What’s the difference between a lemon law claim and a dealer fraud case?

What's the difference between a lemon law claim and a dealer fraud case?

Defective vehicle cases and dealer fraud cases are not only two very different legal actions, but they are also governed by different statutes.  Cases alleging auto defects and dangers are often handled as lemon law claims or breach of warranty claims.  On the other hand, cases alleging fraudulent practices by a dealer during the execution of a sale fall under the jurisdiction of laws prohibiting fraudulent or deceptive trade practices.

California has an expansive and consumer-friendly lemon law, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, that provides legal relief for residents who purchase vehicles that turn out to have chronic defects.  These are defects that compromise the vehicle’s USE, VALUE, or SAFETY.  If you can prove your lemon law claim, you are entitled to (a) a buyback (reimbursement of all your money paid into the vehicle) or (b) a replacement from the vehicle manufacturer.  The California lemon law applies to cars, trucks, SUVs, electric vehicles, boats, RVs, motorcycles, and a handful of other vehicles.  It covers new, used (under some circumstances), and leased vehicles.

Lemon Law vs. a Fraud Claim

Lemon Law – A lemon law claim can arise when you purchase a new or used vehicle that turns out to be a lemon.  In these cases, the dealer didn’t know the vehicle was flawed – it simply rolled off the assembly line that way.  A skilled and experienced California lemon law attorney can help you file a claim and secure a remedy in these cases.

Statute of Limitations for Lemon Law in California

Lemon Law claims can arise from both new and used car sales, including those for traditional combustion-engine vehicles and electric vehicles.  The statute of limitations for filing a California lemon law claim is four (4) years from the date a consumer knew or should have known that the vehicle was a lemon. This does not mean that if you have had your vehicle for more than 4 years, you cannot bring a lemon law claim. Our lemon law attorneys have successfully “lemoned” vehicles that are more than 10 years old. However, you’ll want to start the lemon law buyback process as soon as possible.  After the statute of limitations runs out, a judge can dismiss your case, barring you from any legal remedy.

Neale & Fhima has a 99% success rate in lemon law cases.  Get your lemon law claim started today!

Lemon Law and Used Cars

California’s lemon law covers some used vehicles, but not all.  The key is whether you have a particular kind of warranty.  If you have one of the three following warranties, you may have a lemon law claim:

  • Transferred New Car Warranty
  • Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
  • Lemon Law Buyback Warranty.

Remember, service contracts and extended warranties don’t count when it comes to qualifying for lemon law protection on used cars.

Let’s Recap:  3 Differences Between Lemon Law Claim and Auto Fraud

There are some key differences between a lemon law claim and auto fraud.  These include:

  1. 1. Lemon law claims deal with defective vehicles, whereas auto fraud cases involve unscrupulous sales and advertising practices by a dealer.
  2. 2. Lemon law claims are governed by the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (California lemon law), whereas auto fraud cases are governed by laws regulating trade practices.
  3. 3. Lemon law remedies include a buyback or replacement vehicle, whereas legal remedies for dealer fraud cases can vary.

Neale & Fhima are your go-to attorneys for California lemon law cases.  Call us for a free initial consultation at 949-661-1007.

Why Choose Us as Your Lemon Law Lawyer?

There are a lot of attorneys in California to choose from, but we think our legal team is the best choice.  Attorney Aaron Fhima is a tough negotiator with a keen legal mind.  He has been handling lemon law cases for many years, and he knows the complexities and nuances of the statute.  California’s lemon law is a fine example of how the state legislature can empower consumers. But when it comes to clarity, the text of the statute leaves much to be desired. Our legal team understands the quirks of the statute, as well as the many court opinions interpreting it. We put this knowledge to work for you.  We have many satisfied clients who refer their friends and family to us.


  1. 1. Years of Experience.  Our attorneys have more than 40 years of combined experience representing clients throughout Southern California.
  2. 2. Our Lawyers Win Cases.  Neale & Fhima enjoys a 99% success rate. We think this says a lot about the skill of our attorneys. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any case, you can take comfort in knowing your claim is being handled by lemon law lawyers who have a track record of success.
  3. 3. 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.

Contact a Lemon Law Attorney at Neale & Fhima Today

If you believe you’ve been sucker-punched during the purchase of a new or used car, leaving you with a defective vehicle that spends more time in the repair shop than on the road, there may be a legal remedy.  Auto manufacturers in the U.S. are required to buy back or replace vehicles with manufacturing defects that significantly compromise the vehicle use, value, or safety.  You don’t have to get stuck with an unreliable car, truck, or SUV.  The lemon law attorneys at Neale & Fhima can help.  Call us for a free consultation at 949-661-1007.  You’ll be glad you did!

Attorney Aaron Fhima

Attorney Aaron Fhima is a trial attorney who has secured numerous settlements and verdicts against large corporations and some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world. Representing consumers and injury victims throughout the state of California, Aaron’s practice areas include personal injury, and lemon law litigation. Aaron has a long record of success taking on large defense firms; and he doesn’t hesitate to take cases to trial when necessary to enforce his clients’ rights.