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The Lemon Law Process – What are the Steps? 

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It’s frustrating to learn that you’ve been driving a defective or malfunctioning vehicle. It’s even harder to accept that the manufacturer cannot repair your vehicle or is giving you the runaround. Fortunately, you have solutions to your problem with the numerous rights you have under the California Lemon Law.

If you are unsure whether your vehicle is a lemon, complete our Free Vehicle Check or talk to an experienced attorney at 888-536-6628. Your consultation is free and you will get the answers you need to help you get your Lemon Law case started!

The Stages of Your Lemon Law Case

It’s necessary to keep track of your vehicle’s important documents, including the sales contract, manufacturer’s warranty, and all repair orders. Writing down the details of all conversations related to your vehicle, and the manufacturer or dealer, will also help you if you plan to open a lemon law case.

After you speak to one of our dedicated attorneys, we will determine if your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, then we immediately begin the process of compiling your evidence and piecing together the details of your situation to form a strong case, should it go to court.

It takes us 1 week to take your statement and gather all relevant information on your vehicle.

  1. Client intake
  2. Because each case is unique, your attorney may take the one of the following steps:
    • Send the manufacturer a Demand letter, informing them that your vehicle qualifies for repurchase, replacement, or repair and we demand that the dealer or manufacturer comply with the law. The manufacturer or dealer will have 30 days to respond.
    • File a lawsuit directly with the court.
  3. If the manufacturer agrees to a settlement in response to the Demand, the process may take approximately 30 to 60 days.
  4. If the manufacturer does not agree to settle, then your attorney will proceed to file a carefully prepared cased on your behalf. Due to the complexities of this process, there is no approximate timeline for settlement.

The good news is that most Lemon Law cases are typically settled out of court, during the Demand phase. Due to our experience as an aggressive litigation firm, the manufacturers know that if they don’t settle, we will take them to court!

We ensure that we maintain contact with you every step of the process and are always ready to address any questions or concerns you may have.

The Successful Outcome of Your Case

Reaching a successful settlement against the manufacturer or dealer is what we aim to do on your behalf. Once we reach a settlement agreement with the manufacturer or dealer, your Lemon Law case may be settled by one of the following outcomes:

Refund / Buy-Back

If you are entitled to receive a refund for your purchased defective vehicle, your refund includes, but is not limited to:

  • Down payment and monthly payments
  • Cost of options/modifications added by the manufacturer or its authorized dealer
  • Manufacturer service contracts, including extended warranty coverage
  • Sales tax, finance charges, license and first-year registration fee
  • Additional expenses related to the malfunction or defect of the vehicle, including: towing fees, rental car fees, etc.
  • Expert fees

For Leased Vehicles

If you leased your vehicle, you may receive a full refund for any leasing fees and your remaining lease payments will be paid off in full. The California Lemon Law states that your lease agreement ends when you return the defective vehicle and you cannot be charged penalty fees for ending the lease early.


Under the lemon law, the manufacturer may offer to replace or “buy-back” your vehicle. You have the option to refuse the offer and demand a refund instead. Should you choose to replace your vehicle, the replacement must:

  • Be substantially identical to your defective vehicle at the time of lease/purchase
  • Fall under the same service contract
  • Include the factory and dealer options that came with the original vehicle

In addition, you are entitled to a reimbursement of any additional expenses related to the malfunction or defect of the vehicle, including: towing fees, rental car fees, etc. You will still be responsible for transfer of title and registration of your new vehicle.

Lemon Law Offset Formula / Buy-Back Calculator

To help you determine the estimated value of your lemon vehicle, use the calculator below, considering all of the expenses mentioned in the Refund/Buy-Back section.

See If You Qualify

Our dedicated attorneys will help you determine whether your New, Used, or Certified Pre-Owned vehicle qualifies under the California Lemon Law and we will explain the numerous rights available to you, including the right to a jury trial if the manufacturer does not comply with the law and the right to exclude yourself from participating in arbitration (an informal method of resolving your dispute before going to court) without an attorney.

If you think you’ve been handed a defective vehicle, call us at 888-536-6628 or fill out this quick and easy form and one of our experienced attorneys will get in touch with you immediately. Your consultation with us is free and we will help you understand what steps you should take.

Manufacturers will sometimes try to convince you that handling arbitration on your own is faster than seeking a lawyer. This route may put you at a disadvantage because you would have to provide the evidence yourself and chances are, the manufacturer has a knowledgeable legal team who specializes in making it harder for you to present your claim.

Let our expert attorneys gather the evidence and do the work for you. Remember, you will never get a bill from us. California has some of the strongest pro-consumer laws which in-part provide that dealer or manufacturer must pay for all your legal fees and costs should your vehicle qualify under the lemon law.

I’m Ready to Talk to An Attorney!

Call us now for your free consultation with one of our experienced and dedicated attorneys at 888-536-6628 today. Our process is Fast, Easy, and Stress-Free! Fill out the form below to Free Vehicle Check Get Started. We know you have rights under the California Lemon Law and we are ready to help you!

do you have a lemon?

Fill out the form below to Free Vehicle Check Get Started. We know you have rights under the California Lemon Law and we are ready to help you!

Our automobile Lemon Law Attorneys services to all Los Angeles County residents. We welcome inquiries from Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Fernando, Valencia, and all of greater Los Angeles. Our Los Angeles satellite office is available by appointment as litigation matters may warrant, including attorney-client meetings, depositions, and mediations. Our office is centrally located in downtown Los Angeles, and serves all of Los Angeles County including North County, East County, the South Bay, and Los Angeles County's rural communities.

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