The lemon law process is very similar state-to-state since one of the most used lemon laws is a federal statute called the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act. Let’s examine a typical journey from car purchase to lemon buyback.
Regardless of the kind of new vehicle you purchase, there is a manufacturer’s warranty that comes with the purchase. For example, Kia’s manufacturer warranty covers the vehicle up to 60,000 miles.
You’re shutting the car’s back hatch one day. It appears to be closed, but the “open door” light on your dashboard says otherwise. What if the hatch pops open while you’re driving, even though it is staying down by itself right now? Stressed out, you make it over to the dealership. They look at your car and say it was a problem with the “open door” light, which they have manually turned off.
In a lemon law case, it is crucial that you save all of your service records and that you have the car serviced by the warranty-authorized mechanic or technician.
You assume that you must not have shut the back hatch all the way, and you pull over when you see the “open door” light pop on again and get out to re-shut it. That “open door” light is still on. You take the car back to the dealership.
This time a different mechanic at the dealership says this was actually not caused by a faulty light. The hatch is actually not shutting. He uses the rear windshield wiper as a handle and pulls the seemingly shut hatch open. He will recalibrate the correct angle of the locking mechanism and that should fix it for good.
You go out to the car in the morning, ready to head to work. You realize the battery is dead from the trunk light staying on all night because, yes, the car did not register the hatch as being shut again. You bring the car back to the dealer for the third time. The mechanic tells you the locking mechanisms are tricky to calibrate just right and that sometimes it can take a few attempts. He repairs the mechanism again, but you now live in constant fear of the car being stolen because you never know if it’s 100% locked or if the hatch will fly open on the freeway.
As you are reaching out to LemonLaw123.com, the “open door” light comes back on. The lawyer asks you to provide these documents in order to review your case for free:
Your new car is now permanently parked in the garage, and you are stuck carpooling, Ubering, and borrowing your husband’s truck. Your lemon law attorney tells you that you have a case, and she sends a letter to the manufacturer with the details of your situation.
The law requires that you must have the same car problem fixed about 2-4 times before it becomes a “lemon.” Check—you qualify. The manufacturer responds and offers to swap your car for another one of the same make and model. Your lawyer responds “no” and continues to pressure them for a full buyback and to reimburse your Uber fees.
From reaching a settlement agreement to actually being relieved of the lemon takes time. The bureaucratic “wheels” of car manufacturer lemon buybacks turn slowly.
You receive a full refund for the lemon (plus Uber fees), which is now off your property and out of your hair. Car shopping begins again.
Need a California Lemon Law Attorney?
If you are somewhere around Day 27 of this journey, then it’s time to reach out to us for a free case review. Remember to submit all necessary documents. We’ll be in touch soon.