The U.S. experienced a record-high number of recall campaigns in 2021. Learning about a recall on your vehicle can be alarming and aggravating, as is realizing you have purchased a “lemon.”
Under California’s lemon laws, protection is offered for individuals who have purchased or leased a materially defective product. The regulations include new and preowned (or used) motor vehicles. After the vehicle returns from the shop and experiences the same issue repeatedly, or the manufacturer cannot resolve the problem (given a reasonable attempt to do so), it is clear that the vehicle is defective. After unsuccessful repair endeavors, consumers should consider consulting a lemon law attorney.
When you get a truck, car, van, SUV, truck, motorcycle, RV, or motorhome but hardly have the opportunity to use it (as it’s undrivable, in the shop, or at a dealer), it’s easy to grow frustrated but filing a lemon law claim offers a road to justice.
However, what should you do if a recall is issued while you have a lemon law claim or are dealing with a lemon?
Will a recall affect your lemon law claim?
In the U.S., when a vehicle, piece of equipment, car seat, or tire does not meet minimum safety standards or poses safety risks, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) or the vehicle manufacturer will issue a recall.
Typically, a recall issue is resolved the first time around. Consequently, most recalls do not often result in claims under lemon laws. Suppose you pursue a lemon law claim and the manufacturer issues a recall on your vehicle. In that case, it is unlikely to impact your claim since that manufacturer has already failed to repair your vehicle several times.
If your vehicle has undergone several recalls, this will likely only increase the odds of a successful lemon law claim and outcome.
Under a recall, a manufacturer usually fixes the problem at no charge to the consumer. So, the question arises; should you bypass the lemon law claim altogether? Recalls are designed and intended to fix a specific issue, but they typically won’t include coverage for all the costs associated with the defect. For example, you may have paid for a rental car while your vehicle was getting repaired, or you likely had your car initially towed. Filing and qualifying for a lemon law claim would translate into adequate compensation covering all or most issues and expenses.
Basic Qualifications for a Lemon Law Claim
The lemon law may protect new or used vehicles leased or purchased by California consumers. Car buyers and lessees must meet the following requirements before filing:
- The manufacturer, dealership, or authorized repair facility cannot fix the vehicle within a reasonable timeframe; multiple repair attempts are usually four attempts for a non-safety nonconformity, but there is no set number of times.
- Or the defect could cause a severe injury or death (if you drove the car as-is), and manufacturers have attempted to solve the problem twice but to no avail.
- Your vehicle is still under warranty.
- Repairs for a warranty-related problem have kept the vehicle out of service for over 30 days in total.
Note: If the issue/defect is identified before the warranty expires, but the vehicle is at this time out of warranty, you may still qualify.
The Manufacturer or Dealership Cannot Correct the Issue
When the defect is not repairable by the manufacturer or dealer, the responsibility lies with the manufacturer to correct the situation. The manufacturer must offer to replace the vehicle or refund the purchase amount. The option of refund or replacement is up to you; however, often, the manufacturer does not honor this stipulation. When this happens, arbitration may be necessary.
A lemon can be irritating, costly, and time-consuming. If you are unsure if meet qualifications under the California lemon laws, have questions about filing a claim, or are having issues with the manufacturer, it is best to consult an experienced California Lemon law Attorney. Conn Law, PC offers years of knowledge, experience, and complimentary case evaluations.