California Lemon Law was created to give consumers rights to a replacement or refund once they
have given a manufacturer through it’s selling dealers a
reasonable opportunity to repair defects that substantially impair the use value or safety of their vehicle.
But what about hiring an attorney to enforce your rights? Isn’t that
expensive? An attorney who has experience representing consumers in lemon
law knows he will be compensated by his client’s right under the
law to recover attorneys fees as part of the recovery from the manufacturer.
The law was designed recognizing that consumers have limited funds and
sought to encourage consumers to pursue their rights, and to encourage
attorneys to represent these consumers, by ensuring full compensation
for time expended regardless of the consumer’s monetary recovery.
The California Supreme Court said: “… the primary financial
benefit the Song-Beverly Act [lemon law] offers to consumers who sue thereunder
to enforce their rights: their ability, if successful, to recover their
‘attorney’s fees based on actual time expended.’ Such
fees generally comprise the lion’s share of the litigation costs,
and the prospect of having to pay attorney fees even if one wins a lawsuit
can serve as a powerful disincentive to the unfortunate purchaser of a
malfunctioning automobile. By permitting prevailing buyers to recover
their attorney fees in addition to costs and expenses, our Legislature
has provided injured consumers strong encouragement to seek legal redress
in a situation in which a lawsuit might not otherwise have been economically
So don’t let the idea that hiring an attorney to represent your rights
in the context of a Lemon Law claim back you down from going forward.
This law was made for you if you own a “lemon.” Use it.