California Lemon Law - FAQs

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When does an automobile qualify under the California Lemon Law?
An automobile qualifies under the California Lemon Law when the vehicle has a defect which the dealerships have been unable to repair after a reasonable number of attempts.

Does the California Lemon Law apply to used or pre-owned vehicles?
Yes, if the repair visits occurred within the warranty period.

Does the California Lemon Law apply to leased vehicles?
Yes, the Lemon Law applies to both purchased and leased vehicles.

How many times do I need to take my vehicle back to the dealerships before I have a Lemon Law claim?
The California Lemon Law declares that the dealers must be given a reasonable number of attempts to repair an automobile.  Although the law does not require any specific number of repair visits, four visits for the same defect will typcially qualify, but, depending on the defect, fewer visits may do.  For example, a defect as severe as complete steering system failure may only require two visits.  Moreover, if a vehicle spends a total of over thirty days at the dealers for warranty repairs, it may satisfy the requirement no matter how many separate repair visits were made.  Because the California Lemon Law does not set a specific number of visits, each matter should be assessed on an individual basis.

What am I entitled to if my car or truck qualifies under the Lemon Law?
If your car or truck qualifies under the California Lemon Law, you will be entitled to a refund of your down payment, monthly finance payments, and to have the balance of your vehicle loan paid in full.  You will also be entitled to a refund of incidental and consequential damages.  If offered by the auto manufacturer, you may elect to have your car or truck replaced with a similar vehicle instead of having your money refunded.  With either a repurchase or a replacement, the manufacturer will be entitled to a credit for your use of the vehicle before the vehicle was first taken in for repair of the defect.

I donít live near The Bickel Law Firm, Inc.'s La Jolla offices.  Can my free consultation be conducted by telephone?
Yes, your consultation can be conducted by telephone.  Documents can be submitted for our review by email, fax, or regular mail.  Most of our cases are settled in which a face-to-face meeting with our clients is not required.

What fees will I have to pay to hire The Bickel Law Firm, Inc.?
We do not charge our clients any up-front fees.  The Lemon Law includes an attorney's fees provision which allows us to collect our hourly attorney's fees and court costs from the auto manufacturer at the successful resolution of the claim.  This makes pursuing a Lemon Law claim feasible for those who would otherwise not be in a financial position to hire a lawyer.  In addition, any applicable contingency fee would not be due until settlement proceeds are recovered.

Can my case be settled without having to file a lawsuit?
In most cases, yes.  The manufacturers have no incentive to engage in costly litigation on a case they believe they will lose.  Accordingly, the majority of cases handled by our offices are resolved without a lawsuit having ever been filed.