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What to do if a car isn't working properly

Vehicles that are purchased from dealerships in California or any other state should function properly off the lot. However, those who have problems with their vehicles may find that speaking to the owner of the dealership where it was purchased will remedy the issue. If not, a customer can contact the manufacturer directly to resolve the issue or issues that he or she has with the vehicle.

In some cases, defective cars or other vehicles could be covered under the California lemon law. This may be true if the defects occurred within 18 months of taking delivery or in the first 18,000 miles that the car was driven. It may also be deemed a lemon if it spends 30 or more days being repaired for the same issue. Prior to making a claim under this law, the dealer or manufacturer needs to be given multiple attempts to fix the issue.

It may also be necessary to contact the manufacturer directly in addition to taking it to the dealer. Those who believe that their vehicle is a lemon may engage in arbitration to obtain a judgement in their case. This process involves presenting evidence to an arbitrator who will then determine if the car qualifies for lemon status. The arbiter could also determine what type of relief a consumer is entitled to.

If a dealer or manufacturer isn't helping an individual resolve an issue with the vehicle, it may be time to talk with an attorney. An attorney may provide insight into the state's lemon law and how it could impact a case. Consumers who bought vehicles deemed to be defective might receive a refund of the purchase price and other costs associated with attempting to fix it. Punitive damages may also be available in some cases.

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