Goal of Post: In this post, we will introduce what lemon law is and then discuss how a lemon law attorney can help you receive a buyback or replacement for your faulty vehicle. We will do this by debunking 3 common myths about lemon law attorneys.
If you discover that your new or used vehicle is defective shortly after purchase, you may have a lemon. This is far more common than you may think. There are over 3.4 million vehicles sold every year – and considering that about 1% are lemons, this means that several hundred thousand will have mechanical defects.
Lemon laws exist to protect consumers who have purchased a vehicle with significant mechanical defects while under warranty. Under federal and state lemon laws, the mechanical defects of a vehicle must be unrepairable and interfere with the value, safety, and use of the car to legally qualify as a lemon. If a driver pursues a lemon law claim and wins, they could be entitled to a buyback (refund) or replacement vehicle from the manufacturer.
Some drivers might be skeptical when it comes to using a lemon law attorney. Automakers routinely publish content to drive this skepticism and deter consumers from seeking legal help. Most of it is completely bogus. There are countless benefits to hiring a specialized lemon law attorney.
Let’s examine three common myths about lemon law attorneys and why they are misleading.
1) They Only Deal with New Vehicles
Lemon law differs by state, which means there are specific requirements for what qualifies as a lemon in each one. In most states, only new vehicles can qualify as a lemon. However, used vehicles may be deemed a lemon under some state’s law and can be eligible for a buyback or replacement.
California is one of the states that have laws protecting used vehicles. As long as the vehicle is still under the dealership warranty (usually 30 days or before 1000 miles accrue on the odometer, the claim is valid.
Seeking justice for a used lemon can be tricky in CA. Consumers should consult a lemon law lawyer in California to get a better understanding of whether or not your used vehicle meets the qualifications.
There are other situations that may disqualify a lemon claim based on the state’s legislation.
For example, if you purchase a defective used vehicle “as is,” or without a warranty, you may not be able to pursue legal action. To check if your used vehicle is under warranty, look at the buyer’s guide purchased with the vehicle – from the dealership. You can also consult with a lemon law attorney to see if you meet your state’s requirements.
2) They are Too Expensive
Many people associate lawyers with high legal fees. This often deters them from contacting an attorney. But if you have a solid lemon law claim, a good lemon law attorney will not cost you a dime out of pocket.
The manufacturer is obligated to pay your legal fees if you win your case, on top of giving you a buyback or replacement vehicle. Lemon law attorneys help you receive what you legally deserve, while other courses of action for your defective vehicle may harm you.
For instance, the manufacturer may suggest arbitration instead of going to court. Arbitration involves presenting the claim in front of a panel of third-party arbitrators who decide if your case is legitimate. Manufacturers will tell you it’s the cheaper option – but it rarely results in the consumer’s favor.
Sometimes the manufacturer will claim they are using “independent” arbitrators, but they’re actually sponsored by the auto company. When this occurs, the arbitrators will almost always rule in favor of the manufacturer – no matter the severity of the mechanical defect.
Plus, if you take your case to court after losing an arbitration ruling, the arbitrator’s decision will likely be used as evidence against you. Sometimes, arbitration agreements are binding, which means the driver cannot even attempt to take additional legal action if they lose their case.
Trust that your lemon law attorney has your best interests in mind. A good one won’t ask you to pay any retainer or contingency fee – meaning they will be motivated to get the case done quickly. An attorney always gives you the best chance of receiving the financial compensation or settlement you deserve.
3) You can Use Any Lawyer for Lemon Law Claims
To get the best chance of winning your lemon law claim, you must use a lawyer who focuses on lemon law within your state. Most law firms that don’t specialize in lemon law will just take on your claim to sign you as a new client, despite their lack of experience.
Auto manufacturers will do everything in their power to fight your lemon law claim. So, you do not want just any lawyer representing your case. You need a lawyer who is experienced in lemon law and knows the common tactics the auto industry uses to avoid buybacks.
It’s also a good idea to avoid nationwide lemon law firms. These firms tend to make money based on the number of clients they sign – and usually encourage consumers to take low ball cash settlements.
Although these firms market themselves well, they don’t take the time to study your state’s specific lemon law in-depth. You will likely be spending more time speaking to legal assistants or paralegals rather than the attorney who will represent your case.
Don’t fall for the myth that any lawyer can take on your case. Find an attorney that specializes in lemon law and has your best interest in mind.
If you believe your new or used vehicle qualifies as a lemon in the state you purchased it, you may be entitled to a buyback or replacement vehicle. You have a better chance of winning your claim when you gather the appropriate evidence and work with a specialized lemon law attorney. If your vehicle has a significant mechanical defect, consult a lemon law attorney to determine if it meets your state’s requirements.