Lemon Law

Lemon Law Lawyer Los Angeles

Did you lease or purchase a Lemon in Los Angeles? Has the dealership tried and repeatedly failed to repair your vehicle? Nothing is more frustrating than a vehicle with defects. The defect can be an air conditioning system that simply doesn’t function that impairs your enjoyment and use of the vehicle. Worse, the defect can be a dangerous condition such as a defective fuel pump that could cause the vehicle to stall while operating at high speeds and potentially result in serious bodily harm or even death.

 

Consumers in LA rely heavily on their vehicles to safely transport their families. When you buy or lease a new vehicle, you should expect that your vehicle will perform as designed. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When one is stuck with a “lemon,” it can often feel overwhelming.

 

Fortunately, the Los Angeles, CA lemon law is a consumer friendly law that requires manufacturers who manufacture a “lemon” to make it right. If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, the manufacturer will refund your payments towards the vehicle (with an appropriate mileage offset), pay off the balance owed on the vehicle directly pay your attorney’s fees, and reimburse you for other related damages (rental, towing, etc).

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Lemon Law Lawyer Los Angeles

What is the Los Angeles, CA Lemon Law?

In 1970,  California enacted the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (“Song Beverly”) found at California Civil Code Section 1790 et. seq. requiring manufacturers to replace a defective product or reimburse the buyer if the product cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts.

What types of defects with respect to Vehicles typically constitute an actionable claim under the Los Angeles, CA Lemon Law Statute?

If a consumer experiences substantial impairment to the use, value or safety of the vehicle the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act applies. Some typical examples of defects that warrant an actionable claim under the Los Angeles, California lemon law include (but are not limited to) the following:

Transmission Failure

Acceleration Issues

Stalling

Failure to Start

Battery issues

Recurring check engine light warning

Engine misfire

Recurring airbag warning light

Malfunctioning air conditioning and heating

Malfunctioning battery

Malfunctioning locking system

Malfunctioning speedometer

Malfunctioning fuel gauge

Malfunctioning electrical system

Malfunctioning seats/seat belts

Malfunctioning side mirrors and windshield wipers

Malfunctioning headlights, brake lights

Malfunctioning brakes/ABS brake failure

Defective Fuel Pump

Paint and/or other defects on the body of the Vehicle

Steering wheel issues

Suspension Issues

Overheating

Issues concerning the cooling system

Oil leaks and oil consumption

Water leaks

Exhaust odor

Recurring and consistent issues with Bluetooth/navigation system

Please note this list is not exhaustive and only includes some of the most common examples. There are many other types of defects that may not be listed above that would qualify as a lemon.

What if the dealer cannot verify the complaint does that count as a repair attempt?

Every visit to the dealership for a repair counts as a repair attempt whether or not the dealer verifies the complaint. Therefore, take your vehicle in to the dealership as soon as possible to document your complaint. If you can establish evidence that the vehicle indeed has a valid nonconformity, all of the repair attempts would prove that the dealership failed to repair the problem after reasonable attempts.

If my vehicle qualifies as a lemon, how much do I have to pay an attorney?

NOTHING!  If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon under the Song-Beverly Warranty Consumer Act, the manufacturer will pay the attorney directly.

If my vehicle qualifies as a lemon, what damages am I entitled to?

Refund of your down payment

Refund of all of your monthly finance payments

Payoff of your existing loan

Your attorney’s fees fully paid by the manufacturer

Incidental damages/Out of pocket costs (towing, rental, etc)

However the manufacture can deduct from the total recovery the following:

    • Usage until the time of the first repair attempt for which the vehicle qualifies as a lemon
    • Factory rebates
    • Negative equity
    • Aftermarket items

How is the Mileage Offset Calculated?

The mileage offset is calculated by taking the purchase price of the vehicle and multiplying it by the miles driven by the consumer at the first repair attempt that qualifies the vehicle as a lemon and dividing it by 120,000 miles (the average life span of a vehicle in lemon law).

Here Is an Example of the How Mileage Offset Is Calculated
The purchase price of a vehicle is $25,000 dollars and it is paid entirely in cash. The consumer takes in the vehicle to the dealership for repair at 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 and 4,000 miles and the vehicle is deemed a lemon as a result of all of the four repair attempts. Hence, multiply $25,000 (purchase price) x 1,000 (first repair attempt) = 25,000,000/120,000 = $208.33. Based on this scenario, the client would receive $25,000 – $208.33 = $24,791.67 after the mileage offset is calculated.

How many consumer complaints warrant an actionable claim for a vehicle under the Los Angeles, California lemon law?

A vehicle manufacturer must repurchase or replace a vehicle if the manufacturer is unable to repair a vehicle to conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty after a reasonable number of repair attempts. Hence, the Los Angeles, California Lemon Law does not specify a specific number for “reasonable repair attempts.” Generally, if a defect could foreseeably cause serious bodily injury or death, even two repair attempts may warrant a repurchase under the Los Angeles, California lemon law. On the other hand, if the defect is relatively less serious, perhaps impacting only the value or use of the vehicle, three or more attempts may warrant a repurchase.

 

In sum, there is no golden number to determine if a vehicle qualifies as a lemon. In fact, in one case, after a manufacturing defect resulted in a fire that damaged a vehicle beyond reasonable repair, the vehicle was deemed a lemon even though no prior complaints were made. Bishop v. Hyundai Motor America (1996) 44 Cal. App. 4th 750.

 

In addition, to the “reasonable repair attempts” criteria above, within the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, there is also a presumption guideline wherein it is presumed that a vehicle is a “lemon” if the following criteria are met:

 

  1. Within 18 months of delivery or 18,000 miles on the vehicle’s odometer there have been two or more attempts to repair a defect that could potentially cause serious bodily injury or death
  2. Within 18 months of delivery or 18,000 miles on the vehicle’s odometer there have been four or more attempts to repair the same warranty problem
  3. Within 18 months of delivery or 18,000 miles on the vehicle’s odometer the Vehicle has been at the dealership for 30 cumulative (not necessarily consecutive) days for a warranty problem

 

 

If these conditions are met, there is a presumption that the vehicle qualifies as a lemon under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. This rebuttable presumption shifts the burden to the manufacturer to establish that despite the presumption, the consumer is not entitled to a replacement or refund (for instance the manufacturer may argue that the problem was not substantial).

 

Note, again that the “presumption” guideline is not the only means a vehicle qualifies as a lemon. A vehicle can qualify as a lemon after 18,000 miles and/or 18 months of delivery if the manufacturer is unable to conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty after a “reasonable number” of repair attempts. This is merely an added benefit.

The Law Offices of Alisa Goukasian Takes on Every Automaker, Including:

Los Angeles Lemon Law Attorney You Can Rely On

While you may feel helpless in this situation, we understand what you are going through and are here to help.  We have helped consumers like you get the full compensation they are entitled to after purchasing a lemon. If you are looking for a Los Angeles, California Lemon Law firm “near me”, look no further than the Law Office of Alisa Goukasian.

Los Angeles, CA Lemon Lawyer Cost And Fees

If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, the manufacturer will pay all your attorney’s fees and reimburse you for your out of pocket costs.

At the Law Office of Alisa Goukasian, most of our cases that qualify for repurchase under the Los Angeles, California lemon law resolve in just a few months and without filing a lawsuit. Our goal is to get you out of the lemon and into a safe and reliable car as quickly as possible.

Call us at (818) 242-4601 for your free consultation!