Purchasing a new or used vehicle is an important decision. It is one that you make after careful consideration of your needs, desires, finances, and goals. When something goes wrong with your purchase, it is only natural that you feel frustrated and want the dealer to make things right. But how do you go about this?

California’s Lemon Law

In California, consumers are protected by the “lemon law.†The lemon law (Civ. Code § 1793.22) protects consumers who purchase a vehicle without knowing it is defective. If the vehicle cannot be repaired after a “reasonable†number of attempts, the lemon law requires the manufacturer to replace or repurchase the vehicle from you.

The lemon law protects consumers from bad deals involving new or used:

· Cars

· Trucks

· RV’s

· Boats

· Watercraft

The lemon law protects consumers throughout the duration of the manufacturer’s warranty period. The lemon law idea is that you shouldn’t have to worry about defects, safety problems, or breakdowns on a vehicle you just purchased.

In California, a vehicle may be considered a lemon if:

· The manufacturer or dealer has made two or more attempts to repair a warranty problem that could cause injury or death if the vehicle is driven.

· The manufacturer or dealer has made four or more attempts to repair the same warranty problem.

· The vehicle has been out of service for 30 days or more (not consecutive) while being repaired for any number of warranty problems.

The problems must not be the result of abuse of the vehicle. Lemon law claims are handled through arbitration through a state-certified arbitration program. The arbitration process allows the consumer and manufacturer to present evidence and come to a mutual resolution.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Lemon Law Claim?

Attorneys are not required for arbitration, though it is recommended that you speak with an attorney to ensure your rights are protected. During the arbitration, you need an aggressive and knowledgeable attorney on your side to help you negotiate a resolution that preserves your rights and prevents you from further stress and harm due to a lemon.