The California Lemon Law provides protection for consumers who purchase or lease a defective vehicle within the state of California and that purchased or leased the vehicle with the manufacturer’s express written warranty. What many consumers may not be aware of is that they could potentially be entitled to more money than they think under this section of the law. More specifically, the lemon law requires manufacturers of defective cars to take certain actions once they become aware that the consumer is experiencing a problem with their vehicle. Should the manufacturer not comply, there is a possibility that the consumer may be entitled to more money than they originally thought they would be.
Under the lemon law, if a consumer is able to show that they purchased a defective vehicle from the manufacturer, that the defect affects the use, value or safety of the vehicle and that the defect is one that is covered under the manufacturer’s express written warranty, it is likely that they will be entitled to either a replacement vehicle or compensation in the form of money. But, if a consumer is able to establish that the manufacturer failed to honor their express written warranty, failed to comply with the obligations provided for under the lemon law and that the manufacturer’s failure to comply was willful, the consumer may be awarded additional money included as a penalty to the manufacturer. This penalty is determined by the judge presiding over the consumer’s lemon law claim and could be a penalty of up to two times the amount of money the consumer is owed because of their defective vehicle.
The lemon law also provides more specific protection for the consumer should the manufacturer willfully refuse to honor their express written warranty and fail to comply with their obligation to replace or repurchase a defective vehicle. If the consumer is able to establish a violation of this section of the lemon law, the law states that the consumer must recover money, as a penalty to the manufacturer, of up to two times the amount of actual monetary damages that they incurred because of their defective vehicle.
In fairness to both parties, the lemon law also provides protection for the manufacturer to make sure that the enhanced damages section of this portion of the law is not abused. The lemon law indicates that a manufacturer is not responsible for this penalty, or additional money owed to the consumer, if certain conditions were met. Those conditions include the manufacturer maintaining a qualified third party dispute resolution process, the manufacturer not receiving adequate notice of the vehicle defect and that the manufacturer’s failure to comply was due to the consumer’s own willful violation of the lemon law provisions. The manufacturer also may not be liable for this enhanced penalty if they comply with their obligations under the lemon law and honor their express written warranty within thirty days of the receipt of the consumer’s written notice of the vehicle defect.
Speak with a California Lemon Law Attorney now for a free consultation: (888) 587 – 9623