Does Your Defective Vehicle Qualify as a Lemon?
Lemon laws vary by state. What might be considered a lemon in one state may not be considered a California lemon vehicle. Also, not all defects qualify for California lemon law. And not all defective vehicles may qualify either, depending upon their warranty status.
In California, if an authorized car dealership or motor vehicle manufacturer sells you a defective car, you may have the right to a full refund or a replacement automobile. However, you must provide them with the opportunity to repair the vehicle first.
The first step is filing a lemon vehicle claim to notify the manufacturer or car dealer of your issues and your intention to seek a solution. If you have a strong case that is difficult to deny, it is possible that the motor vehicle manufacturers may offer you a settlement offer right at the first step.
If an offer is not presented, the next step is to submit relevant documents to an arbitration board. The arbitration board reviews your case and then issues their opinions. Then, if the car owner is still not satisfied with the decision made by the board, they may file a lemon lawsuit.
But the question remains: just how many is a ‘reasonable number’ of repair attempts?
What is Considered a Valid Repair Attempt Under California Lemon Law?
A valid repair attempt is any attempt you make to bring your vehicle to an authorized dealership for repair. Even if the dealer claims they cannot fix your problem or that no problem exists, this shall be considered a valid repair attempt.
If the car’s owner detects a problem and brings the car to an independent car dealership or mechanic, this may not count as a valid repair attempt. You must notify the manufacturers and take your vehicle to authorized dealers.
Again, a reasonable number of repair attempts must be made for your vehicle to be considered a lemon.
What is a ‘Reasonable Number of Attempts’ to Fix a Defective Car?
It is necessary for a qualified mechanic to attempt repairs on a vehicle if you believe your vehicle to be a lemon. There must be a ‘reasonable number’ of repair attempts made before the car can be designated a lemon. But that’s kind of vague, isn’t it? What counts as reasonable?
What is reasonable varies from one lemon case to the next, depending upon the facts of each individual case.
California lemon law does provide rough guidelines for what should be considered reasonable, though. This is, in part, meant to prevent car manufacturers from ordering an unreasonable number of repair attempts.
Lemon Law Presumption contains these guidelines:
- If the qualifying automobile has been in the shop for more than 30 days (not necessarily consecutively) and repairs have not fixed the problems covered by your vehicle warranty.
- The car dealer or manufacturer has failed to fix the same vehicle defect after four or more attempts to rectify the problem.
- Your vehicle’s issues and defects present a serious threat to your life and the lives of your passengers. If there is a threat of bodily injury due to the defect, the car manufacturer or dealer shall be granted at least two repair attempts to rectify the problem.
If the manufacturer or dealer cannot fix the defects of your motor vehicle within a reasonable number of attempts, they must offer you a replacement vehicle or a full refund of the purchase price (the choice is up to you). Your defects must qualify under lemon law, and your vehicle must also have the necessary warranty. To learn more, please contact our lemon law firm to discuss your lemon law case in more detail.
Does the Seriousness of the Defect Affect the Number of Necessary Repair Attempts?
The seriousness of the vehicle defects absolutely influences how many repair attempts are necessary in California.
For example, if your car defect represents a safety threat to the driver, their passengers, or others they share the roads with, it may be considered a vehicle defect that must be addressed. And, if it is addressed but the repair attempts do not fix the problem, then it may be considered a lemon sooner rather than later.
Brake failures and the potential for fires may be considered serious threats to the owners and their passengers. Smaller, less important defects, such as faulty door handles, may not be considered serious enough to limit the number of repair attempts necessary.
Are There Any Additional Steps That the Car Buyer Must Take?
If you detect what you believe to be a vehicle defect but fail to contact the manufacturers of your vehicle, your case may not qualify under California lemon law. You absolutely must contact your vehicle manufacturers at least once. Then, after contacting the vehicle manufacturers, they must be given a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problem.
Additionally, it is necessary for your motor vehicle to be under a manufacturer’s warranty. If your vehicle is not under a qualifying warranty, it may not be considered a lemon in the state of California.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced California Lemon Attorney Today
In many lemon cases, it is not necessary to go to court in order for lemon law to go into effect for your case. However, it is nonetheless highly recommended that you work with experienced lemon law attorneys for legal assistance. You do not want to allow vehicle manufacturers or dealerships to abuse the term reasonable when it comes to repair attempts. And nor do you want to allow them the right to deny your vehicle as a defective lemon car.
Ibrahim Law Firm has years of experience representing difficult lemon cases in California. We would be proud to assist you as you seek a replacement vehicle or compensation for your troubles. Schedule a free consultation by calling our Los Angeles-based law firm at 626-600-0890.