Picture this scenario: you just bought this amazing-looking car, at a bargain price. Everything seemed perfect, and you enjoyed that baby quite a lot in the beginning. However, not even a few weeks pass, and you take the car into service. And then you take it again. And again. And again.
All of us know what we should do when life gives us lemons – but what should we do when that lemon is a car? Now you are stuck paying a loan on a car that keeps breaking down. Is there anything that you can do about that? Well, the first thing you should do is to check with californialemonlawguide.com.
What Is a “Lemon” Car?
If you bought an old or a new car that keeps breaking down, that car is automatically branded a “lemon.” Lucky for you, there is a law that protects you in this case – namely, the Lemon Law. This law protects you for one year after buying a car.
There are various circumstances in which the Lemon Law might apply. For example, if you fix the same issue three times and the car still refuses to work, or if your car was stuck in service for repairs for more than 15 days, you are eligible for compensation.
Bear in mind that before your car gets branded a “lemon,” the seller will have to make several attempts to fix it. If the problem posed a serious safety concern (such as the steering not working), it’ll be considered a lemon after an unsuccessful fix. If it’s not that serious, it’ll take 3-4 attempts to fix until it gets the name of “lemon.”
The Main Characteristics of a “Lemon”
- Both new and used vehicles have the chance of being a lemon. Naturally, in both cases, the characteristics are different.
- For new vehicles, for example, the most common flaws are those related to design, the building process, and workmanship.
- On the other hand, as mentioned above, used cars come with a wide variety of flaws. For instance, one part of the body of the car can be from a totally different vehicle. In some cases, this would classify the vehicle as a lemon.
- The best way to describe a lemon, be it old or new, is via its “persistent problems”. If you spend a lot of money and time fixing the same issue, then you have a lemon on your hands.
- As mentioned, the seller is responsible, first hand, for the fixing of your now-lemon vehicle. If the repairs are unsuccessful, you might be entitled to a full refund and, in some more serious cases, you could even take such a case to court.
- Keep in mind that flaws or defects that appear after you’ve bought the vehicle are not taken into consideration. Therefore, do not sleep on a problem once you’ve found it.
If it takes too much for you to report the problem, then the seller might argue that it appeared after you bought the car. In such cases, a professional vehicle inspector or mechanic is extremely helpful, as it can save you quite a lot of money in the long run.
What to Do If You Have a Defective Car In Your Garage
When you realize that you just bought a lemon, the first step you should take is to hire an attorney that specializes in Lemon Law and the issues associated with it. Once you have that settled, here are some other steps that you might want to take.
- Go straight back to the dealer and tell them about the problem. Make them the request to give your car a full checkup. If you didn’t get a history report yet, get one now. However, it’s not recommended to buy a vehicle without such a report – even used ones should have it in the documentation.
- Depending on the findings, ask them what their intentions are to solve this problem. Will they offer you a full refund? If they don’t speak clearly and avoid mentioning a refund, compensation, or trying to fix your vehicle, you should already be calling an attorney specialized in lemon cars.
- Refrain from just agreeing to them giving the car a repair over and over – not without legal counsel. In short, don’t let them come up with excuses or do something that will just end up with you having the vehicle in service for months on end. Once again, if they don’t state things clearly, mention your lawyer.
- Get another professional inspection. If the car fits into your state’s requirements for the lemon law, then you might ask for a settlement from the seller. This applies mainly when the seller refuses to provide you with a free full inspection of the vehicle. Naturally, this means that they might know something about the issues and the money you spend on a professional inspection will most likely be reimbursed.
- If the settlement is not satisfying for you, then you might want to go into Lemon Law Arbitration. This is usually a step taken before you have to go into court.
In the end, if your car still doesn’t work after numerous attempts of fixing it, you might want to get the paperwork done together with your attorney. Your car is definitely a lemon, so until the one-year Lemon Law timeframe passes, you need to get your money’s worth back. Act fast, and good luck!
The Bottom Line
As you can see, managing a lemon car can be quite troublesome. On top of that, the number of used cars being sold throughout the states and the number of unregulated sellers are pretty much through the roof.
Therefore, it goes without saying that, if you plan to buy any type of vehicle, you should spend a little bit extra on a professional attorney or a vehicle inspector. Given that car repairs can be more than just costly, these early spendings will only save you money in the future!