all your legal options to make an informed choice with a complete understanding of the context.
What Happens During A Lemon Law Case? – A Guide to California Lemon Law Infographic
Contact an Experienced Redding Lemon Law Attorney To Discuss Next Steps
If you suspect your vehicle is a lemon, don’t wait: Contact an experienced Redding lemon lawyer today. At Wirtz Law APC, our legal team has helped many vehicle owners get the compensation and peace of mind they deserve. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
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 Redding Lemon Law attorney services everywhere in California, including Southern California, Northern California, Central California, and Eastern California.
When you buy a vehicle under warranty, you expect it to be safe and reliable. If your vehicle’s problems have dashed those expectations despite multiple repair attempts, talk to an experienced Redding lemon law attorney today. The team at Wirtz Law is here to answer your questions and provide guidance. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
Over 97% Success Rate
In Lemon Law Claims
Jessica and Rich were great! They made the trial process very clear and understandable. I felt very supported throughout the process. Thanks!