“I found out that arbitration is not required – why?”
The “short answer” is that our California Lemon Law does not require a consumer to utilize manufacturer-paid arbitration programs to pursue the remedy under the Lemon Law. A consumer in California has the right to have legal representation by an attorney to pursue their lemon law claim against an automobile manufacturer as soon as the vehicle has been subject to an unreasonable number of repair attempts for the same warranty non-conformity. It’s that simple.
Back when our California legislature was reviewing our California Lemon Law, the manufacturer’s wanted to an “informal dispute resolution” medium available to “solve” consumers’ lemon law claims. There was (and is) what is called the lemon law “presumption”. It is a very loosely defined term of what is “presumed” to be a lemon after a certain criteria is met. This is much akin to a breakfast cereal saying “contains goodness” on the box label. Both say nothing. “Presumed” to be a lemon is not proven to be a lemon. So, essentially it’s just empty language, not legally “proving” the offending vehicle is a “lemon”.
An arbitration “hearing” allows three possible outcomes:
1. Denial of the consumer claim for repurchase or replacement.
2. The “Repair Decision” (the manufacturer gets another chance to fix it again!)
3. Win. The manufacturer is ordered to repurchase or replace the vehicle.
It’s fairly simple to figure what the likely outcome is by looking at the 3 choices above. After all, in most cases the arbitration program itself is funded by the auto manufacturer!
It should be noted that automobile “warranty books” will often contain language that states “within 18 months or 18,000 miles” when referring to a lemon law case/claim. This is hogwash. This is simply the “presumption” period as stated in the earlier paragraph.
A consumer can cancel an arbitration proceeding/hearing at any time yet still retain their rights to pursue arbitration later.
The consumer in California has the entire new car warranty period (including an extra “powertrain” warranty coverage period) to pursue a lemon law claim. “Service Contracts” (or “extended warranties as sometimes salespeople will refer to them as) are NOT applicable to California Lemon Law. Do not confuse a warranty (applicable) with a Service Contract (not applicable).
We invite you to call us at 1-877-355-3666 (1-877-35-LEMON) to discuss your potential lemon law case.