California Lemon Law Compensation: What Should You Expect?

The California Lemon Law was designed to protect consumers who purchase or lease a new vehicle in California with a manufacturer’s warranty. Under this law, vehicles that have been subject to repair three or more times for the same problem, as well as those that have been at the dealership for more than 30 days, may be classified as Lemons.

Thanks to the California Lemon Law, the manufacturers of such Lemons must accept the return of the vehicle and compensate the consumer for it. The law also contains provisions for the payment of consumers’ attorneys’ fees and costs by the manufacturer. As a result, you, the consumer, pay nothing to have one of our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys represent you in a claim against the automobile manufacturer!

What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect If I Pursue a Lemon Law Claim Against the Manufacturer?

If it is determined your vehicle is a “Lemon,” you may return it to the manufacturer in exchange for a refund or replacement vehicle. If you choose a refund, the manufacturer will pay off the outstanding loan or lease, if you have one, and accept the return of the vehicle. Refunds must include

  • your down payment or lease inception payment,
  • any funds you received from a trade-in that were applied to the cost of the Lemon,
  • any government fees, including sales tax, license and registration fees, AND
  • all monthly payments you have made up to the date of settlement.

With all Lemon Law cases, the manufacturer is entitled to an offset for mileage you drove the vehicle. This offset is based on the mileage at the first repair for a recurring problem, underscoring the importance of servicing your vehicle as soon as you notice issues. To calculate the offset, multiply the mileage on the date of the first repair attempt by the purchase price and divide the product by 120,000.

California Lemon Law Compensation

You may also be entitled to other compensation, including reimbursement for out-of-pocket towing and rental car expenses you paid during your warranty repair visits. Similarly, you may be compensated for the cost of any repairs you paid for out-of-pocket.

You may also elect to receive a replacement vehicle instead of a repurchase. With a replacement vehicle, you simply receive a new comparable vehicle in place of your “Lemon.” If you choose a vehicle with additional features or options, you may need to pay for those extras. But if the manufacturer offers a replacement with those same extras because they are unable to provide an exact replacement, you won’t need to pay for the additional options.

How Long Does It Generally Take to Get Compensated?

The length of time required to reach a settlement depends upon many factors. The type of vehicle, its repair history, and the cooperativeness of the manufacturer all play a role in determining the duration of your case. But generally, the duration of Lemon Law cases is measured in months rather than years.

At Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center®, we always strive to recover compensation for our clients as quickly as possible. Thankfully, the experience we’ve gained working with all automobile manufacturers and their attorneys over the last several decades enables us to resolve these cases in a minimal amount of time. In fact, we resolve many of our client’s cases without ever filing a lawsuit in Court.

Does the Manufacturer Pay Any Incidental Damages?

Yes, in addition to a refund or replacement vehicle, you may also be entitled to additional compensation. The manufacturer may be obligated to reimburse you for any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result of the Lemon’s defect(s). These might include

  • towing costs,
  • rental car expenses paid for during your warranty repair visits, and/or
  • out-of-pocket repair expenses.

The Lemon Law also provides for the recovery of a civil penalty under certain select circumstances. Civil penalties in Lemon Law cases are typically reserved for situations in which the manufacturer willingly refuses to offer you a refund or replacement vehicle despite the fact that your vehicle clearly qualifies as a Lemon under the State law.

Civil penalties in these cases can equal any amount up to a maximum of twice the price of your vehicle. So if you purchase a vehicle for $50,000 and it meets the State’s definition of a Lemon, it may be possible to collect a refund or replacement vehicle AND $100,000 in civil penalties.

If you purchased or leased a vehicle in California and you think it might be a Lemon, reach out to us today for a free case review. We’ll advise you on the best course of action in your case and be happy to help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to.

Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® is pleased to comply with state regulations concerning client statements and testimonials:

In order for you to see our client video or read our client statements, please click the green button below. You will be taken directly to the video or client statements.

If you are interested in viewing information about the lawyer/firm’s past results and testimonials about the lawyer/firm, please read and acknowledge the information below.

The information in this section contains information about the lawyer/firm’s past results, testimonials about the lawyer/firm, and statements regarding the lawyer/firm’s quality. The information has not been reviewed or approved by Bar Associations of the states in which the law firm practices.

The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters in which results and testimonials have been provided.

All results of cases handled by the lawyer/firm are not provided and not all clients have given testimonials.

The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer/firm or of the experience of all clients or others with the lawyer/firm. Past results are no guarantee of future results. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

The testimonials or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.