Did You Unknowingly Lease a Lemon?
For car owners looking to own or lease a new vehicle, they have many options to consider. One of those considerations might be whether it’s smarter to buy or lease a new car. Ultimately, that decision is up to the consumer and may depend on their finances or where they expect the future to take them. One other thing to consider, however, is the prospect of vehicle repairs for defects and non-conformities.
What if your car is a lemon?
For new vehicles, the process is pretty straightforward. If it’s under warranty, you can take it to undergo repairs. Then, if multiple repair attempts prove unsuccessful in correcting the nonconformity, you may make a California Lemon Law claim. If the defects present a threat to the vehicle’s occupants or otherwise impair their ability to use the car and its features as intended, it may be declared a lemon. At this point, the newly purchased car may be exchanged for another car, or the car buyer may receive a refund.
But what if the lemon car was leased instead of being purchased outright? Luckily, the same requirements for purchased cars apply to leased vehicles in California. There are, however, certain requirements that must be met for it to be covered by California Lemon Law.
What Qualifies as a Lemon Car?
For a defective car to qualify as a lemon in California, it must meet certain criteria.
The qualifications for a lemon vehicle include the following:
- The defect must represent a threat to the safety of the vehicle’s occupants. Failing that, the defects must substantially impair the function and value of the vehicle. The defect cannot be caused by driver abuse of the vehicle or normal wear and tear.
- The vehicle must be under warranty. This warranty could either be the original manufacturer warranty, a dealership warranty, or a certified pre-owned (CPO) limited warranty.
- After taking the car home and discovering the defects, the manufacturer or car dealer must be given a ‘reasonable number’ of attempts to repair the defect. Usually, they are given two or three attempts.
- The car must be undrivable or out of service for at least 30 days due to repairs or lack of function. These 30 days do not need to be consecutive.
Which Civilian Cars Receive the Most Safety Complaints?
Some models of civilian vehicles have a reputation for safety complaints and known defects.
The vehicle makes with the highest safety complaints include:
- Chrysler 300.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee.
- Toyota Prius.
- Ford Edge.
- Dodge Caravan.
- Nissan Murano.
What About Leased Company Cars?
Leased cars reserved for company use may also be covered under Lemon Law. However, there are additional restrictions.
In addition to the previously mentioned qualifications, defective leased cars for businesses can only be called lemons if the business has registered five or fewer vehicles to its fleet and each vehicle weighs 10,000 pounds or less.
What Type of Compensation Could You Recover with the Help of a California Lemon Law Lawyer?
If your defective car meets the qualifications for a lemon vehicle under California law, you may be entitled to recover a refund or a replacement vehicle.
If you recover compensation in the form of a refund, you may receive your original down payment, monthly payments, expenses related to the defect’s repairs, and other fees relating to the purchase and maintenance of the vehicle.
Do not stop making monthly payments until the refund or replacement is finalized!
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Lemon Law Attorney Today
If you fear that your leased car is a lemon, you may have legal options for recovering a refund or a replacement vehicle. However, there are many eligibility requirements that your car must meet, and the process for filing a Lemon Law claim is not always a simple one. That’s why it’s essential that you work with an experienced California Lemon Law attorney.
The Ibrahim Law Firm serves clients across California with their Lemon Law concerns. We offer personal, client-focused legal services. The manufacturer or the dealership pays our legal fees, not our clients.
To schedule a free consultation, call our law offices at 626-600-0890.