Every now and then we get a client who calls us because their vehicle has had many issues over the course of their lease and they are just fed up with it. However, the client has been busy with work and has never had time to take the car to the dealership for repairs. Unfortunately for those clients, there is no recourse under the Lemon Law.
The CA Lemon Law states that the consumer must give the manufacturer of the vehicle opportunities to repair the vehicle. If after several attempts the manufacturer fails or if the vehicle goes in too many times for repairs, then the manufacturer must by back the vehicle. A lot of times clients argue with us claiming that they did not have time to take the vehicle in for repairs but that since the vehicle consistently had the same issue they should be entitled to a refund. That is not a viable argument, unfortunately. It is counter-intuitive to hold the manufacturer responsible for something for which it never had an opportunity to repair. Therefore we urge our clients to always take their vehicle into their dealership anytime the vehicle exhibits a defect. By giving the manufacturer a few opportunities to repair the vehicle you will perfect your right to a refund if the repairs fail.
Now it is not necessary for the manufacturer to completely fail in repairing the vehicle. In other words, it is possible for you to take in the vehicle four times and then lemon the vehicle and obtain a refund even if the issue does not repeat again. The argument here is that because you have lost confidence in the vehicle because the defect repeated multiple times, it is unreasonable to expect you to keep risking your safety by driving the vehicle.
On the flip side, if you experience a single defect incident and the manufacturer quickly repairs your vehicle it will be hard to argue that the vehicle is a lemon at that point. Remember that new vehicles come with a manufacturer’s warranty but not a guarantee. In other words, the manufacturer warranties that it will repair the vehicle if it has issues. The manufacturer does not guarantee that the vehicle will never have any issues. It would be too harsh to make the manufacturer buy back every vehicle that has an issue. They would go bankrupt in a month. On the flip side, the Lemon Law forces the manufacturer to buy back the vehicle if the frequency of the same issue or the total number of various issues is too high.
How much is too much you might ask? Under the statute, if the dangerous issue repeats four or more times while the vehicle has less than 18,000 miles on the odometer and is less than 18 months old than the vehicle is automatically deemed to be a lemon. Similarly, if the vehicle has several different issues or even a single issue that takes more than 30 days of repair time than the vehicle is deemed to be a Lemon. Of course, most vehicle history records fall outside of these parameters but many are still lemons. In order to properly assess whether your vehicle is or is not a lemon, you should consult an experienced lemon law attorney.
At The Margarian Law Firm for nearly 13 years, since 2006, we have been representing consumers in claims against vehicle manufacturers and retailers. If you have any concerns regarding your vehicle please call us for a free consultation. If it turns out that you have a good case we will even represent you for free and make the manufacturer pay for our efforts. Call us today at 818.553.1000.