Temecula Lemon Law

Temecula Lemon Law

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Temecula Lemon Law Attorneys

With a population of just over 110,000 people in 2020, Temecula, California, is one of Riverside County’s most popular places to live, work, and visit. Temecula gives visitors and residents alike easy access to local wine country and Old Town Temecula, as well as to yearly attractions like the annual balloon and wine festival and the international film festival. 

As part of the Inland Empire region, Temecula hosts not only its residents but also millions of visitors each year. Every day, thousands of people pass through Temecula for work, school, leisure, vacation, and other purposes. Some visitors stay in Temecula for a day, week, or longer, while others merely rely on the city’s streets to ensure they can carry out essential tasks like making deliveries or visiting business clients.

Regardless of their purpose, everyone driving a vehicle in Temecula shares a common need: They need that vehicle to be safe and reliable for the goals and expectations they have in mind. When a newly-purchased or leased vehicle poses ongoing problems, that need isn’t met – and it can cause severe stress or even put drivers’ and passengers’ lives at risk. 

If your vehicle has persistent problems despite multiple repair attempts, you may have a lemon on your hands. Talk to the experienced Temecula lemon lawyers at Wirtz Law APC to learn more about your legal rights and options. 

Temecula Lemon Law Statistics

Riverside County is the third largest California county in terms of vehicle registrations. The California Department of Motor Vehicles recorded over 2.1 million vehicle registrations in Riverside County in 2021, including over 1.5 million passenger vehicle registrations. 

These registrations included both registrations of new vehicles and registrations of vehicles that have been on the road for many years. Among new vehicles, the rate of lemon lawsuits filed is relatively low. 

Research by the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) found, for example, that between 2018 and 2021, the California Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 7.6 million new vehicle registrations. During this time, California state courts received 34,397 filings of lawsuits under the state’s lemon law.

These numbers demonstrate that only about 0.45 percent of new vehicle purchases end with a lemon law claim filed in a state court. The actual number of lemons on California roads is higher, however. Most lemon law claims don’t require a lawsuit to resolve. Rather, they are settled between the vehicle’s owner and the auto manufacturer, often with the help of an experienced lemon law attorney, rather than going to court. 

Is My Vehicle Covered by California’s Lemon Law?

Millions of vehicles are sold in California every year. They include new vehicles and pre-owned vehicles, vehicles sold at dealerships, and vehicles purchased privately.

Not all of these vehicles are covered by California lemon law. Lemon law only applies when all the following conditions are met:

  • Your vehicle was purchased in California. Active military service members may meet an exception to this rule, allowing them to bring a claim even if they bought their vehicle in another state. Talk to an experienced lemon lawyer to learn more.
  • You bought your vehicle at retail. Purchases from dealerships or directly from the manufacturer count as retail purchases. Purchases in private sales, such as from a neighbor, do not count. 
  • Your defects occurred during your original warranty or certified pre-owned warranty. The problems which make your vehicle a lemon must happen during manufacturer’s new car warranty or certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty. A third party extended warranty is really just a service contract and will not count for California’s lemon law.
  • Your vehicle’s problems occurred during ordinary or expected use. Issues that come from unreasonable or unauthorized of a vehicle aren’t covered by the lemon law.
  • Your vehicle is primarily for personal, family, or household use. Some businesses can still file claims under the state’s lemon law,  if they meet certain criteria.

Generally, California businesses aren’t covered by the lemon law. There are exceptions for certain small businesses and business vehicles, however. You may be able to bring a claim under the lemon law for your business vehicle if:

  • You have five or fewer business vehicles total, including the lemon, and
  • The lemon vehicle weighs less than 10,000 pounds.

To calculate the weight for lemon law purposes, use the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight (GVW) or “curb weight.” This is the total weight of the vehicle when it is empty. This number is often lower than the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which measures the total weight the frame can hold when it is supporting both the vehicle itself and the vehicle’s maximum load.

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

How to Win a California Lemon Law Claim

To win a lemon law claim, a vehicle owner and their attorney must prove that the vehicle is a “lemon” as defined by California law. The problems or defects in the car must substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle to someone in your situation. You must prove that you presented the car for repairs a reasonable number of times.  Sometimes, as few as two repair attempts may be enough to be unreasonable. How many attempts count as “reasonable” depends on each vehicle’s specific problems and efforts made to repair the vehicle. 

Another factor courts may consider is how long the vehicle has been out of service while it waits for repairs. For this reason, it’s valuable to have an experienced lemon law attorney on your side. At Wirtz Law, we understand the frustrations that come with handling a lemon vehicle. Let us help you get the most money for your leased or purchased car.

What Will My Lemon Lawyer Fight For?

Automakers typically employ both a department of full-time attorneys. These lawyers specialize in knowing the automaker, its vehicles, and state and federal laws inside and out. In addition, the automakers also hire armies of private trial lawyers to defeat your claim for a buy back. Without an experienced attorney on your side, you face a significant disadvantage when facing off against an automaker’s lawyers.

Your California lemon law attorney will fight for the full compensation you’re owed under California law if you have a lemon vehicle. This compensation includes four categories: A refund or replacement vehicle, incidental and consequential damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and sometimes a civil penalty.

A refund or replacement vehicle compensates you for the lemon vehicle itself. California law requires automakers to provide either a “substantially similar” replacement or a refund calculated according to rules set out in the lemon law. As the owner of a proven lemon vehicle, you may choose which one you prefer.

Incidental and consequential damages compensate you for other losses you may have experienced while dealing with your lemon vehicle. Towing fees are one example of these damages. Another example is Uber costs, taxi fare, or bus passes you needed so you could get to work, school, and other essential events while your lemon was out of service. Your lawyer can help you determine which costs fall in this category – and fight to get them repaid.

Attorney’s fees and costs. California lemon law requires an automaker to pay a vehicle owner’s attorney’s fees and costs if the vehicle owner wins their lemon law claim. This requirement allows vehicle owners to work with experienced lemon law attorneys without worrying about the costs of representation. In addition, a lemon lawyer may agree to work on “contingency,” so that you don’t pay attorney’s fees if the lawyer is unable to recover compensation for you. In other words, if you don’t win there should be no charge to you.

Civil Penalties.  California’s lemon law includes a provision for civil penalties to be paid by the automaker to the consumer when the automaker has willfully failed to buy back or replace a vehicle that qualifies as a lemon. When willfulness is proven, you may also be entitled to additional damages in an amount as much as two times your actual damages.

Speak with a Temecula Lemon Law Attorney Today

When you buy or lease a new or certified pre-owned vehicle, you trust that you’re getting a safe, reliable source of transportation. A lemon vehicle betrays that trust. Instead of safety and reliability, you get endless anxiety, stress, and frustration – or even a risk to your health. 

If you’re dealing with a lemon vehicle, talk to the experienced Temecula lemon law attorneys at Wirtz Law APC. We’ll help you understand your legal rights and take the steps you need to protect yourself and your loved ones. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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