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How to Qualify for a GM Lemon Law Buyback and What to Expect 

GM is one of the best auto-mobile American companies known for its popular brands like GMC, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and more. Despite GM’s quality and position in the market, consumers have registered numerous complaints concerning defective vehicles.

GM vehicles’ problems include air condition failure, ignition malfunction, and defective power steering. Unfortunately, most GM defects persist despite numerous repair attempts.

Luckily, lemon laws offer consumers a reprieve through buybacks and refunds. More importantly, understanding the Lemon law buyback process makes a big difference while dealing with manufacturers.

If you’re stuck with a defective GM truck or car, consider consulting a California lemon law attorney to pursue a lemon law buyback.

Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding the Lemon Law Criteria for GM Vehicles

California lemon law has set several minimum requirements determining whether your vehicle qualifies for protection. The criteria concern the nature of defects and if you’ve allowed the manufacturer a reasonable time to fix your car.

Moreover, lemon laws cover new and used GM vehicles with a manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty. The California lemon laws cover many types of vehicles, including;

  • Cars
  • Vans
  • Motorcycles
  • SUVs
  • Pick-up tracks

It also covers the following types of vehicles.

  • Vehicles bought or leased for personal, household, or family reasons
  • Dealer-owned vehicles or demonstrators
  • Cars purchased or hired for business
  • Components of motor home including chassis, chassis cab, and drive train

What Counts as GM Lemon Under California Lemon Laws

You must meet the following requirements for your vehicle to qualify as a lemon.

  • Substantial Defect: The vehicle defect must be material, a malfunction that significantly alters the vehicle’s use, value, and safety.
  • Existing Warranty: The vehicle should have been bought or hired with an existing and active express warranty.
  • Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts: In addition to securing the interest of consumers, lemon laws allow manufacturers, including GM, an appropriate window to fix the vehicle’s defect.
  • Bought From a Dealer: California Lemon laws protect ‘’consumer goods’’ not vehicles purchased from private sellers.

How Do You Determine a Reasonable Number of Repair Attempts?

Lemon Laws have not prescribed a specific number. Nonetheless, California Lemon Law Presumption provides guidelines determining whether a manufacturer has met ‘’ a reasonable number of repair attempts’’.

Below are the guidelines;

  • The vehicle has been in the repair shop for more than 30 days— not necessarily consecutive for repair defects covered by the warranty.
  • The manufacturer or dealer hasn’t fixed the malfunction after four or more attempts.
  • The vehicle defect or malfunction could cause death or severe injury if driven, and the manufacturer has made two unsuccessful repair attempts.

Understanding ‘Substantial Defects’ in GM Vehicles

Generally, lemon laws protect consumers who unknowingly buy vehicles with persistent defects. More importantly, lemon laws apply to cars whose defects affect their use, value, and safety. The car doesn’t have to be immobile to be marked defective; even so, the malfunction should impact the car.

Here’s the breakdown of substantial defects according to their impact on vehicles;

  • Impaired Value: A vehicle defect that results in flawed value affects more than its cash worth. For instance, a defective steering wheel is likely to produce rattling sounds that can give you a low perception of the vehicle.
  • Impaired Use: Impaired use doesn’t mean the undrivable; it affects its use if it falls short of the intended purpose. For instance, if you bought a 2023 Chevy Equinox to meet your interstate clients and the vehicle can’t drive for long distances due to a persistent transmission defect.
  • Impaired Safety: These defects expose drivers or passengers to the risk of injuries or death.

Examples of substantial defects include electrical problems, engine fires, loss of power steering, defective anti-lock brake systems, paint defects, airbag defects, malfunctioning air conditioners, and transmission defects.

Documentation and Evidence Needed for a Successful GM Lemon Buyback Claim 

The success of any legal claim, including lemon law buyback, depends on proper documentation. The more documents you have, the easier it becomes to process the claim. It’s also less expensive because a lawyer will employ minimal resources to compile the case.

Here’s a list of the necessary documentation that’ll help your case;

Repair Orders

A repair order is documentation that the repair facility will give you after dropping off the vehicle. It acts as a legal document for the work expected on the car and the chargeable price.

Ensure the repair order adequately describes the vehicle defect, the date, mileage, the price of parts, and a labor estimate. As a legal document, accuracy is of the essence. Therefore, counter-check whether the dealer or manufacturer has correctly captured the notations and timestamps.

If you have visited the dealership severally, ensure it captures updated records such as the correct phone number, valid email address, and current mileage. Usually, errors during documentation could be the source of discrepancies that could cause delays during claim processing.

Repair Invoice

A repair invoice means invoices, bills, and documents that indicate labor and material towards completion of an approved repair. It’s similar to a repair order because it describes the repair attempts made by a dealer. Contrary to the repair order, a vehicle owner receives a repair invoice after picking up the vehicle.

For seamless claim processing, ensure the repair invoice accurately captures the vehicle defect, completed repairs, the date, cost of repairs, and mileage.

Original Purchase or Lease Documents

You’ll also need the original documents you were provided with when you bought or leased the vehicle. The sales contract contains critical information such as the sales date, cost of your car, rebates, after-market purchases, and trade-in information.

Find documents that capture those transactions if you bought your vehicle using an auto-financing loan. The information captured in the sales contract and financing agreement directly impacts the payout you’ll receive for your faulty GM vehicle.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

The manufacturer’s warranty is the document with the owner’s manual as you purchase the vehicle. It contains the express warranty from GM with details on what aspects are covered and for how long.

A manufacturer’s warranty proves the document was under contract when the defect occurred. It also clarifies whether the manufacturer’s warranty covered the required repairs.

Communication With GM or Authorized Dealership

Keep copies of your communication with the dealership or manufacturer. A copy of these correspondents may also help determine the availability of a‘’ reasonable number of repair attempts’’ or failure to make repairs by General Motors.

Other Crucial Documentation

  • Accident history
  • Maintenance Records
  • List and provide contacts of any witnesses that observed the vehicle defect
  • Receipts of expenses incurred, such as car rental

What Happens After You File a Lemon Law Claim with GM?

Once you file a lemon law claim, the manufacturer will assess it and provide you with some feedback. A manufacturer can either accept your buyback proposal, reject it, or table a counteroffer with a lower value.

Alternatively, GM may offer arbitration to resolve disputes related to the Lemon law buybacks. Although arbitration is an affordable alternative, the arbitrator may act in the manufacturer’s interest, resulting in a lower payout.

Considering the risk of dealing with a manufacturer, hiring a Lemon law attorney is a good idea.

A lemon law attorney will enhance your buyback case in the following ways:

  • Boosts Your Payout; Top on a manufacturer’s mind is to engage an attorney and reduce the payout as much as possible. You, therefore, need to work with a lemon law attorney to guard your interests. Usually, attorneys apply their extensive knowledge of lemon laws to boost your payout.
  • Counters All Arguments; Manufacturers have a team of lawyers in their books who can poke holes in your lemon law case. You can counter such tactics by partnering with a lemon law attorney.
  • Handles Time-Consuming Litigation Process: If your case goes to trial, an attorney will represent you in the complex and time-consuming process.

Negotiating a Fair Lemon Law Buyback Settlement with GM

You may settle with GM out of court; an attorney is best suited to represent your interest for a fair buyback amount. One of the best ways to get ahead of the negotiation is to clearly understand the target payout before commencing negotiations.

The prior understanding improves your ability to negotiate effectively and know when to use your leverage over GM. 

Moreover, if parties to negotiations fail to anticipate associated costs, such as legal fees and loss of time, it can lead to a reduced payout. With that in mind, opt for a speedy resolution to maximize your payout.

Get the Compensation You Deserve—Let Us Assist You Pursuing a Lemon Law Buyback

A defective GM vehicle is a source of frustration. For instance, a Cadillac with a faulty steering wheel could suddenly lock, endangering your life, passengers, and other road users. Defective vehicles also attract additional expenses related to repairs and inconveniences.

To that end, you deserve the best representation as you fight for fair compensation.

At LemonLaw123, we’ve experienced and knowledgeable attorneys, which explains our high success rate.

Contact us online or call us at 657.529.5239 for a free case review.

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, known as The Lemon Law Lady, has dedicated her entire legal career to the specialized field of Lemon Law, a journey that began immediately after her
graduation from UCLA School of Law.

With a 99% success rate and a policy of no fees unless you win, her practice stands as a testament to her expertise in California’s Lemon Law, her commitment to her clients, and her unwavering dedication to justice and consumer rights.

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