While many people often refer to their defective cars as “lemons”, it is likely that most of those people understand little about the lemon law section of the California Civil Code. Because the lemon law requires many detailed legal obligations from both the consumer and the manufacture, this area of the law can be confusing and makes it even more important for consumers to consult with an experienced attorney who has litigated many of these types of cases. But, there are also actions consumers could be taking before they have met with and hired an attorney to represent them.
Under the lemon law, the consumer is required to take their vehicle to the manufacturer, or its agent, for a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defect. Hopefully, the auto repair technician will be able to fix the problem and the consumer will not have to return for more repairs, but, it is possible that the issue the vehicle is experiencing will require multiple auto repairs with the issue never being resolved. When this is the case, the consumer should begin looking for a qualified attorney to advise them on their legal rights under the lemon law.
When meeting with an attorney to discuss the facts of the consumer’s potential legal claim, it is helpful for the consumer to have kept a detailed record of the vehicle’s history. So, when the consumer recognizes that their vehicle may be a lemon, they should begin gathering the records that they have compiled throughout the vehicle’s various repair attempts. These records include auto repair orders from the repair technician and the consumer’s personal notes or log of the details surrounding each repair attempt. The consumer should note each date that the vehicle was taken in for auto repairs, the name of the repair technician who worked on the vehicle, and any resolution that was reached following the repairs. Ideally, the repair orders kept by the auto repair shop would already reflect this exact information, but there is a possibility that those records will not be accurate and the consumer will need to fill in some gaps.
In addition to records showing the various auto repair attempts, the consumer should also begin to gather any and all receipts showing money spent during those repairs. Once legal action begins, the amount of money owed to the consumer will likely be a contested issue and could be easily dealt with if a consumer is able to show proof of each payment made. While the consumer is searching for repair receipts, they should also begin pulling out receipts for the original purchase or lease of the vehicle as this will be helpful in determining either the amount of money owed to the consumer or the value of the replacement vehicle being provided by the manufacturer.
Once the consumer has gathered their records and receipts, they should begin looking for an attorney who is qualified to represent their claim under the lemon law and who will act as a zealous advocate on behalf of their rights. Many of the lemon law attorneys offer free legal consultations, so the consumer should find a dedicated attorney who they feel comfortable with.
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