How to file a lemon law claim in California

Sometimes, consumers can find themselves in the unfortunate position of owning a lemon car. If your new or used vehicle has shown a persistent problem that can’t be fixed, you may be entitled to compensation under California’s lemon law.

If your new car isn’t living up to your expectations and you need to file a claim, you have two options: You can either file directly with the manufacturer or work with an attorney. The latter is generally recommended, as the process can be complex and challenging to navigate on your own.

Here’s what you need to know about how to file a lemon law claim in California.

1. Determine if your car qualifies as a lemon under California law.

To be considered a lemon under California law, your car must have a defect or condition that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety and that can’t be fixed after a reasonable number of attempts. In this case, “reasonable” is defined as at least four attempts by the manufacturer or its authorized dealer, or two if the problem puts you in danger. If your car meets these qualifications, you’re one step closer to filing a successful lemon law claim.

2. Gather evidence to support your claim.

You’ll need to provide documentation to back up your claim, so be sure to keep detailed records of the problem (or problems) with your car, as well as all repairs that have been attempted. This can include repair invoices, correspondence with the manufacturer or dealer, and any other relevant paperwork.

3. Notify the manufacturer in writing.

The next step is to send a “notice of nonconformity” to the manufacturer, letting them know that you believe your car is a lemon and outlining the problem (or problems) you’ve experienced. Be sure to include copies of your supporting documentation, as well as your contact information.

4. Allow the manufacturer an opportunity to repair the problem.

Once the manufacturer has received your notice, they’ll have the opportunity to inspect and repair the car. If they’re unable to do so, or if the repairs don’t fix the problem, you can move forward with your lemon law claim.

5. File a claim with the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

The final step is to file a claim with the California Department of Consumer Affairs. You can do this online, by mail, or in person. However, an experienced attorney can relieve you from the hustle and help you get the best possible outcome for your claim. You can find one at Navigating the lemon law is a complicated process, so working with an experienced attorney is always your best bet.