A question lemon law attorneys are often asked is whether a consumer has a vehicle that is considered a lemon under the Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, which is the foundation of California’s lemon law. It is recognized that a consumer needs at least two repair attempts before a car can be considered a lemon.
In this article, we cover the critical pieces of evidence you’ll need to prove your car is a lemon.
The most critical evidence is the vehicle’s work repair order, followed by proof of ownership. Proof of ownership is important because the vehicle manufacturer will verify whether the consumer still owns the car that is the subject matter of the dispute and whether the consumer bought the vehicle from a California car dealership.
The Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act does not apply to private party purchases. Nevertheless, even if a consumer bought a used car in a private sale, some attorneys will take on these types of cases if the consumer/purchaser can get the seller’s “lemon law rights” assigned to them.
This is why a consumer needs to contact a competent lemon law attorney before embarking on a quest with the vehicle manufacturer themselves.
A consumer does not need to physically possess the vehicle that is the subject matter of the dispute. Nevertheless, the car itself is important evidence that the car was/is a lemon.
The single most important document to prove a lemon law claim is the vehicle’s work repair order. The reason for this is that this is the consumer’s primary evidence to prove the consumer’s case. This is why it is vital that when a consumer drops off their vehicle for repairs at a vehicle manufacturer’s authorized repair shop, the consumer conveys to the dealership all the problems and concerns the consumer has with their vehicle.
Often, a consumer may convey concerns to the dealership only to discover later that the dealership did not write down all of the problems on the work repair order. As a result, the vehicle was not checked for those particular issues, or if it was checked, the issues were not documented.
As far as the vehicle manufacturer is concerned, it did not happen if it is not written down on its work repair order. This is why it is extremely important to communicate all the concerns to the dealership regarding the vehicle.
Secondly, before leaving the dealership, a consumer should make sure that the vehicle’s work repair order reflects all the problems the consumer has regarding the vehicle. Remember, the vehicle’s work repair order is the single most important document to present to the vehicle manufacturer to prove a lemon law case. Furthermore, and extremely important, if the vehicle has a safety issue, the consumer would want to get this addressed immediately.
Secondary to the vehicle’s work repair order, the vehicle’s purchase contract or lease agreement, along with the current vehicle’s registration, are essential documents not necessarily to prove the lemon law case but to start one.
To make a lemon law case, a consumer needs to have bought the vehicle from a California dealership and not from a private sale.
The caveat here is that some attorneys would take on a consumer’s case if the consumer bought the vehicle at a private sale and is assigned the previous owner’s lemon law rights, who would ostensibly be the consumer who purchased the car at a California dealership.
The vehicle registration is important because the manufacturer would want to make sure that the consumer currently owns the vehicle. A consumer does not necessarily need to possess the car to make a lemon law claim physically. But the consumer also has to consider that the car itself is evidence of a lemon law claim. Thus, the consumer is better positioned to present a lemon law claim if the consumer still physically owns the vehicle.
Other evidence secondary to prove lemon law claims are videos or photos of the vehicle’s issues when the vehicle is manifesting the problems. When the vehicle is exhibiting problems, it is prudent that a consumer safely takes pictures or video of the vehicle’s issues. Documented oral statements from the vehicle dealership are also important. When doing this, it is important to keep a journal and write down the dates, names, and communication subject matter.
A competent lemon law attorney can help you look through the vehicle’s work repair orders and other documents to see whether a lemon law claim can be made against the vehicle manufacturer, dealership, or both.
Our lemon law firm provides free consultations. If we take your case, you are not responsible for paying us any fees under California’s Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.
Luis Aguirre California Lemon Law Attorney 26060 Acero Suite 111
Mission Viejo, CA 92691 Telephone: 949.342.6199.