Discovering that your newly purchased or leased vehicle is a lemon can be a frustrating and challenging experience. Fortunately, consumer protection laws, such as lemon laws, exist to help you seek remedies when faced with such situations.
One common question is whether you can demand a replacement vehicle instead of a full refund. This blog post will explore this option and provide insights into its workings under lemon laws.
Understanding Lemon Law Eligibility
Before delving into the replacement option, it’s essential to understand the criteria that make your vehicle eligible under the California lemon laws:
- Multiple Repair Attempts: The manufacturer or its authorized repair facility must have made several unsuccessful attempts to repair the defects within the warranty period.
- Significant Days Out of Service: Due to warranty repairs, your vehicle must have been out of service for several days.
- Substantial Defects: The defects must significantly impair the vehicle’s safety, use, or value.
In many lemon law cases, consumers can choose a replacement vehicle instead of a full refund. However, it’s vital to keep certain factors in mind when considering a replacement vehicle:
New and Identical Equivalent
According to the California lemon lawyers from Young & Young APC, if you choose a replacement vehicle, it must be brand new and match or reasonably approximate your original vehicle as it was at the original purchase or lease, including service contracts, undercoating, rustproofing, and any factory or dealer options.
The manufacturer is responsible for covering the cost of the replacement vehicle, including sales tax, license, and registration fees. This ensures that the replacement process does not financially burden you.
Incidental Costs and Attorney’s Fees
Sometimes, the manufacturer may also need to refund any incidental costs incurred due to the lemon, such as rental car expenses or towing fees. Additionally, if you have engaged an attorney in the lemon law dispute, the manufacturer may be required to cover attorney’s fees awarded by the arbitrator.
Consultation with an Attorney
When considering the option of a replacement vehicle, it is advisable to consult with an experienced lemon law attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the legal complexities, negotiate with the manufacturer, and protect your rights.
In conclusion, if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of owning or leasing a lemon, you can demand a replacement vehicle instead of a full refund. This choice can provide a practical solution to continue enjoying the benefits of a vehicle, provided it meets the criteria of being new and “identical or reasonably equivalent.” The manufacturer is responsible for covering the costs, including taxes and fees, and may need to refund incidental and attorney’s fees as determined by the arbitrator.