California residents like you take car shopping seriously. After all, it is a lot of money to spend. Most people do not buy cars until going through thorough research. You likely invest hours in comparing different vehicles, features and price points.

It is very disappointing when you finally buy your car only to realize you got a lemon. After spending all that money, you deserve the right to get rid of this lemon and get the product you bought.

Is your car eligible under lemon law?

California’s Department of Consumer Affairs defines what the state’s lemon laws are. The gist is that you are eligible for a refund or a new car if your current car has a warranty defect. The defect is serious and the dealer cannot fix it, even after making several attempts.

It is important to know about the arbitration process before making any decisions. First, know that this is a non-judicial and free process. This means it takes place outside of court. If that possibility was stopping you before, you can proceed with ease. Next, know that the arbitration will fall to a panel or a single arbitrator. This person examines both sides of a dispute. They make a decision based on what they see. That decision determines what your remedy is.

Your options if you dislike the ruling

The manufacturer often gets to choose the arbitration panel. Note that arbitration decisions are binding for the manufacturer. But as a consumer, you are able to take a decision you disagree with to court. Accepting the arbitrator’s ruling closes the case and refuses the manufacturer from appealing. If you choose this option, keep your time in court quick to cut down on costs.