Steps in a Lemon Law Claim in California

Below are some of the common steps in a typical lemon law case, generally speaking. How long will all of these steps take? This varies greatly depending on a number of factors. 

1. Take Your Car to the Dealer to be Fixed

You can be covered under state lemon laws if your car catches on fire or some other one-time catastrophe. However, in most cases, the first step will be getting your car serviced at the dealer. The lemon law is – at its heart – consumer warranty protection. This means repairs you do yourself or at your friend’s repair shop don’t count, unfortunately. You must have the problem fixed at the official warranty repair shop. This is crucial.

2. Hold On to All Your Service Records

For the lemon law to apply, you must have the same problem repaired at least three times (sometimes more). Go to an authorized repair shop each time and hold on to all of your receipts and documentation. If applicable, start thinking about recording videos of, for example, the car stalling, or taking pictures of the paint as the bubbling continues to worsen.

3. Contact a Lemon Law Attorney

If the issue has been worked on three different times and it is still defective or malfunctioning, now it’s time to contact a lemon law attorney.

Most lemon law attorneys will ask you to submit your car’s details via a contact form or email, but you can also call and provide this information. If the lawyer agrees to take your case, you’ll provide the necessary documents to your legal team. The documents your lawyer will need include: the bill of sale, service records, the written warranty. Remember to ask about the fee agreement and always sign a contract to avoid surprises.

4. Notify the Car Manufacturer

The next step generally will be for your attorney to send a letter to the car manufacturer outlining your case and stating your demands (Do you want a refund? Do you want a replacement vehicle?). Sending the letter out may take a few days. Most car companies will take a month or two to reply.

5. Settlement Negotiations

If the manufacturer agrees to the initial demands in your lawyer’s letter, it can still take up to 3 months to actually get the lemon off your hands. However, most likely, the manufacturer will, like an insurance settlement, make a counter-offer or deny the claim altogether.

6. File a Lawsuit

If the car company denies your claim, your lawyer will then move from trying to settle out of court to fighting in court. Timelines for lemon law lawsuits vary based on many factors.

7. Make Lemonade Out of Your Lemon

Finally, you’ll get rid of the lemon! This can mean a full buyback in which you can take your cash elsewhere to get a different car, or you can ask for an exchange from the dealer. Regardless of the terms you negotiated, you are now free of the burden of a defective car.

Get Started Now – California Lemon Law Help The average lemon law buyback in California takes up to six months from start to finish. While this probably isn’t the answer you were hoping for, it is better than buying stuck with a defective, potentially unsafe car with no recourse. If your car is a 2017 or newer and still under the manufacturer’s warranty, get a free lemon law evaluation from an experienced California attorney now.

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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Valerie did a fantastic job handling my lawsuit. She was in constant contact with me, she was honest and kept me informed every step of the way. I appreciate her great help and her great service and I would definitely use her again and recommend her to anybody out there that needs help.


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I am beyond satisfied. After being told that I did not have a case by other attorneys, I was referred to Ms. Campbell and I am so glad I called her. During the initial consultation, Ms. Campbell was very thorough and answered all of my concerns. She assured me that this was not an overnight fix, however, it took less than three (3) months to resolve. Ms. Campbell was available every step of the way. I rarely called or emailed her because she always kept me in the loop. Every case is different but I am glad mine was quick and painless. I would recommend LemonLaw123 to anyone without any reservations. I could not have asked for better representation. Thank you!!!!


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Valerie C. is an amazing attorney who is extremely experienced in the area of Lemon Law. As a fellow attorney, she earned my respect as an experienced litigator who never settled for anything less than the best for her clients. I recommend Lemon Law 123 to my family and friends as I know she will give them the care, attention, and legal expertise every client deserves. You will get the best results with the Lemon Law 123 team.



This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, personally handled over 500 lemon law cases and settlements.