Buying a new car can be exciting, perhaps because you got to order the color, engine and specific add-ons that were important. So the frustration level will likely be just as great if that so-called “dream” SUV does not work right. Suddenly, that old reliable car you traded in is looking pretty good because there seems always to be something wrong with the SUV’s engine. It doesn’t start up as a new auto should, and then it can seem to sputter long after it should have warmed up. And the dealerships repair shop can’t seem to figure out the problem. After the third or fourth trip to the shop for the same problem, it may be time to file a lemon law claim.
Don’t make these mistakes
California has lemon laws that go a long way toward protecting consumers, but the owner should be careful if they have a lemon vehicle on their hands. To err is human, but these actions may hurt your cause more than help it:
- Yelling: The lemon laws are complicated, which can lead to frustration, but it is unhelpful to yell at customer service reps and mechanics. If there is litigation, this could be used against you.
- Bashing the dealer online: Bad reviews are fine as long as they are honest, but malicious claims do not reflect well on the owner.
- Selling or trading in the auto: Those who had a valid claim can get compensation, which can be twice the value of the vehicle and a replacement vehicle. Once the vehicle is gone, you no longer have a claim.
- Living with it: Owners can get tired of their car being in the shop and learn to live with the problem, but the manufacturer is obligated to fix vehicles under warranty. Once the warranty expires, the owner may no longer have a claim.
- Threaten to get a lawyer: The plaintiff has a right to hold manufacturers accountable by filing a claim, but it is best not to tip your hand that you want to hire an attorney or already have. This will can alert them to your intention, thus enabling them to defend themselves better.
Getting a lemon law attorney is not a mistake
Those who have a new car (or a used one under warranty) that seems to live in the repair shop can often get results by hiring a lemon law attorney who specializes in helping clients with faulty vehicles. Depending upon the circumstances, the solutions include getting a new car of equal value, cash for a buyback and even damages.