Orange County, California

Orange Country, California’s Skilled Lemon Law Attorneys

driving making phone callWith three million people and a relatively undeveloped commuter rail network, Orange County is car country. Although the Los Angeles metro area leads the nation in auto thefts with over 60,000 incidents a year, there is more than one way that a motorist can get ripped off. In fact, purchasing a “lemon,” or being defrauded by an auto dealer are far more common misfortunes than auto theft.

Although I won’t be able to help if your car has been stolen, I can certainly be of great assistance if you purchased a lemon, or if your auto dealer defrauded you. Most lawyers practice in a variety of sub-areas of law. I have been practicing exclusively in California lemon law and auto dealer fraud for nearly 30 years now, and there isn’t much that can happen that I haven’t seen many, many times before.  

Overview of the California Lemon Law

The California lemon law, part of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act,  provides purchasers with the option of compelling the dealer to replace or buy back their car if they purchased a lemon, and meet certain criteria. The following criteria apply, (among others):

  • The manufacturer or its representative must be unable to repair the vehicle after a “reasonable” number of attempts.
  • The vehicle must be under the manufacturer’s express warranty at the time of the repair attempts.
  • The vehicle must have been purchased in California.
  • The defect in the vehicle must substantially degrade the vehicle’s use, value or safety.
  • The defect must not have been caused by abuse of the vehicle.

Overview of California Auto Dealer Fraud Law

While a California lemon law claim centers around the condition of the vehicle, California auto dealer fraud law centers around the honesty of the sales process. In other words, you can press an auto dealer fraud claim even if the car you purchased is not a lemon. There are a thousand ways that an auto dealer can defraud you. Some of the most common are:

  • Non-disclosure of important information that would affect your purchasing decision (failure to disclose that the car was once used as a rental car, for example)
  • Odometer rollback
  • Deceptive financing practices
  • “Bait and switch” tactics
  • Outright representations (telling you lies rather than simply “forgetting” to tell you something)
  • “Errors” in the paperwork (which, strangely enough, always seem to work to your disadvantage)

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to choose between a lemon law claim and an auto dealer fraud claim. Depending on the transaction, you might be able to press both claims at the same time.

A Recognized Authority

When you practice in the same area of law for decades, you get to know the “lay of the land.” If you win 99 percent of your cases (as I do), people start to notice.

  • I hold a “Preeminent” rating from the Martindale-Hubbell lawyer rating service.
  • I have appeared on numerous TV shows and radio programs on the subject of California lemon law and auto dealer fraud.
  • I have testified on consumer protection issues before the California State Legislature.
  • I have handled several landmark lemon law cases.

What My Clients Think…

The BEST Attorney for a Lemon Law Evaluation!

I retained Mr. Law for a vehicle lemon law case. I could have not been more pleased with his experience and professionalism handling my case. He gets results quickly and accurately. His staff was also outstanding. I would highly recommend contacting him and his staff for your case review. Thank You Mr. Law! — Michael, September 18, 2013

I wish I were able to give more than 5 stars to this firm!

Went into my lemon law case with no knowledge of the process. Did research and talked to a few firms about my issues with my vehicle, time frames, etc. All seemed weary, said I should wait, blah blah. I was told (from other firms) it could take over 5-6 months just for a RESPONSE of some sort from Ford (yes, I name dropped). But not Mr. Law! He took my case on and had it fully settled in LESS than 3 months! — Taylor A.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What doesn’t the lemon law cover?

The lemon law does not cover:

  • Mobile homes designed or used mainly as residences
  • Off-road motorcycles (dirt bikes, etc.)
  • Commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds owned by businesses with a fleet of at least six registered vehicles
  • Vehicles purchased outside the state of California

Are there any special rules for military veterans?

If you are an active member of the armed forces, you can invoke the lemon law even if you bought the vehicle outside of California, as long as:

  • you bought it in the U.S. and your dealer also sells vehicles in California, and
  • you are either a California resident, or
    • you were stationed in California when you bought the vehicle, or
    • when you filed your lemon law claim.

How many repair attempts must I suffer through before I can file a lemon law claim?

The lemon law requires you to allow your dealer a “reasonable” number of attempts. If, within the first 18 months or the first 18,000 miles, your dealer has unsuccessfully tried to repair the same problem four times, or if your car has spent more than 30 days (cumulatively) in the shop, you probably have a lemon law claim. You may have a claim even if you don’t meet these conditions.

What does a lemon law refund reimburse me for?

If you select a refund rather than a replacement, you are entitled to reimbursement for:

  • your down payment,
  • your monthly payments,
  • related fees (registration fee, license fee, etc.), and
  • rental car expenses while your car was being repaired.

What is the statute of limitations for a lemon law claim?

You have four years after you knew, or should have known, that your car was as a lemon. If you miss the deadline, your claim will become worthless immediately. Waiting even a year before pursuing your claim, however, can raise serious doubts about its validity.

How much is the mileage offset?

The mileage offset is the mileage on the vehicle divided by 120,000, multiplied by the purchase price of the vehicle. The mileage offset functions as a way of discounting the amount of your refund based on how many miles are on the vehicle’s odometer.

What is a “certified vehicle”?

A “certified” vehicle is a used vehicle that meets certain stringent requirements for quality under the California Vehicle Code. You may be a victim of auto dealer fraud if the vehicle was marketed to you as “certified” but did not meet legal requirements for quality.

What is “yo-yo financing”?

“Yo-yo financing” refers to a scam in which an auto dealer leads you to believe that your financing has been approved, and lets you drive the car off the lot. He later calls you and tells you that financing was rejected. Since the vehicle drops in value the moment you drive it off the lot, this puts you under pressure to accept new, disadvantageous financing arrangements.  

What is “title laundering”?

Title laundering is a dishonest business practice in which a vehicle with a salvage title is re-titled in another state without the salvage designation, so as to conceal the salvage status of the vehicle from purchasers. Some states have loopholes in their title laws that allow this to happen.

What is “payment packing”?

Payment packing is a form of auto dealer fraud in which the dealer cons a purchaser into paying inflated monthly payments and includes add-ons to justify the extra expense. These add-ons are often not covered by warranty, may even invalidate parts of the warranty, and are typically not worth what the purchaser is paying for it.

How likely is it that my claim will end up in court?

Not all that likely. Of course, some claims do go to trial, but by and large, auto dealers would much rather settle a claim that go to court. This is especially true if I am the one representing you, because California auto dealers know of my trial record and they don’t want to face me in court.

You Only Pay If You Win Your Claim

Since I win 99 percent of my cases, I can afford to take the risk of not being paid for the one percent of cases I lose. That means if I don’t win your case, you will owe me nothing for my representation. If I do win, you still won’t owe me anything until your case is concluded, because I charge no upfront fees.  

Douglas D. Law, Esq., Orange County’s Talented Lemon Law Attorney, Is Waiting To Help You

My near-perfect success rate and my multitude of satisfied clients are sources of deep gratification for me. I have been cheated myself, and fighting back against this sort of consumer abuse is the reason I went to law school in the first place. If you believe you may have a lemon law or auto dealer fraud claim in Orange County, California, call me at (888)829-9033 or contact me online for a free initial evaluation of your case.

What Our Clients Say

Rating:

"Doug and Kristen were invaluable in getting GM to repurchase my Corvette due to the driveline defects in the car that Chevrolet could not fix after 9 visits. GM and the Chevy dealerships in La Mesa and Mission Valley were not helpful, giving me absurd excuses, runarounds and one time ultimately refusing to write the defects up after demonstrating them to one of their technicians. In short, I highly recommend them to handle any lemon law case you may have."

- Anonymous

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