Experience has taught us that staying informed is the best method to avoiding a catastrophe. However, if you find yourself caught unaware and stuck with a lemon vehicle, we have compiled a list of helpful tips and considerations of what you can do to navigate this process.
1.) Keep Records
If you think you have a lemon, and want to see if you qualify for compensation, buyback or a trade-in, then keep accurate records of repair visits. At this point, you have probably gone in for repairs a couple of times for the same problem. Document what date you went in, what the repair was for, what the diagnosis was, etc. Similarly, after phone conversations either with dealerships, the authorized repair shop, or manufacturing representative, note the details and advice you were given in the conversation. This will greatly inform your lemon law attorney and will speed up the process of evaluation, should you be eligible.
2.) Save Repair Documents
Every time you visit a repair shop, you are able to request an invoice or print-out of what your visit was regarding. If they are requiring you to wait for a car part to be ordered, be sure to have the repair dealership provide you an invoice for each time you visit the shop. Keep the documents and of service repair notes, as every trip recorded will count for a “reasonable attempt to repair.” If you do not protect your consumer rights by keeping appropriate documentation of repair attempts and communications with the manufacturer, you risk losing the chance to win your case and receiving due compensation.
3.) “trade-ins” or “settlements” from Manufacturers
Automaker’s representatives will often try to mislead people into believing that they do not qualify for support from California lemon law. They may convince consumers that their best option for solving the problem is to trade the lemon vehicle in for a new one. Though in some cases a replacement vehicle is a suitable choice, this measure usually results in a loss in equity and higher vehicle payments for the individual. If you are offered a “settlement” it might be for far less than you may qualify for, and not as much as a lemon law lawyer could help you secure. If manufacturers attempt to offer this kind of deal, consult an attorney for legal advice about the best course of action.
4.) Hire a California Lemon Law Lawyer
If you believe your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, then immediately reach out to a lemon law lawyer to evaluate the situation and consider your options. They have studied the intricacies, the ins and outs of lemon laws and know how to protect their client’s interests. Consumers in the past have experienced cases where manufacturers refuse to comply with buy-back requests, even when the vehicle clearly qualified for repurchase. Such scenarios reflect the necessity of having legal representation from those with the experience to guide you through the complex process. Do not waste time trying to work with the manufacturer directly when having legal representation will save you frustration, and will help you avoid unfair dealings.
5.) Do your homework
Before selecting a lemon law lawyer in California, do your research and ensure that your lawyer has the proper experience, credentials, and peer-recognized skills sufficient to represent your case. At California Lemon Law Center, our Managing Attorney Lucy Kasparian has been awarded the peer-nominated distinction of “Rising Star” by the Super Lawyers magazine for several years, due to her ethical and diligent legal representation of lemon law clients.
6.) Up-Front Charges
Verify that your lemon law attorney will not charge you at the offset. The California lemon law specifies that all payments of the lawyer fees and costs are the responsibility of the car manufacturer when a judgment is awarded to the consumer. California Lemon Law Center abides by this rule and does not charge any out-of-pocket costs for our clients. From the initial phone interview, paperwork exchange and filing process, our clients do not pay a dime.
7.) Reasonable Estimates
If your attorney cannot initially provide you with a reasonable estimate of how much you can expect out of a settlement, or what your refund repurchase might be, then they may not have adequate experience with lemon law. Lucy Kasparian has dealt with over 2,000 successful California lemon law cases, and we are confident that we can provide you with accurate assessments and expectations, along with the best strategy on how to move forward.
8.) Steer Clear of Lemons in the Future
Though the very nature of lemon vehicles is that you never know when a car may malfunction, there are precautions that can be taken before purchasing a vehicle. Refer to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)website to see if there are recurring reports of problems, defects or malfunctions in the make and model of the automobile you are considering for purchase. This is one of the greatest preventative measures one can take against purchasing a lemon vehicle.