Lemon Law Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Lemon Law refers to the Consumer Protection laws passed by the California State Legislature and by the Federal Government. The goal of passing Lemon Laws was to protect buyers of vehicles, and to prevent them from having to pay for repairs for a defective new vehicle. The manufacturer is supposed to sell cars that work. If you were sold a lemon, our attorneys can help you recover money to get back to where you were before you bought that disaster-of-a-car!

If your vehicle qualifies under Lemon Law, the manufacturer is required to buy back your vehicle or put you in a replacement car! You won’t get stuck with a defective car that you spent your hard-earned money on. You may even be entitled to other damages for your trouble.

“Buy back” is a form of restitution where the manufacturer literally purchases the car back from you, making you whole. The Buy Back is required to be the same amount you paid for the vehicle. Extra damages like towing, rental car costs, and repairs are also included.

“Replacement” is when the manufacturer puts you in a different vehicle that is close to identical and has the same value. The replacement vehicle should not have any of the problems the previous vehicle had. The manufacturer also has to pay additional damages like towing, repairs, and rental car fees when you elect for replacement.

If you win your case and we can prove that your car is a lemon, the California Lemon Law statutes allow for you to recover attorney’s fees. Attorney’s fees means the opposing side, the manufacturer that sold you the lemon, has to pay for your attorney for you.

Determining if your car is a lemon requires applying the legal test for a lemon to your unique situation. Legal counsel like Alpha Law Firm can be very helpful as you figure out if your car is a lemon. Because a lot of factors need to be considered, it can be difficult to say if your car is a lemon without consulting with an attorney. If your car is a lemon, you then need to convince the manufacturer and the courts of this as well. The legal test for a lemon is included below.

In California a car is considered a lemon when it is:

  1. still under warranty; and
  2. the manufacturer has failed to fix your car after a reasonable number of attempts; and 
  3. issues began and you tried to get them fixed within 18 months or 18,000 miles of getting the car.

If it is a Lemon, the manufacturer is required to replace your car with a different one or buy your car back.

“Reasonable number of repairs” is usually the key issue in Lemon Law.  Deciding what is a reasonable number of repair attempts varies on a case by case basis.  Courts look to a number of different factors to decide what is reasonable under the circumstances.  Alpha Law Firm can help you navigate this complicated process.

In law, a presumption means the burden shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant.  Here, that means the court will require the defendant to disprove a car is a lemon if the plaintiff establishes the presumption. In California, the courts will presume a car is a lemon if the following additional facts occur and a car is still not fixed:

  • four repair attempts and still not fixed;
  • Two repair attempts for a serious problem that can cause serious injury or death and it is not fixed;
  • 30 day in the shop for a problem covered by warranty.

As you can see this presumption relates to the “reasonable number” of repair attempts in the legal test for a lemon.  The presumption means the courts have decided what they believe is a reasonable number of repair attempts in specific situations.

If 18 months or 18,000 miles has already passed, you might be worried that it is too late to file a Lemon Law claim. Don’t worry, a key criteria is whether or not your car was under warranty when the first repair attempt took place. Even if the time or mileage limits have passed, there is a possibility that your car could still be lemon and qualify for protection.

Sometimes car manufacturers want your Lemon Law claim to go through arbitration.  Arbitration is a process in which a neutral third party, typically a former judge or attorney, hears and decides your dispute instead of a normal court.  While it is usually less formal than a typical court proceeding, evidence needs to be presented to make your case. Failing to build and present a strong case could mean losing your Lemon Law claim.  Having a strong legal team like Alpha Law Firm is very important. Don’t go it alone even if your case goes through arbitration.

Contact us to go over your case and options with you.

The legal system is very complicated. It is your decision alone to hire an attorney, but we strongly recommend you have one. An attorney can help you present the best case possible, gather evidence, avoid mistakes that can harm your case, and help you talk to the manufacturer or dealer. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.

Alpha Law Firm is located in Los Angeles California, and we help car buyers throughout Southern California. Whether you are in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Orange County, San Diego, Ventura, or Calabasas, we want to help. Contact us by filling out our intake form, or call us at (323)51-LEMON (5366) for a no obligation consultation.


We will evaluate your individual situation and provide you an evaluation of your claim and the next steps you should take. Don’t hesitate to protect your rights!

Contact the Alpha Law Firm at (323)51-LEMON (53666) today!



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