Cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, ATVs, even boats all qualify for Lemon law protection to the consumer. In the first 18,000 miles or 18 months, the vehicle can be brought in as few as two times to fix an issue that could cause severe injury or death, or four times to get a problem fixed if it is non-life-threatening. California’s Lemon law can get owners new vehicles that are the same or similar or a cash refund (minus the devaluing due to the owner’s use in-between visits to the mechanic). The owner may also get damages for the cost of towing, rental cars and other related expenses.
Strengthening a case
Unfortunately, manufacturers are not always forthright in settling Lemon law disputes. The owner must often take steps to prove that they did not abuse the vehicle and that it is legally a lemon. Here are several tips for gathering the necessary evidence:
- Save everything: Keep records of the purchase contract, warranty book, repair orders, service records, and the owner’s manual that came with the vehicle.
- Write it down: Even with the above documentation, it can help to write down instructions, conversations with dealership staff and mechanics. Save emails or voice mails.
- Look for service bulletins: These are notices from the manufacturer that alert dealers of any defects or repairs that need to be done. These are not public knowledge, but they often can be found online. Owners can also ask dealers whether there is a service bulletin.
- Make a timeline: This can also prove a point about the number of attempts that were made to fix a vehicle. The owner should also include the length of each visit to the mechanic.
Some attorneys specialize in Lemon law
Manufacturers or dealers will often dispute the validity of a Lemon law claim using their legal staff. So, owners often find it helpful to have a Lemon law attorney file the claim and protect the owner’s interests. The manufacturer pays these attorneys’ fees if the owner wins their claim. The attorney receives no fee if she or he loses the suit.