Santa Clarita Lemon Law
Santa Clarita Lemon Law Attorneys
Santa Clarita is the third-largest city in Los Angeles County and the 17th-largest city in California. With a population nearing 230,000 people, Santa Clarita ranks in the top 100 most populous cities in the United States.
Every day, tens of thousands of Santa Clarita residents rely on their cars to get to work. Thousands of Santa Clarita small businesses also rely on business vehicles to carry out daily tasks. Thousands more who visit Santa Clarita to work, conduct business, run errands, visit friends and family, or for recreation also rely on their vehicles.
When you buy a car from a dealership or manufacturer, you trust that the vehicle will be safe and reliable. When repeated defects cause breakdowns, send you to the mechanic, or pose dangers to you and your family, that trust is violated. A Santa Clarita lemon law attorney can help you understand your legal rights and get on the road toward a safe, reliable vehicle.
Vehicle Registrations and Lemon Lawsuit Rates in Los Angeles County
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, more California vehicles are registered in Los Angeles County than in any other county. In 2021, nearly 8 million cars, trucks, trailers, and motorcycles were registered in Los Angeles County. Over 6.3 million of these vehicles were passenger cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans. Many of these were registered to individuals for use as personal or family vehicles.
Lemon lawsuits are relatively rare. Between 2018 and 2021, the State of California processed 7.6 million first-time registrations of new vehicles. During this time, 34.397 lemon law claims were filed in state courts. Put another way, between 2018 and 2021, 0.45 percent of new vehicle registrations resulted in a lemon lawsuit.
Yet the number of lawsuits doesn’t accurately reflect the number of lemon vehicles that California drivers dealt with during this time. Most lemon claims never go to court. Rather, they’re settled between the auto manufacturer and the vehicle owner, often with the help of an experienced lemon law attorney.
Research by the California Public Interest Research Group also reveals that some vehicles are more likely to be the subject of lemon law claims than others. Between 2018 and 2021, for example, General Motors faced one lemon law claim for every 78 vehicles sold in California. Toyota Motor Sales, by contrast, received one lemon law claim for every 2,029 vehicles sold. Jaguar Land Rover North America, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Nissan North America, and Ford Motor Company also saw high rates of lemon law claims per vehicle sold.
Is My Vehicle a Lemon?
Courts decide whether the manufacturer made a “reasonable” number of attempts based on the problem. For most issues, the general rule is that manufacturers get at least two tries to make the vehicle defect free.
To determine whether the problems qualify under the California Lemon law, the defects must substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle to someone in your position. The defects must also first appear and be presented for repair during the manufacturer’s new car warranty or a certified pre owned warranty. Service contracts are not the type of warranty that counts toward being a lemon. An experienced lemon lawyer is a key ally in building the correct arguments.
You and your attorney must prove that the vehicle is defective and that the lemon law does apply. Speak with us today through our online chat form.
When Lemon Law May Not Apply
Millions of vehicles travel California roads daily, and hundreds of auto sales occur in the state daily. Yet not all these vehicles are covered by California’s lemon law.
If your situation falls into any of the following categories, lemon law likely will not apply. You may, however, have other legal remedies available.
Your vehicle was never registered.
California’s lemon law does not cover vehicles that aren’t registered with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. If the owner is an active-duty military servicemember, some exceptions may apply. Talk to an attorney if you have questions about your registration status.
Your original manufacturer’s warranty or certified pre-owned warranty has expired.
California’s lemon law does not cover a vehicle unless the defects occurred before manufacturer’s original warranty or a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty expires. If the warranty doesn’t exist or expired before the problems began, the vehicle’s owner may not have a lemon law claim.
Unfortunately, an extended warranty, which is probably just a service contract, is not enough to allow a lemon law claim. Extended warranties, also known as extended service contracts, do not qualify as original warranties or CPO warranties – even if you bought them from the same dealership.
You bought your vehicle in a private sale.
California’s lemon law covers only vehicles purchased or leased “at retail.” Vehicles bought or leased from a dealership or directly from a manufacturer are covered.
Vehicles purchased from a private owner, such as a neighbor or co-worker, are not covered by the lemon law. These vehicles are purchased “as is,” without any guarantees as to their safety or reliability.
Your vehicle is a business vehicle – unless it meets the business requirements.
Not all business vehicles are covered by California lemon law – but some are. A Santa Clarita small business owner can file a lemon law claim only if:
- The business owns no more than five vehicles, including the lemon; and
- The lemon vehicle has a gross vehicle weight of fewer than 10,000 pounds.
Gross vehicle weight (GVW) is also known as “curb weight.” It is the weight of the vehicle when the vehicle is empty. Most passenger vehicles, pickup trucks, and vans have a gross vehicle weight under 10,000 pounds. Some box trucks also meet the weight requirement.
If these rules don’t apply to your business or vehicle, you cannot bring a lemon law claim. Other legal claims may be available, however. Speak to a lemon lawyer to learn more.
Your vehicle’s problems are the result of abuse, misuse, or rough handling.
California’s lemon law covers only problems that arise during typical vehicle use. An example of typical use is a family that buys a sedan, then drives it on public streets to pick up groceries, take the kids to school, or commute to work.
The lemon law doesn’t cover problems that arise because a vehicle suffered abuse or rough use. The same family that uses their sedan to go off-roading, for instance, likely will not have a lemon law claim if their off-roading activities cause problems. Off-roading is not an expected use of a family sedan, even if it results in damage or problems with the vehicle. On the other hand, a truck should be able to handle off-roading.
Choosing an Experienced Santa Clarita Lemon Lawyer
When you work with an experienced lemon lawyer, you maximize your chances of receiving all the compensation to which you are entitled under California lemon law. The law provides four categories of compensation for lemon vehicle owners:
- Refund or Replacement. Many Californians are familiar with this remedy. Lemon law allows lemon vehicle owners to choose whether they want a refund for their defective vehicle or a “substantially similar” replacement vehicle. This choice is not up to the manufacturer, but you, the consumer.
- Incidental and Consequential Damages. Owning a lemon vehicle can be expensive. You may spend thousands on towing fees. Finding alternate transportation when your vehicle is in the shop, like a rental car or a bus pass, can also cost you money. Out of pocket repair costs related to the defects are also recoverable. These losses are covered under incidental and consequential damages.
- Attorneys’ Fees. California lemon law requires automakers to pay a vehicle owner’s attorney’s fees if their vehicle is a lemon. This means you won’t pay out of pocket for the help of an experienced lemon lawyer. You can hire the best lemon law attorney and not work about the cost. For details on how lemon lawyers are compensated for their work, speak to an experienced attorney.
- Civil Penalties. When a manufacturer or distributor willfully fails to repurchase or replace a vehicle that qualifies as a lemon, then you may also be entitled to an award of additional damages, called civil penalties, that can be as much as two time your actual damages.
Life in and around Santa Clarita calls for a safe, reliable vehicle. If you’re struggling with a defective vehicle, contact the lemon lawyers at Wirtz Law today. We’ll help you understand your legal options, so you can make an informed choice about your next steps. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
What Happens During A Lemon Law Case? – A Guide to California Lemon Law Infographic
Has Your Recent Santa Clarita Vehicle Purchase Left You Feeling Sour?
At Wirtz Law, APC, our Santa Clarita Lemon Law lawyers have a success rate of more than 97 percent and have recovered more than $40 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 Santa Clarita Lemon Law attorney services in Southern California, including Newhall, Valencia, Canyon Country, Stevenson Ranch, Val Verde, and other towns in Los Angeles County. We also provide services for Northern California, Central California, and Eastern California lemon law claims. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with a Santa Clarita Lemon Law attorney at Wirtz Law, APC, you can reach us through our secure online contact form.
Over 97% Success Rate
In Lemon Law Claims
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…