When a consumer qualifies for relief under the California Lemon Law, they are afforded with the opportunity to choose the form of relief, or compensation, that they would prefer. The consumer can choose for the manufacturer to provide them with monetary compensation, making them whole financially, or they can choose for the manufacturer to provide them with a replacement car free from material defects. Many consumers, after already dealing with a materially defective vehicle, may hesitate before choosing to receive a replacement car from the same manufacturer that had previously sold them a defective vehicle. These same consumers may also question who selects the replacement car and how their new vehicle is chosen. Fortunately, because the California Lemon Law specifies clear guidelines for determining how a replacement car is selected, consumers can feel confident in choosing to receive a replacement vehicle from the manufacturer. However, to be assured that the law is accurately followed and the consumer’s rights are fully protected, consumers should consult with an experienced lemon law attorney.
While the lemon law does not require that the manufacturer pay for collateral charges incurred in connection with the consumer’s purchase of the original vehicle, it does require that the manufacturer pay for any and all collateral charges incurred in connection with the replacement car. The law also assures that the consumer will be reimbursed for any reasonable incidental damages that were incurred because of their defective vehicle, such as towing and repair costs. This monetary compensation for collateral and incidental charges will be afforded to the consumer in addition to receiving their replacement car.
To protect the consumer, the lemon law is adamant in requiring that the consumer’s replacement car be new and substantially identical to the consumer’s previous vehicle. This section of the law was drafted to safeguard consumers from manufacturers of defective vehicles and, should the consumer litigate a successful lemon law claim, requires that the manufacturer put the consumer back into the position that they were in prior to purchasing or leasing the materially defective vehicle.
The lemon law also provides that the replacement car be accompanied by all express and implied warranties that would normally accompany a new motor vehicle of that make and model. This additional consumer protection should provide consumers with more confidence that they will not soon be filing another lemon law claim. However, if the consumer does again find themselves requiring the assistance of a lemon law attorney, because they have secured a manufacturer’s express written warranty with their replacement car, they will have overcome the first hurdle in successfully litigating their lemon law claim.