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The Ledbetter Law Firm, APC

Los Angeles, California, Lemon Law Blog

When are defective vehicles considered lemons?

When a serious problem arises with a new car, many California consumers may wonder what to do. In some cases, the vehicle can be taken to a mechanic for repairs, and that is the end of the story. However, in other cases, individuals may have vehicles that continue to have problems even after multiple attempts at repairs. In which case, the vehicles may be considered lemons.

Of course, in order for a vehicle to be considered a lemon in the eyes of the law, it must fit certain criteria. First, it may have a substantial defect that negatively affects the vehicle's safety, use or value. The vehicle's warranty must also cover the defect. Additionally, the defect must have occurred within a certain time frame after purchase or within a certain number of miles.

Questions a Los Angeles lawyer will ask about a lemon law claim

Buying a vehicle is a tricky prospect for anyone. Even new vehicles can have unanticipated problems. Los Angeles residents who believe they were sold a lemon at one of the area's car dealerships may want to do some research to find out.

If this is you, then you might want to ask yourself some questions before you take any further action. Is the vehicle new or used? Is it under warranty? You may need to provide as much documentation as possible regarding the history of the vehicle.

Certain GM trucks potentially dangerous to consumers

Many California residents rely on vehicles for various reasons. Whether they are taking their kids to school or using a vehicle for work purposes, numerous people are in some type of vehicle for at least a portion of their day. Because of their prevalence in so many individuals' lives, it is important that vehicles are not dangerous to consumers.

It was recently reported that General Motors has issued a recall due to potential engine hazards. According to reports, Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 trucks from 2017 to 2019, GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 trucks from the same years, and the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 4500, 5500 and 6500 commercial trucks are affected by the recall. The issue that prompted this action relates to potential engine fires.

What happens to California lemon vehicles?

Purchasing a vehicle is a big enough risk without worrying about possible defects or potential recalls. In many cases, a reputable California dealer may not know if a vehicle has a defect but will promptly address the situation when a problem arises for the consumer. However, an unscrupulous dealer may take advantage of the situation to sell a repurchased lemon to an unsuspecting car buyer.

The California Lemon Law requires car manufacturers to repurchase or replace a vehicle that fits the criteria of a lemon. This typically means the vehicle has a defect of some kind that mechanics have been unable to repair. When the carmaker reacquires one of these defective vehicles, it is required to register the vehicle as a lemon law buyback and title it in the name of the manufacturer. The vehicle must then have a decal identifying it as reacquired or a buyback, which a buyer can find on the left door frame.

Continual vehicle problems may lead to lemon law claims

People across California have different reasons for wanting to buy a car. Some may have finally saved up enough to purchase their dream vehicles, and others may need new vehicles due to issues with their old ones. Whatever the reason, drivers want their new vehicles to be reliable, and if they are not, they may consider filing lemon law claims.

It was recently reported that a man in another state has filed a lawsuit against a car dealership due to issues with his vehicle. He apparently bought the vehicle new, and after the purchase, he discovered that the car had numerous issues, including a faulty air conditioner and a poor-performing front wheel. The car dealership also repaired the vehicle after it was involved in an accident.

Nissan vehicle defects leave drivers in danger

Vehicle recalls are nothing new. It could be that manufacturers would rather quickly recall a model than to risk facing lawsuits when someone gets injured. On the other hand, recalls are expensive, and some carmakers wait until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration orders them. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. is waiting for the NHTSA to probe reports of serious vehicle defects in its Rogue vehicles.

The same issue that led to a class action lawsuit against Nissan in California is the subject of the NHTSA probe. Some Nissan vehicles, including the Rogue, seem to engage their automatic emergency braking systems without cause or warning. The braking systems are a relatively new safety feature that assists the driver by anticipating obstructions in the driver's path. However, some vehicles are braking when no obstruction exists, often bringing the vehicle to a stop in the middle of moving traffic.

Drivers want to reduce the chances of purchasing a lemon

Any major purchase comes with its risks and rewards. When considering the purchase of a new vehicle, California residents often want the reward of having a vehicle but face the risk of potentially buying a lemon. Even when a vehicle is purchased new, defects or other issues could result in a person having an unreliable or even undrivable vehicle.

Fortunately, consumers can help themselves reduce the risk of buying lemons by considering their options and doing their research. Obtaining a vehicle history report, especially if purchasing a used vehicle, can help interested parties determine what issues the vehicle has faced and whether it has been regularly maintained. Researching online can also allow parties to obtain a vast amount of information from professionals to consumers who have already purchased the same make and model.

How do you know if your vehicle legally qualifies as a lemon?

You recently leased or purchased a brand new vehicle that probably has less than 100 miles on it and still has that new car smell. You expected it to work properly, but things do not always turn out as planned. You want to return the vehicle after dealing with the frustrating and stressful situation, but first, you need to know if it legally qualifies as a lemon under California law.

Your vehicle should operate as intended and get you to your destination safely. When something goes wrong, it should be fixed -- under the original manufacturer's warranty. However, if you encounter the same issue or issues multiple times and repairs are not fixing the problem, your vehicle could be a lemon.

Vehicle recalls could expose lemons

It is not unusual for California residents to want to buy new products as opposed to used ones in certain situations. When it comes to buying a car, numerous individuals prefer new vehicles because they believe that buying new lessens the likelihood of buying lemons. However, that is not necessarily true, and many people may realize that when their vehicles become the subject of a recall.

A recall commonly takes place when a vehicle manufacturer determines that a defect exists with a vehicle that may make it unsafe to drive. As a result, the manufacturer will attempt to inform owners of the affected makes and models so that the owners can take their vehicles to the appropriate dealerships for free repairs. Recall letters are typically sent, but they may not reach every owner. Still, if the owner of an affected vehicle learns of the recall, it is wise to have the vehicle checked and repaired promptly.

What if a vehicle manufacturer denies a lemon law claim?

California drivers expect their vehicles to be reliable and safe. They depend on their cars to get them to work and back home safely. When a vehicle turns out to be defective, it can be an extremely frustrating issue that impacts every aspect of a consumer's life.

Under state law, an auto manufacturer must compensate the consumer if they file a valid lemon law claim. This compensation can be in the form of a full refund, including the down payment and repair fees. It can also include a replacement of the defective vehicle. 

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