3 Hidden Ways that Automakers Try to Avoid Lemon Buybacks
Norman Taylor & Associates
March 30, 2021
When you have a legitimate lemon, you are entitled to a buyback, which involves the original auto manufacturer buying your vehicle back and issuing a refund. It’s the same concept as buying a broken television and returning it to the store for your money back.
It sounds pretty simple, right? Unfortunately, automakers are for-profit companies and lose money when they have to buy back vehicles that are considered lemons. Because of this fact, automakers try to do everything in their power to avoid buying back or refunding customers by attempting to fight or disprove their claims.
As a result, many lemon law buyback cases often get dragged out, especially when an experienced California lemon law attorney is not involved. The best way ensure your consumer rights are protected is to contact an attorney and to understand what tactics may be used against your claim. Here are three hidden tactics to keep your eyes out for.
1. Downplaying the Significance of the Auto Defect
California lemon laws require that there be a significant defect to the vehicle which negatively affects its use, safety, or value to the consumer. Because there is some ambiguity to this phrasing—in other words, it can be interrupted or argued in different ways—the auto manufacturer may use it to their advantage.
They may counter your claim by stating that the defect outlined within your lemon law claim is not substantial enough to warrant a manufacturer buyback. While there are certain defects that are common in lemon law cases, such as problems with the engine, transmission, steering system, or brakes, less common problems can also be considered defects that are “significant” as it pertains to lemon law.
For instance, a check engine that repeatedly lights up for no reason or malfunctioning mirrors can be considered substantial enough for a lemon law claim. An attorney at our firm can help you decide whether your specific situation is cause for a claim during a free case review.
2. Blaming the Driver
If a manufacturer can prove that an alleged defect was the result of the driver’s actions, they would not be responsible for a buyback. For example, they may claim that the vehicle’s driver:
● Your car was serviced by a manufacturer-certified mechanic.
● Your car was brought in for a reasonable number of attempts to repair it.
● Your car defect(s) substantially impairs the use-value or safety of the vehicle
Any one of the above actions would be considered a breach of warranty and void the warranty that is necessary for a vehicle owner to pursue a lemon law claim. Remember, it is your and your attorney’s responsibility to provide sufficient evidence needed that shows the problem was the result of a defect and not the result of your own actions.
3. Arguing the Evidence
Lastly, another sneaky tactic that manufacturers frequently use to avoid buybacks is to simply argue the validity of the evidence presented in order to discredit the lemon law claim entirely. For instance, you must prove that the following facts are present in your case in order to successfully pursue your buyback:
- Your car was serviced by a manufacturer-certified mechanic.
- Your car was brought in for a reasonable number of attempts to repair it.
- Your car was out of service for more than 30 days for such repairs.
- Your car showed signs of defects within the time frame specified in your vehicle warranty.
Be sure that you always obtain receipts from the mechanic that indicate what problem was looked into, what price you paid for the auto work, and whether the problem was recurring. Remember, manufacturers will pounce on any evidence that you fail to collect.
Never attempt to handle a lemon law case on your own. If you believe you have a lemon on your hands and need assistance getting a buyback or a replacement vehicle, Norman Taylor & Associates is standing by ready to review your case free of charge and advise you of your consumer rights under California lemon laws.
Contact our firm at (818) 244-3905 to speak with our legal team for free today. We are based in Los Angeles and serve clients in the county and surrounding areas.