A No-Nonsense Approach to Lemon Law Claims
After weeks of hearing excuses from the dealership repair shop, the last thing you need is a long and tiresome legal proceeding. We make the process easy. Neale & Fhima will move swiftly to assert your rights against the manufacturer, and then keep the pressure on until your case is resolved. Here is what we do:
- Solidify your legal claim. California’s lemon law contains technical requirements that must be met, including notice provisions and filing deadlines. Documenting the dealership’s failed repair attempts is crucial, and getting a certified inspection may be helpful in some cases. We take the lead with regard to all these steps in order to ensure your claim is ready to go forward.
- Negotiate the best result possible. You might assume that manufacturers confronted with a valid claim would simply follow the law and provide their customer with the appropriate remedy. Sadly, they don’t. Unnecessary delays, dubious legal arguments, and low-ball counteroffers are all common. These tactics do not work against our attorneys. We are fierce negotiators and will not quit until the terms of the settlement agreement meet with your approval.
- Go to court if necessary. Nearly all our lemon law cases resolve shortly after filing the claim. But we will not hesitate to take a case to trial when necessary. If you are dealing with an especially stubborn car company, formal litigation may be the answer. Neale & Fhima can litigate in any of California’s 58 Superior Courts.
You’ll Be Glad You Hired Our Firm
We understand we are not the only firm handling lemon law cases. At the same time, we are confident you will be making the right choice by contacting our office. Here is why:
- We Value Client Relationships
High-volume law offices tend to think of clients as nothing more than a case file. The file gets passed around until it ends up with a paralegal or junior associate who just wants to finish it and move on. Neale & Fhima is different. We enjoy getting to know our clients. It also helps us craft settlement agreements that meet their individual needs.
- Our Lawyers Win Cases
Neale & Fhima enjoys a 99 percent success rate. We think this says a lot about the skill of our attorneys. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any particular case, you can take comfort in knowing your claim is being handled by lemon law lawyers who have a track record of success.
- We Know the Law
California’s lemon law is a fine example of how the state legislature can empower consumers. When it comes to clarity, however, the text of the statute leaves much to be desired. Our attorneys understand the quirks of the statute, as well as the many court opinions interpreting it. We put this knowledge to work for you.
- No Surprises
A handful of manufacturers control most of the U.S. auto market. We repeatedly go up against these same companies. This allows us to anticipate how they will respond to claims involving specific models and mechanical defects. Our attorneys will share these insights with you from day one, so you are never in the dark about what to expect.
- You Won’t Ever Get a Bill from Us
Auto manufacturers are required by law to pay a successful claimant’s legal fees. Even though fees are not covered in the event of a loss, clients of Neale & Fhima pay no legal fees regardless of the outcome. We can maintain this policy because we carefully evaluate claims upfront and we have confidence in every case we accept.
WHICH LEMON LAW REMEDY? THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
A successful lemon law claim puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes time to select the form of compensation. Here are the two primary remedies:
Option A: Repurchase. The manufacturer will take possession of the vehicle and issue you a refund of the purchase price (reduced by the value of your use of the vehicle prior to the first repair attempt). If you financed the vehicle, the manufacturer will refund the payments and pay off the loan. You will also receive a refund of registration fees, taxes, etc.
Option B: Replacement. The manufacturer will take possession of the vehicle and provide you with a new one. It must be an identical or substantially similar vehicle. The manufacturer will pay the registration and taxes on the new vehicle, but you will not receive a refund of fees or finance charges paid on the original vehicle. This option requires the consent of both parties.
In some circumstances, we may be able to negotiate an additional option called a “cash and keep.” This would allow you to retain possession of the vehicle and receive a cash payment to compensate for the defect.
WHY DO PEOPLE CHOOSE NEALE & FHIMA?
- Free consultation – by phone or in person.
- We fight for your maximum compensation and recovery.
- History of success with proven results.
- You deal directly with your lawyer.
- You and your case will not be reduced to a file number.
- If we don’t win for you, we don’t get paid.
Criteria for “Lemoning” a Vehicle
The lemon law in California does not cover all vehicles that suffer from recurring mechanical problems. On the other hand, the law applies to much more than just new cars, as some people mistakenly believe. The following points clarify the circumstances in which a vehicle will qualify:
- The defect is covered by the vehicle’s factory warranty.
- The defect substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.
- The vehicle was purchased/leased in a retail transaction.
- The transaction took place in California (active military may be exempt).
- The dealer had a “reasonable number” of attempts to make the repairs.
What is considered a reasonable number of repair attempts will vary. However, if the claim is brought within the first 18 months/18,000 miles and involves a passenger vehicle under 10,000 pounds, the requirement is presumed to be satisfied if:
- The vehicle has been to the shop at least two times (if the defect may cause serious injury or death), or
- The vehicle has been to the shop at least four times (for all other covered defects), or
- The vehicle has remained in the shop for a cumulative period of one month or longer.