Lemon Law

Experienced Manhattan Beach Lemon Law Attorney

Manhattan Beach Lemon Law AttorneyIt’s the nightmare of car buyers everywhere: you save up to buy the car of your dreams, you get the warranty, you make your payments, and, yet, there is a problem with the car that the manufacturer or dealer either can’t or won’t repair. You’re left with a non-fully functional car for all your troubles under, however, you have the power to fight back. A skilled lemon law lawyer in Manhattan Beach will be able to help you deal with the seller or dealership and bring justice.

Our Manhattan Beach lemon law lawyers represent consumers to obtain the justice they deserve when they’ve purchased a car, RV, boat, or another vehicle under warranty in California. With over a decade of experience in automotive consumer litigation, we have the experience, skills, and know-how to efficiently and effectively get you the relief you deserve, including a full refund. All cases are contingency-based, so you owe nothing unless we recover for you.

A Decade of Experience

Prior to founding his law firm in 2016, firm founder Thomas Ledbetter spent a decade working as legal counsel to automotive manufacturers and dealers in responding to consumer litigation. During that time he gained a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding the litigation of lemon law claims. He also saw the need for skilled representation of plaintiffs on the consumer side in bringing claims to fair and just resolutions.

Because of this experience and background, our Manhattan Beach lemon law attorneys are uniquely positioned to help consumers litigate their claims and to efficiently obtain justice on their claims. We can quickly assess whether you have a valid claim under California law and work to attain the refund you deserve without unnecessarily lengthy investigations or negotiations.

California’s law protections apply not only to new cars. They also cover boats, RVs, and even some used cars. A warranty should still be in effect, and there is also a requirement that the consumer brings the vehicle to authorized repair facilities to seek out repairs for the alleged defect. For example, if you have taken your vehicle in for the same repair four or more times in the first 18 months or 18,000 miles of possession, the law will presume it to be a lemon.

Vehicles that have also been taken in for repairs for a total of 30 days during that same period will also be presumed to be a lemon. California law provides some of the strongest protections in the country, and there are numerous ways to successfully show you have a lemon. Our lemon law attorneys in Manhattan Beach will work with you to present your strongest case for recovery. Common vehicle defects include:

  • Improperly Functioning Brakes
  • Steering Issues
  • Mileage and Gas Usage Issues

Your manufacturer or dealer will, in many cases, try to talk you out of pursuing a claim by suggesting that the problem is fixable, that there really isn’t a problem, or that the issue is with your usage, but California law is on your side in your ability to recover. If your car has maintenance issues that are persisting, contact one of our skilled Manhattan Beach lemon law attorneys today and find out if you have a case.

Remember, all lemon law claims are brought on a contingency basis, so you owe no attorney fees unless your claim is successful. Contact our Manhattan Beach lemon law lawyers today to see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve and back on the road again.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Am I still protected under the Lemon Law if my car warranty has expired?

It depends. The critical date is not the date you attempt to enforce your rights, but the date that the repairs or attempted repairs were made. You are protected under the law even if your car was still under the original manufacturer’s warranty at the time the repairs were made.

Does the Lemon Law protect a vehicle under an extended warranty?

No – repairs made under an extended warranty do not qualify for protection under the law. Make sure you know the date of expiration of the original manufacturer’s warranty before you seek to repair your vehicle.

Does the Lemon Law cover leased cars?

Yes, the California Lemon Law covers leased cars, as long as the attempted repairs were made while the vehicle was covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty.

Does the Lemon Law cover older vehicles?

Perhaps. The relevant issue is not the age of the vehicle, but whether or not the original manufacturer’s warranty had expired at the time you attempted repairs. Even a car that was used when you bought it might qualify for protection.

Does the Lemon Law protect only passenger cars?

No. It also protects motorcycles, trucks, SUV’s, vans, RVs, and consumer goods that are not even vehicles at all. The primary prerequisites are a valid original manufacturer’s warranty and the appropriate use of the vehicle – it must be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes.

Does it matter if I bought the car out of state?

Yes, unfortunately, it does. If you bought your car out of state, the California Lemon Law does not protect you. You might, however, try to press a claim under the federal lemon law, known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

How serious does a defect have to be to qualify for Lemon Law protection?

The law protects you against defects that are a “substantial impairment to the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.” Mere inconveniences generally do not qualify for protection. It is sometimes ambiguous, however, whether a defect or collection of defects add up to an “inconvenience” or “substantial impairment.”

Are there any loopholes in Lemon Law coverage?

Yes. The law does not apply if:

  • the vehicle is a commercial vehicle,
  • with a gross weight exceeding 10,000 pounds, and
  • the business using the vehicle owns six or more vehicles that are registered in California.

The law also does not apply to any portion of a motorhome that is designed, used or maintained mainly as a residence. It also does not apply to off-road motorcycles such as dirt bikes.

What does a Lemon Law refund include?

A refund typically includes these amounts:

  • Your down payment,
  • All monthly payments you have already made,
  • Fees you have paid (registration, license fees, etc.),
  • Rental car fees you incurred while your car was in the shop, and
  • Termination of future financing loan payments.

Do I have to submit to arbitration of my Lemon Law claim?

No, and don’t let anyone (particularly the defendant) tell you any different. California law does not require you to participate in arbitration to pursue a Lemon Law claim. You can agree to arbitration if you so desire, as long as the defendant also agrees.

Is it a good idea to agree to arbitrate my Lemon Law claim?

Generally not. Arbitration proceedings limit the extent to which you can demand evidence from the other side (corporate records, for example). Since the burden of proof is on you to establish your claim, limitations on your ability to gather evidence are normally more disadvantageous to you than they are to the defendant.

When does the statute of limitations deadline expire?

In most cases, the statute of limitations deadline is four years after you knew or should have known that your car is a “lemon.” If you miss the deadline, not only will you find yourself unable to file a lawsuit, but you will also find yourself with no leverage to negotiate a private settlement.

How likely is it that my case will go to trial?

Much lower than 50/50, although there can be no guarantees. Defendants do not like courtroom litigation because it is expensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable. The defendant is most likely to agree to a private settlement if you can show the defendant that it has a realistic chance of losing at trial.

Might I be eligible for enhanced damages (i.e., civil penalties against the manufacturer)?

Civil penalties against the manufacturer, if awarded at all, are awarded to you in addition to a refund or replacement, and most claimants do not qualify. To qualify, you must prove that the manufacturer’s offense was willful, which is a tall order. If you do succeed, however, you will be entitled to up to twice the amount you would otherwise receive.

Can't I just handle this on my own?

Yes you can, but you are likely to get stonewalled that way. Defendants tend to lack respect for people handling their own claims – unless they happen to be lawyers. Even if they do agree to a buyback or refund, the terms you receive are likely to be less favorable than the terms you are actually entitled to.

Strike While the Iron Is Hot

As a matter of black-letter law, you probably have four years after you discover your car is a lemon to file a lawsuit. As a practical matter, however, your chances of winning fade the longer you wait to begin enforcement procedures. The reason for this is that cases are won on evidence, and persuasive evidence becomes harder and harder to come by as time goes on.

By contrast, nothing is more powerful than prompt, decisive action to enforce your rights. Your need for admissible evidence does not necessarily mean that you will have to go to court. In fact, the best way to keep yourself out of court is to thoroughly prepare for trial. If you are prepared and have a strong case, the opposing party will understand that it’s easier to settle than to fight.

Get Things Started Today

Call our Manhattan Beach lemon law lawyers at (310) 507-7022 or email us from this website so that we can set up a free, no-obligation consultation where can discuss your options.

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What Our Clients Say

“Tom was able to take the complex and daunting task of putting together an estate plan and made it much simpler by asking the right questions, focusing on what really mattered, and getting it documented the right way. His down to earth nature, ability to explain things in non-lawyer terms and his deep estate planning expertise made him an excellent fit for our family and estate planning needs.”

Vish Chatterji
“I hired Tom Ledbetter to represent my company in a contentious contract dispute. One of his main strengths was communicating to me the various procedures and legal strategies throughout the litigation. His exceptional advocacy and knowledge are why I recommend him. Tom now represents my company in drafting and negotiation all of our contracts.”

Giorgia Mannucci
The Ledbetter Law Firm, APC