One of the questions that consumers ask frequently is what is a “vehicle mileage offset?”
The vehicle mileage offset is an amount deducted from the consumer’s lemon claim “actual damages” and it is calculated as “the number of miles traveled by the new motor vehicle prior to the time the buyer first delivered the vehicle to the manufacturer or distributor, or its authorized service and repair facility for correction of the problem that gave rise to the non-conformity . . . [times] . . . the actual price of the new motor vehicle paid or payable by the buyer . . . [divided by] . . . 120,000.” CA Civil Code 1793.2.
Let us say for example that a consumer bought a vehicle for $50,000.00, and bought the vehicle with zero miles, and drove the vehicle for 2,000 miles before the vehicle gave the consumer the first problem that gave rise to the vehicle being deemed a lemon. Let us also say that the consumer drove the vehicle for another 10,000 miles for a total of 12,000 miles, before filing a claim with the vehicle manufacturer. The vehicle mileage offset would look like this: $50,000.00 (actual price) X 2,000 miles (the first time the vehicle gave the consumer the first problem that gave rise to the vehicle being a lemon) divided by 120,000 (an arbitrary number prescribed by law). This would equal $833.33. Therefore, the vehicle mileage offset in this example would be $833.33 and this amount would be deducted from the consumer’s total “actual damages.”
But, where does the 120,000-mile denominator come from? As explained, this appears to be an arbitrary number that probably comes from what the life expectancy of a vehicle.
From the vehicle manufacturer’s perspective and their attorneys, they want to argue a latter vehicle repair date. From the consumer’s perspective, and hopefully, their attorneys, the consumer wants to argue an earlier vehicle repair date.
The vehicle mileage offset formula may seem like a simple formulation on the surface, but in fact it is not. The vehicle manufacturer has no incentive to act in the best interest of the consumer. The vehicle manufacturer’s attorneys have the duty to act in the best interest of their client, the vehicle manufacturer. Because the Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act provides for attorneys’ fees and costs be paid by the vehicle manufacturer if the consumer prevails, there should not be a disincentive for a consumer to obtain the help of a California Lemon Law attorney in order to pursue their lemon law claim.
Luis Aguirre California Lemon Law Attorney 26060 Acero Suite 111
Mission Viejo, CA 92691 Telephone: 949.342.6199.