The lemon law claim process happens a little differently than other common claims. There are a few things that need to happen before one has a valid lemon law claim, even after the vehicle is discovered to be a lemon.
Steps Involved in Fixing an Issue
The first step in the process is to immediately contact your dealership or manufacturer, after discovering what you think to be a defect. If you notice that something is wrong with your car, and you do not think that it needs maintenance or that the issue resulted from a collision, then it very well could be a defect with one or several parts.
If the car is still within the warranty time frame, the manufacturer or dealership is required to fix the defect, after inspecting the car, locating the problem, and determining that it is a defective part. Some things to remember at this point are to document each and every visit for repairs and interactions with the dealership or manufacturer regarding the defect. Also, the manufacturer must be given a reasonable number of attempts to try and repair the defect.
The second step in the process is to make your concerns known, when going in for the repair. During the inspection and determination of the problem, the shop will create a repair order, which you will have an opportunity to review before the work is started. If one of your concerns is not reflected in the report, make your concern known again, and have it looked at, if it had not been already, before signing the repair order. It is easy to feel like you are not being heard, when taking your car in to get work done, but it is still your car after all, and you have the right to express any and all concerns before allowing work to be done.
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The next step is to give the dealer or manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defects. A reasonable number of attempts varies depending on the severity of the problem.
In the case of defects that affect the safety of the vehicle and could potentially put the driver and passengers at risk, the manufacturer generally has only one or two attempts to repair the defect, before it becomes unreasonable. In the case of a defect that does not affect the safety of the vehicle, but rather involves an electronic system, air conditioning, or corrosion, the manufacturer generally has around three to four attempts at repair before it becomes unreasonable.
Filing a Claim
If it comes to the point where the manufacturer has been given multiple attempts to repair the defect in your vehicle, or your vehicle has been out of service for thirty or more days, you likely have a basis for a lemon law claim.
Due to the complexity of California lemon laws and the uniqueness of each situation, it is best to find an attorney to consult with before filing a claim. It is highly recommended that you get the opinion from one of the attorneys in our office, so you can ask questions, learn how the process works, and find out more about your options.
It is best to file a lemon law claim as soon as you have one, meaning, as soon as you feel that the manufacturer has passed the reasonable amount of attempts line or your car has been out of commission for an unreasonable amount of time.
If you feel that you have a lemon law claim or you have questions about the process, call our office today to speak with an attorney who can answer your questions.
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Kaufman & Kavicky has spent decades helping to protect California consumers. If you believe that you have been sold a lemon, call our office today or fill out the form below for your free case evaluation. Our attorneys are ready to fight to get you out of your lemon.