Sacramento Lemon Law

Sacramento Lemon Law

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Sacramento Lemon Law Attorneys

Sacramento is the hub of California’s political processes. It’s also a robust urban center in its own right. Sacramento is the sixth-largest city in California and one of the top ten largest capital cities in the US. The greater Sacramento area supports a population of over 2.6 million, according to the 2020 census.

All this activity means that Sacramento’s roads are full of cars, pickups, minivans, EVs, and SUVs owned by Sacramento residents, workers, and visitors. Vehicles owned by local small businesses are also on the roads each day. 

Everyone who buys or leases a new vehicle expects their new vehicle to meet certain standards of safety and reliability. When a vehicle fails to meet these standards, the results can range from ongoing inconveniences to a threat to life or health. 

California lemon law gives vehicle owners a way to seek compensation from automakers if a vehicle has one or more defects that can’t be repaired in a reasonable time or a reasonable number of attempts. To learn more, talk to an experienced Sacramento lemon law attorney today. The team at Wirtz Law is here to help. 

Lemon Vehicle Statistics in Sacramento

Over 1.3 million vehicles were registered in Sacramento County in 2021, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These registrations included nearly 1 million passenger automobiles and over 230,000 trucks. Only six California counties had higher total vehicle registrations in 2021. 

These numbers include both new and renewal registrations. Among newly-registered vehicles in California, very few become the subject of lemon lawsuits in state courts. The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) determined in one study that only 0.45 percent of new vehicle registrations between 2018 and 2021 appeared in lemon lawsuits.

While the rate of court cases involving lemon vehicles in California is low, the actual rate of lemon vehicles is higher. Most lemon law cases don’t end with a jury trial in court. But if it does, you need experienced lemon law trial attorneys. California law provides ways for lemon vehicle owners to settle their claims with automakers without the cost of a trial. An experienced lemon law attorney can help you ensure your settlement fairly and fully reflects the losses you’ve experienced. 

How Can I Tell If My Vehicle is a Lemon?

California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act provides remedies for consumers who buy or lease a vehicle at retail only to discover the vehicle is a lemon. For the lemon law to apply to a particular situation, the vehicle, and its owner or lessee must meet certain minimum requirements.

Warranty Requirements

The lemon law covers defects in vehicles that are under an original warranty or a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty. New vehicles are typically covered by an original warranty, while a certified pre-owned vehicle may come with a CPO warranty. 

A vehicle is not covered under the lemon law if an original or CPO warranty wasn’t in effect when the problems began. An extended warranty, also known as an extended service contract, isn’t enough to trigger lemon law coverage. You may have other options even if your original or CPO warranty has expired, however. Ask an attorney any specific questions you have about your situation or vehicle. 

Ownership Requirements

Vehicles purchased or leased for personal use are typically covered by California’s lemon law. This includes a vehicle you bought or leased for your household or family to use, as well as a vehicle you bought solely for yourself. 

California lemon law also applies to some vehicles owned by small businesses. A business vehicle is covered by lemon law if the business owns five or fewer vehicles total and the suspected lemon has a total curb weight under 10,000 pounds. Businesses that don’t meet these requirements are likely not covered by lemon law, but they may have other legal remedies available. 

Vehicle or Equipment Requirements

California’s lemon law covers cars, pickup trucks, vans, EVs, and SUVs that meet the warranty and ownership requirements. The lemon law also covers other types of vehicles, including dealer-owned vehicles and vehicles kept for test driving or demonstration purposes. 

Certain types of vehicle equipment or parts are covered by the lemon law as well. A motor home’s drive train, chassis, and chassis cab are included under the lemon law, as long as other requirements are also met. 

Repair Attempt Requirements

California law requires a vehicle owner to show that the vehicle’s manufacturer had a “reasonable” number of opportunities to repair the vehicle yet failed to do so. The number of attempts considered “reasonable” depends on the problem and the circumstances. However, at the lemon law at least two repair attempts.  

Another way to demonstrate that the manufacturer had a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle is by counting the days the vehicle has been in the manufacturer’s custody (usually at a dealership) for repairs. The more days your car has spent in the shop, the more likely it is that a court will find the manufacturer received its reasonable number of opportunities to fix the problem. 

When Did the Problem Start?

Any problem that is covered by the warranty and appears while the warranty is in effect may qualify a vehicle owner for compensation. 

If you’re uncertain how to determine exactly when the problem began, ask a lemon lawyer for help. An experienced attorney can provide insight. 

A lemon law claim must be filed within 4 years. Check with an experienced Sacramento lemon law attorney to see if your vehicle qualifies for repurchase or replacement.

Why Choose an Experienced Sacramento Lemon Lawyer?

California law does not require vehicle owners to work with a lemon law attorney. If you own a suspected lemon, you may seek to hold the automaker accountable without a lawyer’s help. Working with an experienced lawyer, however, provides several benefits.

An experienced lawyer’s help doesn’t have to cost you anything out of pocket.

California lemon law requires an automaker to pay for a vehicle owner’s attorney’s fees and costs if the vehicle owner wins their claim. In addition, many experienced lemon lawyers work on contingency – which means they won’t charge you a fee if they can’t recover compensation for you. You can often work with a lawyer without paying attorney’s fees out of pocket.

Your lawyer knows how to handle questions about arbitration.

Many automakers push vehicle owners to bring their claims to arbitration. Automakers often say that arbitration is a quicker and less expensive way to settle claims than a court trial. While arbitration can be quicker and less costly, it is also often weighted in favor of automakers. An attorney who is on your side will give you an honest, informed opinion about whether arbitration is a good choice in your case一or whether it will cost you a fair settlement.

Your lawyer can fight for the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to under the lemon law.

Many California vehicle owners know that California lemon law requires automakers to provide either a replacement vehicle or a “buyback” amount in cash. Many Californians also know that the lemon law allows them to choose whether they want a refund or a replacement vehicle.

California lemon law also allows vehicle owners to recover other types of compensation as well. For instance, the law states that automakers must pay attorney’s fees for vehicle owners who can demonstrate they have a lemon. 

The lemon law also allows vehicle owners to recover “incidental and consequential damages.” These are losses you have because you had to deal with a lemon vehicle. For instance, towing bills are a common type of incidental and consequential damages. The money you spent on alternate forms of transportation, like Uber or a bus pass, because your car was in the shop may also fall in this category. An experienced lemon lawyer can help you ensure that an automaker repays you for these losses as well.

An experienced attorney may also be able to recover civil penalties against the automaker for its willful failure to buy back your vehicle without the assistance of counsel.  

An attorney can help reduce the stress and uncertainty of owning a lemon vehicle.

Owning an unreliable vehicle can cause considerable stress. Repeated vehicle malfunctions or breakdowns are especially burdensome when you’ve just purchased or leased a new vehicle. You expected this vehicle to be safe and reliable, yet it keeps proving the opposite is true.

Pursuing your own claim against an automaker adds to your stress and distraction levels. Most California vehicle owners don’t have much experience with the legal system or with lemon law claims. Learning all the rules and procedures required to bring your claim successfully can take considerable time and energy – resources you could use for other things.

An experienced lemon law attorney takes this load off your shoulders. You can focus on your work, family, and other important matters while your lawyer fights for the compensation you deserve.

If your newly purchased or leased vehicle has presented you with ongoing issues, stress over its unreliability, or mounting repair bills, you may have a lemon on your hands. Talk to the experienced Sacramento lemon law attorneys at Wirtz Law APC today. We’ll help you understand your legal options, so you can take an informed next step. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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Where do I even start? The Wirtz Law Group is undeniably a 5-star group of attorneys. Professionalism, humbleness and just plain human people are all understatements of what you experience with this firm. Rich has been such a blessing to not only our case but our family. Jessica has been such a fighter for us…

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