The Lemon Law Process In San Diego
The lemon law process generally follows a three-step path: 1) finding a problem, 2) getting your dealer to fix the problem, and 3) determining if your vehicle is a “lemon.” If you have gone through these steps and still have not been able to obtain relief from the manufacturer or dealer of your defective vehicle, then read on.
Finding A Problem
This first step is often easy for consumers to handle because it only requires that you be an educated consumer. In order for a lemon law claim or suit against a car dealership or manufacturer to be valid under any state’s laws, there must be evidence that the defect has been present in the car since it was purchased. In other words, if you didn’t notice the problem immediately when you bought the car, then it will be up to you to try and prove that this is a lemon. Often times you can do this in one of two ways:
1) You have a recording of a conversation with a mechanic or dealership employee in which they admit there has been a problem from day one, or 2) your vehicle records contain evidence that shows that your vehicle was not performing properly from its purchase date. This may include written documentation from your dealer or previous dealers that states that there has been no warranty coverage because past repairs did not fix the same problems. In many states, obtaining these documents is as simple as writing a letter to the manufacturer asking for all service records on your vehicle.
These documents will be legally obligated to send you these records within 30 days. If the manufacturer fails to provide the records, then this may bolster your case that you have a lemon and support your right to file suit.
Getting The Dealership To Fix The Problem
Once you have evidence of problems present in your vehicle since the time of purchase, it is time to take some action against the dealership or manufacturer. You can sue them directly on your own or through an attorney’s office; however, filing an action yourself may prevent you from receiving damages for attorneys’ fees should you win. The key here is proving that there has been a defect present since day one (this is often referred to as the “Lemon Law presumption”). The dealer’s burden of proof is to prove that it fixed all defects through their recall or service departments. This process will typically require you to keep every single paper given to you by the dealer, including the work order showing what was done on each visit.
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