What Are My Options When My Car Is a Lemon?


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Before you can exercise any of your rights under California's lemon laws, you must first make sure that your vehicle actually qualifies as a lemon.

The state of California has laws in place to protect consumers in the event that they purchase or lease a "lemon," which is a vehicle that has a serious, irreparable flaw. If you suspect that you have purchased or leased a lemon, you can take steps to resolve the issue.

Seeking Repairs
Before you can exercise any of your rights under California's lemon laws, you must first make
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sure that your vehicle actually qualifies as a lemon. In order to meet the definition of a lemon, you must allow the manufacturer to attempt to repair the problem. If the problem cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of attempts, you may have a lemon.
Meeting Other Qualifications

To be considered a lemon under California law, your vehicle must meet other qualifications as well. In general, the problem must be discovered while the car is under warranty. Further, the vehicle’s problem must substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value and/or safety.

Be sure to keep careful records of all of your interactions with the manufacturer, dealer and anyone else involved.
Refund vs. Replacement

If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, California law states that the vehicle's manufacturer must repair or replace the vehicle, depending on your preferences. If you decide you want to have the vehicle replaced, the manufacturer must provide you with another vehicle that is "substantially identical" to the faulty vehicle. On the other hand, if you choose a refund of the purchase or lease price, the manufacturer must repay you the full amount minus reductions for the mileage you have put on the faulty vehicle. You only have to refund the manufacturer the value of the miles you put on your car at the time of your first repair visit to the manufacture’s dealership.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aaron Fhima
Aaron Fhima has a long record of success taking on large defense firms. Aaron focuses on taking an aggressive approach to representing his clients’ interests, and develops creative case strategies designed to win maximum compensation as quickly as possible.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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