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Understanding Lemon Law Buybacks

Law Offices of Kevin Faulk March 20, 2023

Buying a new or even slightly used car is an expensive undertaking and one where you want to be sure you’re getting a quality product for your money. However, if you find that your vehicle is defective, you’ll need to take action immediately. According to a 2022 report put out by Carfax, California leads the nation with the most vehicles with open recalls at around 5.6 million. While most recalls can be repaired or addressed fairly quickly, there are others that are not and will be subject to lemon law. Most people have heard the term “lemon” to refer to a defective car, but they may not know about the actual laws that protect consumers under the same name. 

To speak with a lemon law attorney in the Sunnyvale, California area or anywhere throughout the state, call us at Law Offices of Kevin Faulk. Our attorney is prepared to advocate for your rights and pursue the outcome you deserve. 

Lemon Law Buybacks in California  

Each state sets its own laws outlining how consumers can seek compensation under the lemon law, and this often takes the form of a buyback. In general, this means that you must return the car to the manufacturer who reimburses you (“buys back” the vehicle) for any expenses related to the car. 

What Does a Repurchase Include?  

Although each lemon law buyback will be slightly different based on the vehicle, when it was purchased, what was wrong with it, and other details of your original purchase, you can generally expect a few standard reimbursements. This typically means you’ll be reimbursed for your full down payment, all monthly payments made, taxes, finance charges, rental and towing expenses, and complete loan payoff. Essentially, any expenses you incurred related to the car and its defects you may be able to receive compensation for. However, to do this, you’ll need thorough documentation. If you find yourself with a lemon (or a car you merely suspect is a lemon), be sure to keep every bill or record of correspondence you have with the manufacturer, seller, or mechanic you work with. This will be essential to ensuring you get fair reimbursement. 

The Buyback Process 

The most important step you can take when pursuing a lemon law buyback is to contact an attorney with experience helping consumers like yourself navigate this often-complex process. A skilled attorney can ensure you’re following all the correct channels and state regulations as well as organizing and collecting documentation to help your claim. You will then likely need to take the car back to the dealership where you purchased it since you must allow them a “reasonable” number of attempts to repair it. This could mean they have only one opportunity to fix it for defects that are serious safety hazards, but for lesser defects, they may be able to try three or four times. It’s important that you keep all records associated with these repair attempts including other expenses you incur because of them such as time off work or time without a working vehicle. 

If the dealer is unable to fix the car, you will then need to file a claim under California’s lemon law provisions and determine the terms that will apply to your specific case. It’s here that your attorney will play a large part in compiling evidence and presenting your claim. Car manufacturers have teams of lawyers working for them and will naturally try to minimize the amount of money they payout in instances like this. However, a seasoned attorney who’s worked with numerous lemon law cases can ensure your claim is thoroughly investigated and supported with evidence. They will then negotiate on your behalf to come to a mutually agreed settlement, and even argue your case in court if it comes to that. You’ll then have to return the car to the manufacturer and receive your payment.  

How Long Does a Buyback Take?  

There’s no way to tell upfront how long your particular case will take from beginning to end since each case is dependent on several circumstances. In the best-case scenarios, you can expect the process to take roughly three months, but there are other situations that can take up to eighteen months to resolve. This is especially true if the dealer makes multiple attempts to fix the issue. Once your lawyer fully understands the details of your case, they can give you an estimate of how long you can expect the process to take based on their previous experience.  

Serving California Clients With Passionate Advocacy  

If you’ve recently purchased a vehicle and have had issues with it since day one, and you’re wondering, “What can I do if my car is a lemon?”, you need to reach out to a qualified attorney immediately. If you’re in Sunnyvale or anywhere else in California, contact our team at Law Offices of Kevin Faulk for help.