Consumers should never consider any statements made by a car dealer, or an auto repair technician, to be legitimate and ethical legal advice. Should a consumer believe that they have a valid legal claim under the lemon law, it is important that they consult with an attorney who is fully licensed to practice law in the state of California and who has experience litigating legal claims under this area of California law. While the advice offered from a consumer’s car dealership or auto repair technician may seem sincere, these dealers and technicians are not trained in the law and are not authorized to give legal advice. In fact, engaging in conversation too much about a defective car could even harm a consumer’s chances of a successful legal claim.
It is important for consumers to remember that car dealers are in the business of selling cars, so if a representative of the dealership offers what appears to be legal advice and suggests that the dealership repurchase the defective vehicle under the lemon law, the consumer should be cautious. Dealers often tell consumers that they could repurchase their defective vehicle under the lemon law, but this offer is merely a pretense for keeping the consumer as a customer without having to honor their legal obligations and could potentially be seen as unethical legal advice. The relationship created by the lemon law is a legal relationship between the manufacturer of the defective vehicle and the consumer who has leased, or now owns, the vehicle, not a relationship between the consumer and the dealer. Because of this relationship, the only party who can make the decision to repurchase a defective vehicle under the lemon law is the manufacturer.
In addition to being cautious during transactions with car dealerships, consumers should also be careful when engaging auto repair shop personnel in conversation about the vehicle defect. It is important for the consumer to tell the auto repair technician, in detail, exactly what problems their vehicle is experiencing, but the consumer should limit their conversation to this information only. Following a discussion about the vehicle problems, the auto repair technician should make a note on a repair order to record the vehicle’s issues for future reference. Having a record of the number of times a vehicle was taken in for auto repairs, which auto repair technicians worked on the vehicle and the outcome of each auto repair attempt will be beneficial for future claims under the lemon law, but too much information on a repair order may provide a manufacturer with an argument as to why they are not responsible for the problems a car is experiencing.
If a consumer finds himself or herself in a situation where they feel that they are being offered legal advice from a dealership or are concerned with the amount of information they should be providing to their auto repair shop, they should immediately consult with a lemon law attorney to ensure that their rights are fully protected. Having an attorney provide concrete and thorough legal advice could potentially lead to a successful claim under the lemon law and a return of the money the consumer spent on their lemon car.
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