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Lemon Law Buybacks-California

Lemon Law buybacks California Lemon Law Attorney

The California Lemon Law, has several rules that the consumer or small business must follow to complete a successful lemon law buyback of a new motor vehicle.  What is the first rule?  Rule #1: at the first sign of a problem, bring your vehicle to an authorized dealer.  If you are not sure who is an authorized dealership in your area, you can call the customer service phone number listed in your owner’s manual or warranty booklet to find out, but it does not need to be the dealership that sold or leased the vehicle to you.  Any authorized dealer can perform warranty repairs.

Why is this Rule #1?  Because, to get the manufacturer or distributor to buyback a new motor vehicle, you and your lawyer will need to present evidence that the vehicle was or became defective, through no fault of the owner.  This usually requires a paper trail of reasonable repair attempts with an authorized dealer.

Also, under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (California’s version of the “Lemon Law” that is most important to consumers and businesses for vehicle problems), the manufacturer is allowed to deduct for mileage on the vehicle before the first repair attempt.  For example, if a vehicle is purchased with 100 miles on the odometer and the consumer follows the advice and brings the vehicle to a dealer when the concern first appears at 1100 miles, the manufacturer is allowed an offset for the 900 miles used by the consumer.  In contrast, if the same consumer waits until 5500 miles, then the manufacturer’s office will be much larger, because it will be based on 5400 miles used.

There is an actual calculation in California’s Lemon Law at Cal. Civil Code, Section 1793.2, Subdivision (d)(2)( C).  To compute the actual offset under this section, take the actual purchase price paid or payable, including transportation charges and factory options, divide that by 120,000 miles, then multiply it by the number of miles when the vehicle was first brought to an authorized dealer for the concern.  Let’s see how this computes using the previous example and assuming a purchase price of $25,000: with 900 miles used, the offset would be $187.50, but with 5400 miles used, the office would be $1125.00, a difference of $937.50.

If you are like many people, a difference of $937.50 out of a $25,000 purchase price is not small change. It might represent two, three or more car payments!  Manufacturers eagerly enforce this offset amount (not always accurately) when they do decide to offer a vehicle buyback.  Even if you are slammed, just bring your vehicle to a dealer as soon as you notice each concern.  That first time, one never knows if it is a random problem or the first repair attempt in a string of efforts to try to fix a defect.

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At Fault, or so the CHP Said!

Los Angeles Personal Injury law firm and Best rated Attorney- for any questions regarding a recent accident or injury, call us for a FREE Consultation. 323-486-0102

 

The CHP said I was at fault, so what can I do?

Even California Highway Patrol officers will admit that they are not the last word on who is at fault in an accident.  Their determination is simply an opinion that one officer has put on the accident or incident report, perhaps as a convenience to the persons involved, who will need to file a claim with their insurance company.  Unless a major crash is involved, the CHP does not have the time and the resources to thoroughly investigate the details of each accident that happened on the roads.

It can take many hours of officers, supervisors and accident investigatorss to evaluate the road, the wreckage, the street signs and lights, and interview all victims and potential witnesses to get an accurate picture and report of what truly occurred.  Even if that is peformed, errors can occur or major causes may be overlooked.  Did the report consider each driver’s visibility and the signs and warnings?  Did the report consider that some of the drivers and witnesses may have not seen something important or that their perspective of the scene or recall of the events may be faulty or biased?

Even when the accident report assigns fault to one driver, that does not mean that the other drivers are free of liability or that the driver who was declared “at fault” will have to pay for everything or have his or her insurance pay 100% to everyone else.  Until you’ve consulted with your own lawyer, each driver should know the practical limits of the officer’s report and not assume that it is correct or the “final word” on accident liability.

In our system, only a court of law or other adjudicative body, after hearing all of the evidence, can determine which drivers were at fault and by what percentage of fault.  The judge or jury will need to hear and consider numerous witnesses and experts, then the arguments of the lawyers and the judge’s reading of the jury instructions. Trials can last for several days, weeks or months to get to a final verdict or judgment. It is worth a painstaking review, however, as many verdicts reach into multi-millions of dollars in damages awarded.  Also, it would be a big surprise if the percentage of liability of each driver followed exactly what the original officer wrote on the report.