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When you file a lemon law claim, you may have to go through arbitration. This is a process where a neutral third party will hear the facts of the case and make a decision. It is an alternative to going to court that can help resolve your case more quickly and for less expense.
According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, you must agree to use arbitration before taking a lemon law claim to court. Arbitration allows an arbitrator to consider your case and offer a suggestion for resolution. In many cases, the manufacturer must accept the decision of the arbitrator, but you have the option to accept or deny it.
You do not have to pay anything to participate in arbitration. The manufacturers in the program pay all fees. Arbitration is available if you have a vehicle with the original warranty active, you use the vehicle for personal travel and you bought it in the state. There are some additional restrictions to ensure it is a passenger vehicle and to provide rights to service members stationed in the state.
A manufacturer may decide to participate in the California Department of Consumer Affairs' Arbitration Certification Program. This program may limit the liability of the manufacturer. However, the program does provide trained arbitrators who understand the lemon law and know how to provide a fair resolution.
The arbitrator may decide that the manufacturer must make additional repairs, offer you a refund, replace the vehicle or do something else to make up for the defective vehicle. It is also possible to settle your claim through the arbitration process.