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Is Arbitration Required for a Lemon Law Dispute? 

Law Offices of Kevin Faulk Oct. 18, 2022

Everyone has heard the term “lemon” to describe a car that doesn’t work well or breaks down all the time, but many people may not realize that there’s an actual “lemon law” in the state of California to protect consumers when they unwittingly buy a defective car from a manufacturer or dealer.

However, just because the car you bought is having some issues doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll qualify for protection under this law. In fact, of the over seven million new cars registered in the state from 2018 to 2022, according to the United States Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), less than one-half of one percent of these resulted in a lawsuit filed against the seller. Still, if you do have a legitimate claim under this law, you’ll need to know how to pursue a lawsuit and importantly, whether or not you’ll need arbitration as part of the process.  

If you’re in the Sunnyvale, California area or anywhere throughout the state, call us at the Law Offices of Kevin Faulk to schedule a consultation. Our firm is here to help you find a path forward. 

Is Arbitration Required in a Lemon Law Dispute?  

If you’ve recently purchased a defective vehicle and think you meet the criteria for filing a lemon law claim, you need to first learn about the requirements for arbitration. Specifically, you should be able to answer the question, “is arbitration required for a lemon law dispute?” While some sources will tell you that arbitration is required, and manufacturer's will certainly try to make you think it is, it is not necessary.  

You can always try arbitration first before starting a claim, but it requires that both parties (in this case, the seller and the buyer) agree to it. You cannot force arbitration on someone else. However, arbitration is rarely a good idea because it will keep you out of the courts and removes a lot of the protection that consumers have. Dealers and manufacturers may opt for arbitration because they can be confident that an arbitrator will be less harsh with them than a jury. 

Preparing for Arbitration 

As you prepare for arbitration in a lemon law dispute there are some basic things you should do beforehand. The most important thing is to educate yourself about the law to ensure that your case actually has standing. This can be tricky to determine—a lemon law attorney can help you determine the strength of your case. In general, if your vehicle has a substantial defect that occurred within a certain number of miles or amount of time and you’ve made several good-faith attempts to have it fixed, you may have a case under California’s Lemon Law.  

Second, you’ll want to gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. This could include advertisements or brochures from the dealer about the car you purchased, bills and repair reports of your attempts at having the problem fixed, and any communication you’ve had with the dealer or repair shops. You’ll need to prove that you’ve genuinely tried to address the issue and either the defect is unfixable, or the dealership is uncooperative in addressing the problem.   

Reach Out to Skilled Counsel  

Nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars on a new or used car only to find out that it’s defective or broken in some way. Yet this happens to thousands of consumers each year. If you’ve found yourself in a situation like this and are asking yourself, “What can I do if my car is a lemon?”, you need to enlist the help of a professional who can help you seek the compensation you deserve. At Law Offices of Kevin Faulk in Sunnyvale, California, we’re committed to educating consumers about lemon laws and helping them fully understand their options. Call us today to make an appointment to speak with an experienced lemon law attorney.