When you purchase a new vehicle in California, you probably do so because you need a reliable way to get to and from work, school or what have you. When that car that you purchased proves to be anything but reliable, though, you may find yourself wondering whether you have any potential recourse. California’s lemon laws exist to help protect consumers from purchasing vehicles that have fundamental defects, and in some cases, they may give you grounds to seek a replacement or refund for your vehicle. Lemon law arbitration may prove timely and complex, however, so the more you understand about how to navigate the process, the better.

According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the state’s lemon law applies to new and used vehicles sold or leased within state lines that are still under the vehicle manufacturer’s original warranty. If you wind up finding yourself in embroiled in lemon law arbitration, there are a number of things you may want to do to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Before filing for arbitration, for example, you should try to work with your dealer to attempt to resolve the problem, and you should take meticulous notes of all your interactions. Make sure that you also keep all paperwork from any communications you have with the dealer or any services you receive from it. Once you have a date set for an arbitration hearing, consider attending it in person, as opposed to trying to make your case via phone or in writing.

Rehearse your argument for why you believe your vehicle is, in fact, a lemon, ahead of time, and bring as much documentation with you as possible to back up your claim. You may also want to gather signed statements from mechanics who have looked at your vehicle or other passengers who are able to attest to the problem at hand so you have them at the ready during arbitration. Find more about how to prepare for lemon law arbitration on our webpage.