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California Lemon Law Attorneys

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California Lemon Law - Is Your Car a Lemon? - Wednesday, July 3 2013

The primary question our California Lemon Law firm is asked on a daily basis is "does my car qualify as for the California lemon law?". That question is a broad question, be we will attempt to narrow it down here with the best answers. All of the answers below are based upon the vehicle being covered by a WARRANTY from the automobile's manufacturer. NOTE: Not an "extended warranty" you BUY from the dealer - this is not legally a "warranty" in the state of California. This warranty can be a "CPO" (certified pre-owned), new car, "power-train", etc. These are all FACTORY warranties.

1. IF the vehicle has been subject to an unreasonable number of repair attempts at the authorized warrantor dealer for the same issue/complaint/system.

2. IF the vehicle has spent more than 30 days in the authorized warrantors shop due to unavailability of repair parts.

3. IF the vehicle has spent a cumulative total of over 30 days in the shop (this is limited to 18 months/18,000 miles from original new vehicle delivery date) for various substaintial issues.

4. IF the vehicle repair history clearly indicates that the manufacturer (factory) is working on a "fix/update/software update/solution", but does not yet have one.

5. IF warranty repair parts are on long-term backorder, with an estimated time exceeding 30 days from last repair attempt.

6. IF the vehicle is in the authorized warrantors dealer, and the consumer is being informed by the dealership is waiting for the factory FSE (Field Service Engineer) to come out and offer assistance to the warrantors shop due to the warrantor shops inability to diagnose and/or effect repairs.

7. IF the vehicle has had multiple exterior sheet metal panel repaints (hood, trunk, doors, fender, bumpers, etc.) due to faulty factory paint work. (Repeated trips back to the dealer)

8. IF the vehicle has seen multiple repair attempts with "no problem found"/ "operating as designed" / "operating same as another like vehicle", etc., but the consumer can readily demonstrate the problem, and also capture it on video tape.

9. IF the vehicle was sold withOUT disclosure that it was a previous rental vehicle, frame/salvage damage title, or flood title.

10. IF the vehicle has 2 or more factory warranty repair attempts (documented) wherein the customers complaint is something that if not corrected under warranty would likely result in serious injury or death.

We encourage you to call one of our California Lemon Law attorneys at 1-800-225-3666, or call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073 to discuss your vehicles  problems/issues.


California lemon law - Definitions for repairs - Monday, May 13 2013

The "open" repair order. In California lemon law, often dealers will not have a repair for your vehicle that is in their shop for warranty work, but will say "come pick it up while the factory investigates a fix". Answer: NO. When you dropped the vehicle off, you got (hopefully) a Repair Order with your stated complaint. The manufacturer would love you to pick up the vehicle so they can reduce the number of days the vehicle is in the shop - you're not going to let that happen. You simply say "call me when my vehicle is repaired", and do NOT pick up the vehicle just because they said it's OK to drive. Anytime you have a situation like this occur, please call our on-staff Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, and go over your particular situation with him. This is for 2007 or newer vehicles under the manufacturer's factory warranty. Randy Sottile can be reached at 1-858-342-0073.


California Lemon Law - Premature brake wear - Sunday, April 7 2013

Some consumers are finding that their vehicle's brakes are exhibiting one or more of the following issues on their new vehicles:

1. shaking steering wheel upon brake application.

2. premature brake pad wearout.

3. warped brake rotors.

It is important to know that this can be a sign of the following WARRANTY conditions:

1. Brake master cylinder push-rod out of adjustment (brake pad drag)

2. Defective brake caliper(s). If calipers don't release the brake pads away from the rotors, the rotors will overheat/blue, and prematurely wear out the brake pads.

Car dealerships will often simply blame the customer for their driving habits, driving "2-footed" or other excuses. IF you drive normally, don't live in the hills, and are easy on your brakes, but they are wearing out rapidly, this is a sign of a problem in your brake system.

If you have had 3 or more warranty repair visits on your vehicle's braking system, you may be a potential lemon law case candidate. Please call our offices at 1-800-225-3666. We have been protecting the rights of consumers for 24 years, and have sucessfully settled over 12,000 California lemon law cases.


California Lemon Law - Turbo-4 vs. 6-cylinder - Thursday, March 7 2013

In California lemon law, what engine you choose may very well have an effect on the amount of trouble you have.

Many manufacturer's offer their vehicle's in a turbo 4-cylinder or a 6-cylinder. An example of this would be the Hyundai 4-cylinder turbo-4 vs the Kia Sorento V-6 SUV. These nearly identical vehicles are very heavy, and the 6-cylinder is better suited to it, and statistically the harder-working 4-cylinder turbo  will have more issues/problems. The more stress and engine has on it by the vehicles weight, the better the chance of a failure.

There is also the non-turbo 4-cylinder. vs. turbo 4-cylinder. Though the turbo will have more power, turbo's are nortorious for providing dismal fuel economy. So, if the choices are 4 cylinder, turbo 4-cylinder, or 6-cylinder, you should consider passing on the turbo 4-cylinder.

Here is a good rule-of-thumb: If the vehicle's "curb weight" (this is on the manufacturers websites) exceeds 3,600 lbs, then a 6-cylinder, if available, would be the recommended engine.

Have questions about car problems and/or California lemon law? Call Randy Sottile, the firms Auto Expert, at 1-858-342-0073 and talk with him. He will be happy to talk about any vehicle you currently own that is under factory warranty, or one you are anticipating buying but have questions about.


California Lemon Law - out of warranty cars - Friday, February 1 2013

Can a California consumer who's vehicle is just out of factory warranty, or even a year later still retain California lemon law rights? - Answer: It Depends.

California Lemon Law is all about an unreasonable number of repair attempts for the same issue/complaint during the manufacturers factory warranty period. This can be the "bumper-to-bumper" warranty, "powertrain" warranty, or "Certified Pre-Owned" warrranty (CPO for used).

So, let's assume there had been an excessive number of repair attempts during warranty, but the vehicle is currently out of warranty. This scenario could very well yield a valid California lemon law case for a refund of monies.

To find out if YOUR in, or "out of warranty" 2007 or newer vehicle is a candidate for a California lemon law claim, please call us at 1-800-225-3666,


California lemon law - Gasoline vs. Diesel - Friday, January 4 2013

We see a higher than normal number of California lemon law cases on trucks that have diesel powered engines than gasoline powered engines. Why?...

Diesel engines run under tremendous compression. This can cause failures in the sealing rings (crankshaft, etc), as well as internal engine part failures/acellerated wear. The turbochargers often fail or malfunction, more predominately in Ford products. Fuel injectors, under extremely high pressue, can malfunction/fail, causing raw diesel fuel to enter the combustion chamber and resultant internal engine failures.

If you have a diesel powered truck or car that has had multiple repair visits for the engine/turbo or ANY mechanical or safety problem while under factory warranty, we encourage you to call our law firm at 1-800-225-3666. If you would like to speak with our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, about your vehicle's mechanical warranty repair problems, he can be contacted at 1-858-342-0073. The Law Offices of William R. McGee, California's largest statewide lemon law firm.


2013 Ford Fusion Transmission Problems - Saturday, December 22 2012

 

The new 2013 Ford Fusion does not use a conventional torque-converter automatic transmission. It is important you know what kind of transmission you have in your new Fusion, how it differs, and what this can mean to you in potential mechanical problems, current drieability issues, as well as potential unexpected costs down-the-road.

Ford uses their new "SelectShift" 6-speed "automatic" transmission in their 2013 Fusion. Owners need to know that this is not a *true* automatic, but rather a self-shifting manual transmission. Imagine a stick-shift car, with a clutch. This transmission is that, but electronically "clutched" by little electric motors. There are 2 dry clutches, covering the 6 speeds. So, clutches DO wear out. So, one has to consider this in buying.

Many new 2013 Ford Fusion owners are complaining to their dealers about improper automatic transmission shifting. Ford has had a RECALL, many software updates. If you have had problems with your Fusion transmssion, or any repeated problems, call our law firm at 1-800-225-3666. If you have had your Fusion in 2 or more times (documented) under warranty for transmission or any other repeated issue, call our lemon law auto expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073 to discuss your Fusion's mechanical/operational problems.


California Lemon Law - 30 day warranties - Wednesday, December 12 2012

Beware of independent used car lots that sell vehicles with "30 days/1,000 mile, 50/50 warranty", or 30 days/1,000 miles warranty".

All too many consumers, in their quest to find inexpensive transportation, and typically also looking for financing with challenged credit, will mistakenly think that they will get easier financing - and a car priced where they want - at their local "honest John" independent used car lot, offering "AS-IS" (no warranty) or "30 day warranty".

If a consumer has a good job that they have had for a while, regardless of their credit FICO score, and have been making payments on their last vehicle on-time for the most part - are going to get a loan through major franchised car dealers. Auto manufacturers have some of the most liberal credit policies going right now. Almost everyone with a job and a good down-payment can get a car loan.

The California lemon law protects consumers who purchase vehicle's with manufacturer's new-car warranties, and/or "Certified Pre-Owned" used car warranties. BOTH come from the manufacturer of the vehicle.

So, if you are looking for -say- a new or used Nissan, go to the Nissan dealership and purchase/lease new, or buy a "NISSAN CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED". Either way, you will receive a warranty from the auto manufacturer.

Figure it this way: "your warranty should be as long as the term you finance". So, as an example, on a 60 month (5-year) financing contract, the factory warranty should go out 5 years or 75-100K miles, depending upon your driving.

There is a very obvious reason most vehicles sold on independent used car lot dealers are junk, the financing is a rip-off, and their "warranties" are only 30 days. Pick up on the clues, and do your shopping at major franchised new car dealers. Do NOT assume "I cannot qualify". Also, if you have a credit union or bank you have an account with, get pre-qualified there.


California Lemon Law - SRS/Airbag safety - Monday, December 3 2012

Most consumers have a misconception that the airbag in a collision will save their life.

Airbags are one of the most significant safety advances in automobiles. Todays multi-stage "intelligent" airbags deploy at different thresholds of impact.

Consumers must realize that the vehicles SEAT BELT is still the PRIMARY safety device. The airbag is a "supplemental restraint". One must wear their seatbelt.

Airbags have been shown to reduce collision fatalities by approximately 45% - a very impressive number. That being said, we have the 55% to work with.

It all comes down to control of kinetic energy in the crash forces of an accident. The old expression "a lot of metal around you" (the car's weight) has a lot to say about your potential survivability in a car crash. When an airbag deploys, it "absorbs" some shock, as does the seat belt. What neither of those safety devices can do is stop the destruction of the passenger cell being deformed in a high-speed collision. Just because a vehicle gets 4 or 5 star safety rating for crashworthiness at -say- 40 mph, does NOT mean that at 50 mph there will not be significant passenger cell deformation. THIS is what causes auto crash deaths.

So, what should a consumer look for in a vehicle. Here is a checklist

1. Drivers and passenger frontal air bags

2. Side impact air bags (seat of door mounted)

3. Head "curtain" airbags for side impacts

4. "knee" airbags (under steering wheel).

5. "smart" or "intelligent" mult-stage airbag technology

6. "anti-whiplash" headrests

7. Pyrotechnic "pre-tensioner" seat belts.

This, and finding a vehicle with the best test scores at the IIHS and NHTSA website will yield you the safest possible vehicle to drive/own.

If you have any questions about malfunctioning safety systems on your in-factory-warranty vehicle, please call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073. He will be pleased to assist you.


California lemon law - 2013 Ford Fusion & Escape - Saturday, December 1 2012

Ford is recalling some 2013 new Fusions and Escapes for possible engine compartment fires. These are outfitted with the new EcoTech engines. This does not affect hybrids nor 2.5 litre normally aspirated engines.

If you have had your new Fusion or Escape in two or more times for the same issue, we encourage you to call our law firm for a free California lemon law case evaluation.

If you would like to discuss the operational issues with your vehicle with our lemon law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, you can contact him direct at 1-858-342-0073.


California Lemon Law. Acquiring repair invoices - Sunday, November 4 2012

The California lemon law requires that the consumer (through their representing lemon law attorney) prove that there has been an unreasonable number of repair attempts under warranty to the consumers vehicle. This is accomplished by the "repair order invoice"

Each time a consumer has their vehicle into their dealership under warranty, the dealership is supposed to write up - and have the customer sign - a "repair order". This lists the customers complaints on their vehicle. The customer signs it - and is given a copy. Or, that's at least the way it's *supposed* to work. Consumers MUST demand a properly written repair order to sign (and get a copy of) each time they present their vehicle for warranty repairs.

Once the vehicle is finished by the dealer, the "repair order" becomes a "repair order Invoice". This is the "finished copy", and has everything noted of how the vehicle was diagnosed/repaired/etc.

It is vitally important that when a consumer goes in to pick up their vehicle that they demand a copy of their repair order invoice if they are not given one. It is better to leave the vehicle in the dealers shop until they hand you a repair order invoice. After all - it's the only proof you have of that visit!

Why is this document so important? The reason is that when a consumer wants to use the California lemon law, the only document(s) that are admissable for "repair attempts" are "repair orders", or more importantly "repair order invoices".

What if the consumer has not kept all these documents? A consumer can request these from the Service Advisor at the dealership where the warranty work has been performed. Remember, they are under no obligation to do this. So - "ask nicely", and most importantly - in person. A phone request is impersonal and often sets a consumer up for NOT getting the documents. Some dealers can re-print the repair order invoices, others will simply print out a "warranty repair history summary" from the auto manufacturer's warranty submission computer. Either way, you get documents that memorialize your warranty repair visits - vital to your California lemon law claim/case.

Questions? Call our lemon law auto expert, Randy Sottile, direct at 1-858-342-0073, or our main office (we have offices statewide) at 1-800-225-3666.


California Lemon Law - Ford SYNC - Tuesday, October 2 2012

Ford SYNC/ My Touch.. friend or foe? California lemon law is here to protect you.

If you are like many Ford or Lincoln owners with the new Microsoft/Ford SYNC and possibly MY TOUCH with various operational/functional problems, you are not alone. Our law firm has seen repairs including, but not limited to: malfunctions with radio, air conditioning, Iphone, pairing, bluetooth, navigation, back-up camera, LCD screen going blank (or  lines in it), system freeze (requiring re-boot).

There have been a bevy of automatic "system maintenance" software upgrades (automatic on the vehicle), as well as a slew of SSM's (Oasis Special Service Messages), TSB's, and Service Actions. They include reprogramming, version-code upgrades, software updates, and often replacement of the "brain" of the unit, which is the A.P.I.M. module. (Accessory Protocol Interface Module).

If you are experiencing problems/malfunctions with your SYNC My Touch system, and have had multiple warranty repairs (whether the problems are cured or not), you may have a valid California Lemon Law claim/case for a repurchase or replacement of your vehicle, or a substantial cash payment settlement. As this problem has not gone "Class Action" yet, there is time for consumers to have their own individual lemon law cases and receive substantial monetary awards.

In California, the auto manufacturer must pay your attorneys fees, so you hire our firm AT NO CHARGE TO YOU. Call us to see if you qualify. 1-800-225-3666. We have settled over 12,000 California Lemon Law cases.


California Lemon Law - Auto Transmission Types - Monday, September 3 2012

All automatic transmissions are not the same, and you must identify what KIND of automatic transmission the new vehicle you are looking at has - and how many can be highly problematic - and California Lemon Law candidates.

The first catagory is the typical 4,5,6,7 or 8-speed automatic transmissions. These are the "torque converter" type, and have been around since th 1960's. The started with 3 speeds, and now have moved up to 7 & 8 speeds as of late. These are the most reliable and time-proven transmissions.

The second catagory is what is known as a "CVT" transmission (Continuously Variable Transmission), or more commonly know as "variable belt drive" transmissions. These have been used by many manufacturers over the last 20 years- all with varying degrees of premature failures and malfunctions. Many manufacturers, such as Nissan, have had to extend their factory warranties to 100,000 miles on these problematic transmissions. I have not-yet seen one good CVT that has proven anywhere as durable as the standard torque-converter style transmission. Anyone seeking to purchase a new, or newer car, crossover, or SUV should look carefully and research if their chosen vehicle has such a transmission. I would shy away from it. What brand new vehicle has it for an example? - The Nissan Quest van.

The 3rd catagory, and one that I would put into the potential "best candidate for a California lemon law case", would be the new crop of "dual-clutch electro-hydraulic automatic transmissions. These first popped up in the Maserati line of automobiles. Maserati was buying them back under lemon law claims left and right. Even when they went from a single plate to a dual-mass clutch, there were still problems. Now, due to slight improvements in fuel economy other manufacturers are starting to use these problem-prone transmissions. Manufacturers and models include Ford Focus, Fusion, Escape. In VW's vehicles, I know the new Passat uses this transmission. For your understanding, it's essentially a clutch system like a "stick-shift" car, but the clutch is controlled electryhydraulically by electric engagement/disengagement motors. We have already seen scores of lemon law claims on vehicles' equipped with this type of transmission. They also have poor take-off characteristics, and do not shift as one one expect a "normal" torque-converter transmission to shift.

SO, when you are out car shopping and find the vehicle you want, take a visit to the Service Department and ask the Service Advisor this question: "Does this vehicle have a normal torque-converter automatic transmission, a CVT, or a dual-clutch electro-hydraulically controlled gearbox? You are looking for the normal, tried-and-true torque converter controlled, automatic transmission.

If you have questions about transmissions or driveability issues with a vehicle you a considering purchasing, or are having transmission problems with your present vehicle that is still under factory warranty, please cal our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073. If you live in California he will be pleased to assist you. You can also visit the law firms website at: www.CaliforniaLemonLawAttorneys.com


California Lemon Law - No Call Needed to Mfg. - Tuesday, August 21 2012

There is no requirement under the California Lemon Law for a consumer to notify the manufacturer by mail, or phone.

Warranty books are printed for use in all 50 states, which covers a lot. It also misleads consumers into thinking they must notify the automobile manufacturer by calling their 800 # or writing to them by mail (or electronically). This is false. Every time a warranty repair order is written at the dealership, and a warranty claim is submitted, the manufacturer is made aware (and pays) a warranty claim. They know *exactly* what is going on with your vehicle. After multiple warranty repair attempts for the same issue, one would think that the consumer would be called with an apology and an offer to repurchase the vehicle. NOT!. Automobile manufacturers are in the business to SELL vehicles, not BUY THEM BACK.

Some consumers call the automobile manufacturer's "Customer Assistance Center" and get a "case number". This means zero- nothing. It's simply a reference to the next time you call. Your complaints get re-routed back to the selling dealer.

If this sounds like the proverbial "run-around", it IS. The informed consumer realizes that we have a powerful Lemon Law in California. Call the states largest lemon law firm at 1-800-225-3666. Your attorneys fees are billed to the manufacturer - not you. Start today.


Special Mfg. Warranty Extensions - Lemon Law - Tuesday, July 31 2012

California lemon law recognizes any letter of warranty extension that an automobile manufacturer mails to you for your vehicle.

If you receive a letter from the manufacturer of your vehicle that extends the factory warranty coverage on the vehicle, a component of the vehicle, or a vehicle "system" (such as SRS/airbag system), any repairs done under this factory warranty extension are applicable to California lemon law under the statute as a "repair attempt".

Any time you receive such a letter from the automobile manufacturer, understand it's content and warranty provisions. If you have any question on what it says/means, call our On-Staff lemon law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073 for an explanation.


California lemon law and "dealer warranties" - Saturday, July 7 2012

You may be potentially giving up your California lemon law rights without even knowing it -here's why...

Many consumers unknowingly go onto a car dealerships used car lot -or the "other", which is the independent used car lot, looking for a used vehicle.

California lemon law deals primarily with the manufacturer's warranty. Car dealers prey on consumers by telling them "oh, we can sell you this extended warranty". Don't buy into it! In California, there is no such instrument as an "extended warranty". These are *Service Contracts*, or "Mechanical Breakdown" insurance policies. These "extended warranties" are simply profit centers for the car dealers.

What's the difference, you may ask? Well, the factory WARRANTY is what gets counted towards "repair attempts" (visits) under our California lemon law. Repair visits under any policy you PURCHASE are NOT counted nor recognized by our California lemon law.

What is the answer? Only buy a used vehicle from an authorized dealer of that make (example: Ford Explorer from a Ford dealer) and only buy it as a "CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED" by the manufacturer. This written factory warranty will come FREE with the car purchase. This way repairs done under the factory warranty count as "repair attempts" under our California lemon law.

So, look before you leap! If you don't, it could cost you thousands in frustration - and the potential of repairs that don't count towards a California lemon law claim/case.

Questions about warranty repairs on your vehicle? Call the California Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073 about any question you have on a vehicle you own that is still under the manufacturers FACTORY warranty.


California Lemon Law. Auto Warranty Repairs - Wednesday, June 13 2012

With our California lemon law, it's all about proper, conforming documentation of repair visits.

Here are the rules-of-thumb for warranty repairs:

  1. Vehicle only goes to the authorized dealer for the brand you drive
  2. If any warning/malfuncion lights are on the instrument cluster or infotainment screen, take photos that include the odometer in the picture.
  3. When arriving at the dealership Service Department - and before having them write up a Repair Order, go for drive and dupicate all the issues you have. Then when you get back, make sure the language is added to your Repair Order that says something like this: (EXAMPLE) "customer states transmission does not shift correctly - verified with customer on test drive"
  4. ALWAYS sign and get a copy of the Repair Order when you drop of the vehicle for warranty repairs. Keep this in a safe place.
  5. ALWAYS get a completed Repair Order INVOICE when you go back to pick up the vehicle after repairs are completed. Never, ever take a car without completed/closed out invoice paperwork. Put this in a safe place.
  6. If the issue you are having is of an intermittent nature (doesn't do it all the time), then make sure you have the word "intermittently" along with your worded complaint on the Repair Order.
  7. Never allow the Service Advisor to change your complaint description on your Repair Order, even if he says "I know what you mean". The Repair Order must be in YOUR words, not his/hers.
  8. IF your vehicle breaks down, and gets towed, follow the vehicle into the dealership and immediately get a Repair Order that notes "vehicle towed in", and what the symptom was that caused it to get towed-in. Get/keep a copy of the tow bill/invoice.
  9. Never discuss "lemon law" or "my vehicle is a lemon" with the dealership personnel. It will NOT help your situation, but rather hinder it. The dealership has no duty to you if your vehicle is a lemon - it is the manufacturer who is the responsible party.

A California lemon law claim can be very difficult if a consumer attempts to do it themselves. By hiring California's largest statewide lemon law attorney firm, you get top-tier representation at NO COST TO YOU, as California law requires that the automobile manufacturer to pay your attorneys fees. Call us at 1-800-225-3666 and find out more. Have questions about your vehicles warranty problems? Call our Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073.


California Lemon Law. Problem with CARMAX - Tuesday, May 29 2012

The California lemon law and CARMAX stores do not generally mix well. Here's why:

Our California lemon law deals with warranties. Factory warranties. This means your repairs must be done at a car dealership that is the authorized franchise for the brand you purchased (IE: Ford at Ford dealership).

Where the problems begin with CARMAX is tri-fold. Number one consumers who purchase from CARMAX mistakenly return their cars for repairs to CARMAX. These repair attempts do NOT count towards California Lemon Law. Secondly CARMAX may *sublet* the customers car over to the authorized dealer for repairs. This does not count either towards a repair attempt under the California lemon law, as the "customer" listed at the top of that invoice shows CARMAX as the owner, not the vehicle owner. No California lemon law applicability. The final blow comes with these so-called "extended warranties" or "Service Contracts" that CARMAX sells. Repairs done under these "warranties" or "Service Contracts" are NOT applicable to California lemon law as "repair attempts".

What is a California consumer to do to protect their California Lemon Law rights? A suggestion would be when it's time to go used car shopping, go to the dealer that sells the brand new that you seek used. Reason? This was the vehicle is sold as a "CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED", and comes with a FREE factory-backed WARRANTY included in the purchase price. No "buying" an "extended warranty" that isn't a warranty at all!

CARMAX provides a important resource for customers to buy and sell used cars. However, that being said, in terms of future utilization of The California lemon law, consumers would be wise to stay-clear and purchase from an actual authorized dealer of the make of vehicle they seek. Every automobile manufacturer has a "CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED" warranty program, and is at their respective manufacturer websites.

So, it's not as simple as it may seem. You must #1: purchase a car that comes with a comprehensive factory-backed warranty. # 2: Make sure YOU present the vehicle for repairs at the authorized dealer and get a Repair Order every time you go in, and an invoice when you pick the car back up after repairs. #3. Make sure all of your complaints are properly lodged on the Repair Order with your description of the issue(s), not the Service Writers. #4. Never let a car dealership Service Department "hold open" a Repair Order when parts are ordered. Close out the present Repair Order, get an invoice, then when you return the car for the ordered parts, OPEN A NEW REPAIR ORDER.

If you have any questions on any of this, call and talk with our Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073. He will be happy to assist you with warranty-related repair questions.


What does "winning" a lemon law case mean? - Friday, May 11 2012

With the California lemon law, consumers can "win" their lemon law case in many different ways.

Our California lemon law statute calls for the manufacturer to repurchase the defective vehicle (buyback). Another statutory possibility (if both parties agree), is for the new vehicle to be replaced with another new vehicle (substitution of collateral).

What about other possibilities of "winning" or "settling" a case? Though not part of our California lemon law, the manufacturer - through the negotiating skills of the experienced lemon law attorney, may yield a "cash and keep" settlement. This is where the client keeps their vehicle, and the manufacturer pays thousands in "goodwill" money, without admitting guilt or wrongdoing. It's a "win-win" for both parties. The KEY to this type of settlement is the AMOUNT OF CASH PAYMENT. Choosing an inexperienced attorney, or an attorney that has an adversarial relationship with the automobile manufacturer can yield as little at $500 to $1,000 as the "cash and keep". A good repair history and the BEST attorney can yield into the thousands of dollars. Many cases top $10,000.00.

At the Law Offices of William R. McGee, getting our clients top settlements is what we are all about. This is precisely why we are the choice of over 12,000 California consumers. It's also the reason we are California's largest lemon law attorney firm, with 23 years of experience. We are the only firm with an on-staff Auto Expert, critical to the quality and outcome of the case. Call us at 1-800-225-3666, and find out what so many other consumers already know....


California Lemon Law - turbocharged cars - Wednesday, April 25 2012

What is the relationship between vehicles with turbo-chargers and the California lemon law?

With higher gasoline prices, automobile manufacturer's are ever-increasing the build mix with 4-cylinder engines with turbo-chargers. A turbo-charger takes exhaust gasses and forces them back into the engine under high pressure to "boost" the engine's horsepower. This all sounds great in principle, but the "reality" is that turbo-charged engines are more problematic, and they lessen the service life of the 4-cylinder engine itself (acellerated wear). Where the problem comes in is finding a vehicle that has a 100,000 mile "powertrain" warranty, so if something goes wrong with the engine/and or turbo-charger, it gets fixed for free. Manufacturer's such as GM, Hyundai and Kia all have 100,000 mile powertrain warranties.

The big question IS, "do I need a turbo-charged engine?". The answer is "yes and no". Many big displacement non-turbo engines, such as the example of Hyundai and Kia's 2.4 litre 4-cylinder, are plenty-powerful without the turbo. They Hyundai and Kia offer the turbo, but it's not really needed unless you want a bunch of power. It's hard to stay "off" the turbo (gas pedal), so they also get marginal gas mileage. Todays' new 4-cylinder engines (especially if direct injection and/or variable valve timing) have lots of power AND great fuel economy. Most manufacturers all make great 4-cylinder engines. Again, it's all about the length of the factory warranty - as California lemon law deals with factory warranties.

If you have any questions, call Randy Sottile, the Lemon Law Auto Expert about your cars factory warranty repair problems at 1-858-342-0073. Or, call our offices at 1-800-225-3666 from anywhere in California. We are California's largest statewide lemon law firm, with over 11,600 cases settled/won. We are here to help you.


California lemon law - hybrid vehicle warranty - Thursday, April 5 2012

Your California lemon law rights extend much farther with hybrid vehicles.

Gas-electric, or all-electric vehicles have a longer hybrid power system and hybrid battery warranty than you may realize. As the California lemon law deals in "defects to warranty", it is possible to have a lemon law claim/case on a hybrid vehicle that is up to 8-10 years old, if it has been having issues with it's warrantied hybrid system or battery.

Take a close look at the warranty book that came with your vehicle. Pay close attention to the section covering the "hybrid system" and "hybrid battery". Take note of the length of the warranties in months (total years) and miles.

If you believe you ended up with a "lemon" hybrid vehicle, or any vehicle that is covered by a manufacturer's warranty, please call our law offices at 1-800-225-3666. We are here to help you. If you would like to speak with our Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, please call him direct at 1-858-342-0073.


Chevrolet Cruze - California Lemon Law - Sunday, March 11 2012

Automatic transmission problems on 2012 Chevrolet Cruze.

The new 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, a wildly popular new sub-compact, is the topic of today's defect on a new model.

The 6-speed transaxle automatic, which is normally a "bullet-proof" GM Hydramatic transmission, has been showing up with a rash of telephone calls into our law firm - and some lemon law cases.

Transmission shifting concerns, delayed/harsh engagement into "DRIVE" and "REVERSE", and other transmission operational/driveability complaints have been noted.

If you have a new Chevrolet Cruze, and have been experiencing transmission (or other) problems requiring repeated warranty repair visits to the Chevrolet dealer, we encourage you to call us at 1-800-225-3666. If you would like to speak with our lemon law auto expert, Randy Sottile, about your transmission issues, please call him at 1-858-342-0073.


California Lemon Law - Required Maintenance - Wednesday, February 29 2012

 

California lemon law warranty repairs are linked to proper scheduled service documentation.

In all too many lemon law cases, a engine or transmission fails, and the dealer refuses to provide warranty repairs due to the consumer not providing documentation sufficient to prove that the required maintenance was done. This can be because an independent shop did it, didn't list the proper part numbers for filters, fluids, flushing, etc.

All too many times there are incorrect oil filters used, improper transmission fluids, the wrong SAE grade motor oil used, and more by independent shops. Any of these can be grounds for denial of warranty coverage by the manufacturer.

With todays CVT transmissions (continuously variable belt drive), engines usings special grades and weights of synthetic oils, model-specific factory oil filters and more, it is more important than ever to have your authorized dealer perform the scheduled services on your vehicle. It may cost a few dollars more, but may protect you on future warranty repairs, and could very well be the documentation basis of proper maintenance performed on a California lemon law claim dispute/case.

Every consumer should consider NOT having an independent shop do the required maintenance, but rather the authorized dealer, as the factory (manufacturer) has no argument when all the required maintenance has been done by the authorized dealer.

If you have any questions about required maintenance of your vehicle, refer to the "normal maintenance" schedule in your vehicles' Owners Manual.

Question about your vehicle? Talk with the Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, if your vehicle is a 2007-2013, is under the factory warranty, and you are having repeated trips back to the dealer for same-issue warranty work. 1-858-342-0073. http://www.CaliforniaLemonLawAttorneys.com

 


California Lemon Law - To Win Your Case - Wednesday, February 29 2012

In any California lemon law case/claim, there is a distinct difference between "settling" and "winning".

When a California lemon law attorney "settles" your lemon law case, this means that the case did not go to trial, and was settled by the parties without full legal process (court).

"Winning" a case typically refers to a court judgement wherein the plaintiff (car owner) "wins" the court trial by jury (or bench trial if heard only by the presiding judge"

It is important to know that when choosing a lemon law attorney to represent you in a California lemon law case, that the attorneys 'hourly rate' is supported and agreed-upon by the manufaturer. Many lemon law cases are "held up" from settling not by the case itself, but by attorneys fees disputes.

William R. McGee's hourly fees (which are paid by the auto manufacturer, not the consumer) are supported in all counties in California. If there is ever the possibility of a fees dispute, Mr. McGee will settle the clients case FIRST, then he deals with the fees later. In this fashion the clients case is settled without delay.

For more information on pursuing a California lemon law case, please call us at 1-800-225-3666. If you have questions about the repair history on your vehicle or problems you are having, please call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073. You can also write to Randy at: contact@lemonlawautoexpert.com

 

 


Small Claims Court & California Lemon Law - Tuesday, February 21 2012

Understanding why Small Claims Court

Is Not for Auto Lemon Law Claims.

The recent media frenzy centering around an attorney who brought a Small Claims Court action over fuel economy claims on her hybrid vehicle has sparked an interest in consumers thinking that they can do the same thing for themselves – a ‘easy win’ in Small Claims Court. You think you can take a car case to Small Claims Court in California, win and collect your money? Think again. Here’s why…

Small Claim Court is no less than an incredible amount of time and work. You have to have the automobile manufacturer served in the city they do business (which may be nowhere remotely close to where you live). You have to pay to have them served. You have to prepare your “case”. In Small Claims Court, you have to prove your damages. How? You just can’t walk in and say to the judge “Hi your honor, my car is a lemon, so please pay me the limit of $10,000.00”. You have to prove monetary damages. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First you need to get into court to get your case heard. Imagine if you will a room full of people wanting ‘their day in court’. When will your name/case be called? You wait hours and hours for your case to be heard. You are sitting and listening to all these peoples ‘tales of woe’. It’s not a pretty thing. No glamour here. How it’s spelled is S-T-R-E-S-S. An unbelievable amount of stress. Think you are going to be able to tell the judge (or commissioner) your whole sordid story about how bad your car is? Think again. He (or she) has to move these cases though- fast. You are going to be asked to present your damages, how they were calculated, why you sought Small Claims Court for relief, and the amount you seek in compensation as the award.  Yours is not the media-frenzied story of an attorney who knew the ropes of preparing and presenting a case. It’s you, a person who needs less stress and frustration in your life – right?

OK, so let’s assume a lightning bolt strikes and you ‘win’. Win WHAT? Do you really think the automobile manufacturers are going to pay out on a Small Claims Court judgement and open the possibility of a floodgate of these types of cases? - of course not. They will do what is happening in the hybrid car case that has received all the media attention – they will appeal the decision. Why wouldn’t they? They have an army of staff attorneys that are allowed into the appeal, as appeals are done in Superior Court. They can bring in all the experts, engineers, attorneys they want! So, what happened to your ‘win’? A short lived rush of excitement, followed by reality. But wait, that’s assuming you win. Let’s talk about if you lose, which is highly probable. Think you can pursue a lemon law claim against the automobile manufacturer after you have lost your Small Claims Court case? Think again and take note: IT’S OVER. You have exhausted your legal resources, and it ends right there. You have given up all your legal rights to pursue a California lemon law case/claim.

Our California legislators passed our California Lemon Law, which is more commonly known as the “Song-Beverly Consumer Act”. It is quite simply the best lemon law in the nation. The California Lemon Law doesn’t get you a minimal Small Claims Court money award, it gets the car bought back, and ALL your money refunded! You don’t have to worry about the basis and calculating your “damages’, as the lemon law has a legal formula under the statute for calculating your actual damages! Our California Lemon Law assumes you cannot afford an attorney, so when you hire a lemon law attorney to represent you, the manufacturer is responsible to pay your attorneys fees when your case settles. Even if it doesn’t, the attorneys take the case on “contingency fee” basis, which means you owe them nothing if you don’t win. A lemon law case brought by a lemon law attorney has the power of a Civil Lawsuit filed in Superior Court – the Superior Court where YOU live – not where the automobile manufacturer is bases. Better still, the consumer does practically nothing, nor puts out their time or money! When you win a California Lemon Law case, the manufacturer rarely will appeal, as the cost of it is simply too prohibitive, and they have to post a huge monetary bond paying 10% interest to you. Most consumers don’t know that under our California Lemon Law, the attorney can also seek an additional civil penalty of up to two times the cost of the car! So, if you had, for example, a $30,000 car, the civil penalty could max-out at an additional $60,000 to you!

When you take a few minutes to examine this whole “Small Claims Court” idea, the bright shine quickly fades to a dull finish. I sat in on the Honda Hybrid Small Claims Court action. This is NOT your typical Small Claims Court case – far from it. It certainly would not be yours. Small Claims court is an important tool for just what it was designed for – small claims.

If you are a consumer that got a ‘lemon’, then follow the course of what our legislators set forth all the way back in 1984 – use our California Lemon Law. It was passed to protect you – the consumer – against the giant auto companies by ‘leveling the playing field’ and giving you the upper hand. If you think about it, why would you want it any other way?

Randy Sottile is a Lemon Law Auto Expert that has been involved in over 11,000 lemon law cases for the largest lemon law attorney firm in California. A consumer should always consult with an attorney prior to “opting-out” of a class action matter.


"Dealer Recommended" vs. "Factory" Service - Monday, January 23 2012

Watch out for this dealer scam in the Service Department. There are two kinds of service for your vehicle "factory required", and "dealer recommended" What is the difference, and what to look out for...

Automobile manufacturer's set up a service (maintenance) schedule that is outlined in your owners manual, or a separate booklet. It gives the mileage intervals, and what is done at each interval. This is REQUIRED maintenance to keep your new vehicle warranty in effect. You can choose to have your dealer do this, or have an nationally-known indepedent service facility do it. If you have an independent do it, have them write down, as and example "perform 30K mile service". Don't stop there! Have them write down "peform all checks/inspections/fluid changes as per factory maintenance schedule" right there on their Repair Order. This is critically important.

Now, your authorized dealer may try to play a trick on you. They call it "(dealer name) motors recommended service schedule". FORGET IT. This is NOT the factory schedule, and is NOT required! This is their "profit playground" to sell you things that are neither required, nor needed. A blatant example of this is "fuel induction flush" for $149-$200. NOT REQUIRED. Or they sell  you other services ahead of the manufacturer's. These are typically in writing, but can also be "sold" by the Service Advisor. I like this one "we recommend rotating the tires every 5,000 miles". Tell them "great, as long as it's FREE". You get the idea.

So, take out that owners manual or maintenance book that came with your vehicle, get familiar with it, and know you ONLY do what is in the book. No more- no less. This will save you money and, if you end up with a "lemon" vehicle, and wish to do a California lemon law claim, you will have supporting documentation of servicing performed at the correct intervals.

If/when you find yourself near/at the end of the factory warranty, be sure to visit your authorized dealer and have them check for applicable "campaigns" and "TSB's" (Technical Service Bulletins) that can be performed free on your vehicle before it goes out of warranty. Some campaigns and TSB's actually go past the warranty expiration date. Also, ask your Service Advisor for any specific warranty extensions for systems/components on your vehicle.

Remember, even when you reach the end of your factory warranty, there are still many,  many parts that the dealer must replace for free if found defective under your emissions performance warranties. These warranties go far past the factory warranty, so familiarize yourself with them. They can be found in your warranty booklet.

Questions about the California lemon law? Call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073, or our main office at 1-800-225-3666. We have offices statewide to serve you.


Honda Odyssey Power Steering warranty ext. - Monday, January 9 2012

Do you own a 2005-2010 Honda Odyssey van? American Honda has extended the warranty on the Power Steering pump to 7 years or 100,000 miles.

Owners have been complaining of the wheel being hard to turn, lack of power assist, etc. on Odyssey mini-vans. Honda initially only limited the warranty extension to a couple of model years, and has now expanded it to 5 model-years.

If you have had repeated repair visits for your Honda's power steering system, and would like to know if you qualify for California lemon law protection, please call our offices at 1-800-225-3666.


Honda Accord Power Steering Pump Warranty - Monday, January 9 2012

If you own a late model Honda Accord, you may be receiving a warranty extension for your power steering pump to 7 years or 100,000 miles.

We have already seen a 2009 Honda Accord owner receive such a warranty from American Honda Motor Company.

This comes on the heels of recent announcement by American Honda to extend the warranty on power steering pumps on thier Oddyssey minivans. 2005-2010 models.

We will keep you posted on developements on this breaking story. If you have any warranty repair questions about your new or used vehicle under factory warranty, call me - Randy Sottile, the Lemon Law Auto Expert at 1-858-342-0073. California residents only. California's largest lemon law firm is here to help YOU!


New Ford Fiesta Auto Transmission Problems - Monday, November 28 2011

The new model Ford Fiesta's may  have some serious transmission issues coming down the pipeline. There have been TSB's for this transmission, OASIS topics, and more.

We have seen a rash of potential lemon law cases by owners driving the new Ford Fiesta, and having numerous and various complaints about the operation/shifting of the automatic transmission.

If you own or lease a new Ford Fiesta, and are experiencing repeated episodes of transmission issues, please call us at 1-800-225-3666. If you would like to speak with our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, about your Fiesta's transmission, or any other mechanical or safety issues with your Fiesta, please call him direct at 1-858-342-0073.


California Lemon Law Case - Consumer Guide - Sunday, November 6 2011

Do you want to know if your vehicle qualifies under the California Lemon Law? Here is the information you need - in easy-to-understand format...

The California lemon law looks for vehicles that have repeat episodes of warranty repair visits for the same defect/issue, have spent a cumulative of too many days in the shop for repairs, or have spent 30 days continuous out-of-service at the dealership awaiting repair parts.

The key to the California Lemon Law is substantial impairment of the subject vehicle. It can be impaired by safety or use (and to a rare degree- "value"). 99% of California lemon law cases are for "substantial impairment to safety or use". Multiple repair attempts for the same issue make up the bulk of California Lemon Law cases. How many repairs is "enough? That is a good question - and a complex one. Some of the factors involved are:

How many miles on the vehicle,  nature of defect/complaint, degree of substantiality of defect, is defect likely to result in serious injury or death, how close the repairs are to each other, if the consumer is driving average, or "excessive" miles, if a leased car is being "overdriven" on it's alloted miles, the consistency of the customers wording of the complaint on the Repair Orders, if there are TSB's or Recalls that affect the vehicle, if repairs were done in California, and more.

So, as you can see, a lemon law case is no simple matter. Your attorney is best equipped to "do battle" with the automobile manufacturer. In most cases, your lemon law case is done at no charge to you for legal fees, and our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, can answer your questions about your cars problems, then he will to Technical Research, and get the facts about what the manufacturer knows about the defect/complaint. Randy Sottile has access to all TSB's, as well as manufacturer's technical website portals, and more. Randy Sottile, working with the attorneys at the firm, can provide you with the best in lemon law legal services. Call us today at 1-800-225-3666, or call Randy Sottile direct at 1-858-342-0073 to go over warranty problems with your vehicle. We will discuss any 2005 or newer vehicle under the manufacturer's factory warranty, or CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) warranty. Any "warranty" that you purchased is not applicable to California lemon law.

Contact us! We are here to help you understand your legal rights, entitlement, and understanding of your vehicles mechanical/safety problems.


Car Dealerships Interfering with Lemon Law - Saturday, November 5 2011

Watch out for the Service Departements at car dealerships when you bring your vehicle in for warranty work. If you mention "lemon law" or "my car is a lemon", they are there to protect the factory - not you.

It is always best to be a "good customer", and not complain to the dealer other than what your vehicle symptoms are onto a Repair Order. Keep the dealer your "friend". That way, if you *do* end up having a lemon law claim, they can in many ways be your "silent ally", instead of enemy.

Have questions about warranty repairs and troubles you are having with your vehicle? Call me, Randy Sottile, The Lemon Law Auto Expert at 1-858-342-0073. I am here to help you with your 2005-2012 vehicle that is under factory warranty.


California Lemon Law - Transmission Issues - Wednesday, October 26 2011

How do you know when you have a automatic transmission that is beginning to fail? Look/listen/"feel" for these symptoms:

When lever is placed into "D" (drive), the transmission does not engage into gear for a second or two.

When you accellerate, there is a loss of power and/or the engine "races" and the tachometer needle jumps up too high.

Shifting becomes harsh on upshifts, or when slowing down to down-shifts.

You feel a "bump" a few seconds after coming to a stop.

You hear a "whining" sound. This is a failing torque conveter, which is on the side of the transmission.

You have the "CHECK ENGINE" light come on the dash, and the transmission isn't shifting properly.

The transmission "slips", and you experience a loss of power.

You smell a "burnt smell" after you get out of the car.

There is a collection of oil spots (or pooling) under the car. The oily substance may be clear, light pink, or dark brown, but is not motor oil.

Car dealers often will do NOTHING to properly diagnose a transmission problem, rather - they simply use a "scan tool" to see if "trouble codes" are present. If they are not, then they just give the vehicle back to you. Don't stop there! Keep bringing the vehicle back in every week or so, getting a new Repair Order every time you go in, with the same worded complaint on the Repair Order. If the problem is intermittent (doesn't do it all the time), then put the word "intermittently" in front of your worded complaint. An example would be "customer states that intermittently transmission will shift hard, and also slips"

California lemon law is here to protect consumers. Knowing dealers limitations, the more "repair attempts" (warranty repair visits) you get for the same problem, the stronger your California lemon law case will be.

Have transmission questions on your 2005-2012 vehicle that is under warranty? Call the Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073. You don't have to put up with a bad vehicle. Lemon Law gets you out of the bad vehicle, so you can get a better one.


California Lemon Law -Battery warranties - Wednesday, October 19 2011

Often during the course of vehicle warranty repairs, a battery is replaced, and the dealer charges the customer for the battery. When the case comes to the lemon law attorney as a California lemon law claim, we often discover during the course of the litigation that the customer was charged for the battery, when in fact it was covered under the manufacturer's new vehicle limited warranty!

On point: 2010-2011 model-year Hyundai's have a 2 year/unlimited mileage battery warranty that includes changeout labor.

Don't *assume* that what your being charged for is not warranty. Look in your warranty book, and check for yourself. If you aren't sure, call the manufacturer's Customer Assistance Center and ask them, or make an on-line enquiry at the manufacturer's website.

Did you end up with a "lemon" vehicle with a horrible warranty repair history? Call me, Randy Sottile, the Lemon Law Auto Expert at 1-858-342-0073, and let's discuss your vehicle and the problems you have been having. www.lemonlawautoexpert.com I am here to help you - at no charge!


Why You Need the Lemon Law Auto Expert - Wednesday, October 12 2011

What sets our California Lemon Law firm apart from all the others is me - Randy Sottile, the Lemon Law Auto Expert. Here's why....

When you have mechanical problems with your car, Your First Step --Talk to an expert; Find out what is wrong with your car. Simple, we do that with our bodies, we go to a doctor. You dont go to an attorney first before going to the doctor, you just go to the doctor. In this case an auto expert is like a doctor, he is  someone who understands what's wrong with your vehicle, what it takes to fix it, and even if it can be fixed. Not an attorney - they know the law, and they are step 2 or three. So in this case that Car Doctor is me, Randy Sottile Lemon Law Auto Expert. Once we talk and identify the symptoms of the problem with your vehicle, I will look at what was “test” (Diagnostic Testing in the Medical World) were performed on the vehicle in its previous visits to the car dealerships Service Department.Step 2: I research the manufacturer’s internal technical website, internal memo’s on the issue/complaint and find out what the manufacturer knows about it. Trust me, the majority of the time? - they know. Will the manufacturer or dealer tell you they know about the problem? - of course not! Some "known" issues are fixed by dealers, because other people complained before you. Depending on the severity of the issue, it can be a “Service Action” or “Service Campaign”, or if the government steps in for a safety issue, they issue a mailing and call that a “Recall Notice” When the person complains the “party line” is gee 'this is the first I've heard of this complaint'. Please. They know.

Most attorney firms generally will not hire an outside expert to review their cases -it's EXPENSIVE. In some cases the Attorney is just like the car manufacturer.

When you work with our ME - I am different. I am the “Expert", because of my years working in the auto industry, I know where to review, research and make determinations about what's wrong or going on with your vehicle. Then just like a doctor I give you the diagnosis of what’s wrong with your car, and report it to you. Then WE decide what the next step is to take in your individual case. If going to the attorney is the next best step, you take it, as it’s researched and justified, I send the information off to the attorney I trust for your brand of vehicle and that has the same philosophy as me. In short, an attorney is only as effective as the information he/she is armed with. I hand the attorney what he/she needs to properly pursue the case- knowledge, documents, explanation and understanding, and in most cases what the manufacturer knows but is not telling the consumer, the SAME INFORMATION I GAVE TO YOU! I work with a group of attorneys that have excellent relationships with the automobile manufacturer’s, and work well with me.

Most law firms will either ask you to pay for the expert, or won't hire and expert, until a lawsuit is filed. This is the "cart before the horse". To do a case properly, it must be mechanically evaluated first, then legally evaluated second. Once both have been completed, only then can you make the proper decision based on all the facts of what is best for you and of course of your car....

If YOU have a 2005-2012 new or used vehicle that is under the manufacturer's warranty, that has less that 100,000 miles, and would like to talk about the problems you have had with your car - CALL ME, I’m the Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile.  Just call me at 1-858-342-0073 or email me: experts4u@aol.com

Have your repair documents handy when you call, so we can properly diagnose the issue(s) with your car, and see what steps we can take to get you a “better car”.  You don't have to put up with a bad car! Get into a better one! Talk to Randy Sottile, I'm here to help you, and I understand, better than anyone, what you are going through with your car it could be a "lemon".

My website is: www.LemonLawAutoExpert.com 

The Law Firms website is: www.CaliforniaLemonLawAttorneys.com


California Lemon Law in the News - Tuesday, October 4 2011

The way Repair Orders are viewed by the lemon law statute when facilitated by authorized car dealerships for warranty repairs has changed - a victory for consumers!

For years automobile manufacturers have been arguing "it's not a 'repair attempt' under the lemon law statute unless a repair is made". The recent appellate decision changed that. It now (in easy-to-understand non-legal language) says that a 'repair attempt' is defined by a customer dropping the vehicle off, having a Repair Order with the customers complaint lodged, and giving the dealer time to diagnose/and or attempt a repair. It doesn't matter if they actually DO or DO NOT repair the car on the visit(s).

So, consumers that have had 3+ repair visits for the same issue under warranty - whether they have done a repair every time or not - are urged to call California's largest statewide lemon law attorney firm for a free case evaluation and review. The Law Offices of William R. McGee. 1-800-225-3666. If you have questions about your repair visits, and would like to speak with our lemon law auto expert, please call Randy Sottile at 1-858-342-0073 about your cars repeated warranty repairs.


California Lemon Law - After the Buyback - Wednesday, September 28 2011

So, the buyback of the 'lemon' car is underway (or completed), and you are now shopping for a new car. How NOT to get ripped-off by the car dealer.

Buying a new car is easy- VERY easy - if you follow this process. First, all new cars have only 4-7% mark-up from "invoice". There is no magic, no games - the auto manufacturers have pulled out most of the profit margin in their new vehicles, and given it back to themselves as corporate profit. So, as an example, if you look at a $20,000 sticker-price car, and it has a 5% 'margin' of profit, that is $1,000 DIFFERENCE between sticker-price and invoice (invoice is what they pay for it).

You do NOT need to "haggle" for hours and hours. You do not need to visit 14 dealerships over the same vehicle. Here is what you do. Find the vehicle you want, the way you want it equipped. Have the salesman take a photocopy of the "window sticker" (MSRP label) from the manufacturer that is taped to the side of the vehicle side window glass. Take that to your bank. Tell them how much you are going to give the dealer as a down-payment. Then the bank will calculate your monthly payment (and interest rate) based upon your credit score and other financial factors. 48 months, 60 months, 72 months - you choose the duration of the loan - they will give you the monthly payment and interest rate. If the payment is too high - you are looking at "too much" car. Tell your banker to re-calculate the purchase price of the vehicle in $3,000 reductions in sticker price. Once he drops to the price that makes the monthly payment you can afford - THAT'S IT - THAT'S WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD. So, as an example, if you were looking at a $50,000 Mercedes E Class, but your monthly payment you can afford is a $35,000 "C" Class, you are not a "E" Class buyer. You are a "C" class buyer (less expensive car).

You may think "I can lease it for less". Well, not really. If you have a $50,000 car that, say, leases for $499.00/month, and you start the lease with $3,600 "drive off" fee, then you must divide that $3,600 into 36 lease payments. NOW your lease is ACTUALLY $599/mo. See? Also, at the end of the lease, you have nothing to show, no equity, and own nothing. YOU HAVE NO CAR at the end of the lease. What if you personal financial situation changes? Buy purchasing (rather than leasing) at the end of the finance term you OWN the vehicle.

All this "the dealer had me handcuffed to the chair negotiating" is a worthless waste of time. You simply deduct 5% from the 'sticker price', and offer him that (less any factory rebates or incentives). So, on the $20,000 car, you offer 5% less - you offer $19,000 + tax and license, LESS any factory rebates or incentives.

You are probably thinking, "they are asking me what I want my payment to be" You are right! - they are trying to sell you THEIR financing, so they can make MORE money off of you. Remember your bank visit?? USE IT. Dealers can make what is called a "ONE-PAY" contract. This is where you take delivery, take the purchase contract to your bank, your bank funds the loan, and you take the ONE PAYMENT (the check from your bank) BACK to the dealer to pay off the car. Now, some dealers, in order to take delivery, will make you fill out a CREDIT APPLICATION. DON'T! It affects your credit score (as an enquiry) AND gives them your social security number and drivers license number - key to IDENTITY THEFT. Simply have them make up a complete "purchase agreement", do NOT sign it (it will have the vehicle stock number on it), give them a $300 or $500 "goodfaith deposit", and take their purchase agreement to your bank for funding. You bring the check back from your bank, and THEN you complete the transaction. All the dealer wants you do to do is sign the purchase agreement - then you are the owner. So DON'T until you bring the check back.

So, you ask, "what if they don't accept my offer of $19,000?" There is another dealer every (approximately) 5 to 10 miles. There is always someone who will "grab" for a deal to sell a vehicle. These are not priceless diamonds, and if one is gone - trust me - there is another right behind it.

So, you ask "the dealers monthly payment was lower than my banks". Ah-ha! That is based on "on approved credit". If their loan monthly payment is less, let them print-out a "deal re-cap" sheet that has all the financing/transactional information, and then bring it to you banker. Let he/she compare, and tell you if it's better - or there are hidden charges. IF, and I say IF the dealers payment is LESS, and it's all legitimate, then BEFORE you sign the purchase agreement, you tell the dealer you want a "letter of acceptance and loan terms approval for the loan" from their lender. That way you KNOW the loan is approved. Then, and only then do you sign the purchase agreement.

If our office has recently completed your lemon law case, and you are "in the market" for another vehicle - new or used - please call the firms Auto Expert - Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073 for informational assistance.


California Lemon Law - After the Buyback - Wednesday, September 28 2011

So, the buyback of the 'lemon' car is underway (or completed), and you are now shopping for a new car. How NOT to get ripped-off by the car dealer.

Buying a new car is easy- VERY easy - if you follow this process. First, all new cars have only 4-7% mark-up from "invoice". There is no magic, no games - the auto manufacturers have pulled out most of the profit margin in their new vehicles, and given it back to themselves as corporate profit. So, as an example, if you look at a $20,000 sticker-price car, and it has a 5% 'margin' of profit, that is $1,000 DIFFERENCE between sticker-price and invoice (invoice is what they pay for it).

You do NOT need to "haggle" for hours and hours. You do not need to visit 14 dealerships over the same vehicle. Here is what you do. Find the vehicle you want, the way you want it equipped. Have the salesman take a photocopy of the "window sticker" (MSRP label) from the manufacturer that is taped to the side of the vehicle side window glass. Take that to your bank. Tell them how much you are going to give the dealer as a down-payment. Then the bank will calculate your monthly payment (and interest rate) based upon your credit score and other financial factors. 48 months, 60 months, 72 months - you choose the duration of the loan - they will give you the monthly payment and interest rate. If the payment is too high - you are looking at "too much" car. Tell your banker to re-calculate the purchase price of the vehicle in $3,000 reductions in sticker price. Once he drops to the price that makes the monthly payment you can afford - THAT'S IT - THAT'S WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD. So, as an example, if you were looking at a $50,000 Mercedes E Class, but your monthly payment you can afford is a $35,000 "C" Class, you are not a "E" Class buyer. You are a "C" class buyer (less expensive car). Face the reality that you are looking for a $35,000 vehicle - regardless of what brand that may end up being.

You may think "I can lease it for less". Well, not really. If you have a $50,000 car that, say, leases for $499.00/month, and you start the lease with $3,600 "drive off" fee, then you must divide that $3,600 into 36 lease payments. NOW your lease is ACTUALLY $599/mo. See? Also, at the end of the lease, you have nothing to show, no equity, and own nothing. YOU HAVE NO CAR at the end of the lease. What if you personal financial situation changes? Buy purchasing (rather than leasing) at the end of the finance term you OWN the vehicle.

All this "the dealer had me handcuffed to the chair negotiating" is a worthless waste of time. You simply deduct 5% from the 'sticker price', and offer him that (less any factory rebates or incentives). So, on the $20,000 car, you offer 5% less - you offer $19,000 + tax and license, LESS any factory rebates or incentives.

You are probably thinking, "they are asking me what I want my payment to be" You are right! - they are trying to sell you THEIR financing, so they can make MORE money off of you. Remember your bank visit?? USE IT. Dealers can make what is called a "ONE-PAY" contract. This is where you take delivery, take the purchase contract to your bank, your bank funds the loan, and you take the ONE PAYMENT (the check from your bank) BACK to the dealer to pay off the car. Now, some dealers, in order to take delivery, will make you fill out a CREDIT APPLICATION. DON'T! It affects your credit score (as an enquiry) AND gives them your social security number and drivers license number - key to IDENTITY THEFT. Simply have them make up a complete "purchase agreement", do NOT sign it (it will have the vehicle stock number on it), give them a $300 or $500 "goodfaith deposit", and take their purchase agreement to your bank for funding. You bring the check back from your bank, and THEN you complete the transaction. All the dealer wants you do to do is sign the purchase agreement - then you are the owner. So DON'T until you bring the check back.

So, you ask, "what if they don't accept my offer of $19,000?" There is another dealer every (approximately) 5 to 10 miles. There is always someone who will "grab" for a deal to sell a vehicle. These are not priceless diamonds, and if one is gone - trust me - there is another right behind it.

So, you ask "the dealers monthly payment was lower than my banks". Ah-ha! That is based on "on approved credit". If their loan monthly payment is less, let them print-out a "deal re-cap" sheet that has all the financing/transactional information, and then bring it to you banker. Let he/she compare, and tell you if it's better - or there are hidden charges. IF, and I say IF the dealers payment is LESS, and it's all legitimate, then BEFORE you sign the purchase agreement, you tell the dealer you want a "letter of acceptance and loan terms approval for the loan" from their lender. That way you KNOW the loan is approved. Then, and only then do you sign the purchase agreement.

If our office has recently completed your lemon law case, and you are "in the market" for another vehicle - new or used - please call the firms Auto Expert - Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073 for informational assistance.


California Lemon Law - Watch That Car Dealer! - Thursday, September 22 2011

Our California Lemon Law is written in clear language. It reimburses the consumer for the vehicle *as equipped from the factory". What does this mean in relation to California Lemon Law? It means that anything the dealer sells you that is NOT a "genuine factory" accessory from their Parts Department is NOT reimbursable under our California lemon law when a lemon law claim is made.

Vehicle theft recovery systemes, "kill-switches". DVD player systems, window tinting, glass VIN # etching products, truck lift kits, non-factory wheels and tires, paint/fabric/leather/vinyl "protection" products - the list goes on and on of NON-factory, after-market accessories and products. NONE of these dealer-installed, non-factory parts are eligible for reimbursement on a lemon law buyback. In fact, the price of these is *deducted* from your refund.

If you have any questions about your in-warranty 2005-2012 vehicle as it relates to non-factory accessories, call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073. He will answer your questions regarding aftermarket accessories and a lemon law claim, and he can help you identify FACTORY vs. NON-factory accessories on your vehicle.


Vehicle Tampering and California Lemon Law - Saturday, September 17 2011

BEWARE! What consumer's don't know is what the car manufacturer's DO know about owners tampering with their vehicle's to "create" a California Lemon Law case.

In the last few years the automobile industry has seen a surge in the number of people claiming their vehicle a "lemon", only to find that the owner had tampered with the vehicle. What is "tampering", and how have the automobile manufacturer's caught on to it, and are now turning the tables back on consumers?

Typical "tampering" of cars include repeated incidents of dash warning lights for various vehicle systems, including, but not limited to: SRS/airbag, "CHECK ENGINE", traction control, brakes, ABS, and more. Conversely, there are "tampering" cases where it's by the SYMPTOM, such as "air conditioning malfunctions" or "vehicle overheats".

What these have in common is a very UNknown part of each vehcicle's Engine Control Module's computer. It stores events far beyond "DTC's" (Diagnostic Trouble Codes). It stores a complete history of what RPM"s the vehicle was running at "X" miles, date, time, etc. It can even be so sophisticated to "know" when a wire or connector has been unplugged, altered, or contact pins compromised. No, there is no "trick" to get around it. Making matters even MORE serious, auto dealers now have special "tamper-seal" for electrical connectors and devices that are invisible to the eye. The newest generation even has a "imprint" film, that takes fingerprints. State and Federal Authorities have launched task forces to identify, and legally prosecute those found to be tampering with vehicles' and making falsified claims for repairs under warranty, when in fact the tampering would VOID the factory warranty, and leave the vehicle withOUT a factory warranty. One of the most common "tampered" parts of a car is the "MAF" or "MAP" sensor. The automobile manufacturer's know how tampering shorts them out, and are "onto it" with consumers that tamper this part. They can prove it easily - and effectively. Whta some consumers may have gotten away with years ago is NOT the case today.

One of the reasons this article is being offered to consumers is for the million of USED cars being sold that are still under the factory warranty. What if the previous owner tampered with the vehicle? This is exactly why when someone is shopping for a used car from a dealer (example: A BMW from a BMW dealer), that they should request a "warranty repair history" printout. This will show if there was suspected tampering. The invoices will say things like "not a warrantable defect", or "not warranty- outside influence". Some may even say "possible tampering". They typically won't come right out and word it as "found tampering", but there have even been cases of that! If you buy a car private party - ask for copies of their repair invoices! That way you can inspect the mechanics/technicians notes, and see if any mention of "tampering" is made.

With cars, as with any consumer goods "BUYER BEWARE" is the word of the day. If you purchase "used", we always encourage to buy a "CPO" (Certified Pre-Owned") from a dealer who is a franchised dealer for the brand of car you are looking to buy used.

This BLOG article does not suggest that any reader has tampered or altered their vehicle. This BLOG is to heighten consumer AWARENESS.

If you have a vehicle that has seen multiple warranty repair attempts for the same issue, please call The Law Offices of William R. McGee at 1-800-225-3666. If you have mechanical questions regarding a vehicle under warranty that you may believe has been tampered, call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073. Callers contacting Mr. Sottile should have all their repair records ready and in chronological order before calling. Our website can be accessed at: www.CaliforniaLemonLawAttorneys.com


Lemon Law - If You No Longer Own the Vehicle - Tuesday, September 13 2011

Many consumers call us on vehicles' they have recently sold, traded-in, or lease-returned. They want to know if the California Lemon Law applies to them.

If, while you owned/leased your 2005-2012 vehicle, you had repeated warranty repairs for the same issue, you may be entitled to substantial monetary compensation on the vehicle you no longer own.

If you owned/leased a 2005-2012 vehicle that you feel was a "lemon" by it's warranty repair history, and you have recently sold, traded it in or lease-returned it, we urge you to call our offices at 1-800-225-3666 and find out if you quality to receive thousands of dollars in compensation.


California Lemon Law - Videotape the Issue - Saturday, September 10 2011

This blog deals with reproducing a problem with your vehicle that is of a "intermittent" nature, and you have been unable to demonstrate it to the Service Advisor at the dealership.

A common frustration of consumers when they call me on lemon law cases is their inability to get the dealer to do a warranty repair on their vehicle, because when it's in the dealers shop they cannot duplicate the issue/complaint. The Repair Order invoice comes back "operating as designed", or "could not duplicate customers concern".

The best way around this is the use of videotaping, or in some circumstances, digital photos. Let's assume that on occasion your "CHECK ENGINE", "SRS AIRBAG" or "BRAKE" warning lamp illuminate. When this happens, pull over to a safe spot off the road/highway, put the vehicle into "PARK", keep the engine running, and take photos of the instrument cluster including odometer, tachometer needle position, AND warning light.

What if your issue is something that needs to be captured in sound & movement? Video is perfect for this. When you take the video (someone else will need to video if you are driving, or if you are alone and the issue happens, pull over to the side of the road as noted in the last paragraph. Your video MUST have a 5-10 seconds view of the vehicles odometer reading, as this is your "date stamp" of how many miles were on the vehicle at the time of taping.

Good examples of video are a vehicle with a mis-alignment pull, a loud noise, lights coming on and off on the dash, malfunctions of electrical devices such as radio's, bluetooth, etc.

Once you have taken the photos and/or video, "burn" it to a CD or DVD, and bring it in to the Service Department on your next visit. After lodging your complaint on the Repair Order, have them write down "customer has provided video of problem with xxxx" (description of symptom/warning light/problem).

If you have a vehicle that is still under the manufacturers factory warranty, and have questions about doing photography or video's on your vehicle's current unresolved issue(s), please call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073. If your vehicle has already seen multiple warranty repair attempts for the same issue, please call our offices at 1-800-225-3666.


When a "power outtage" affects your CAR - Friday, September 9 2011

Your car's electrical system is very sensitive, controlled by computers, but still runs on the basics....

Your vehicle's electrical system all runs on the power from your auto's battery. This is a 12v. negative ground system. Your vehicle's computers must received an un-interrupted stream of 12 volt power to operate. This means that both positive (+) and negative (-) ground integrity.

One of the most common sources of vehicle operational problems, stalling, lighting dimming, and a host of other problems is lack of battery connectivity. This is typically caused by:

1. Battery cable post corrosion

2. Loose positive battery cable

3. Loose negative battery cable

4. One or more cells in the battery are failing.

When you have your vehicle serviced next time, nicely ask your Service Advisor or mechanic/technician to "check the battery and cables". It may be free, or a small charge, but it is the safe way to ensure trouble-free driving.

If you have had multiple repeat warranty problems with your vehicle, please call us about a potential California lemon law claim at 1-800-225-3666. If you have technical questions about repeat repairs on your vehicle, please cal our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073


Changes in the California Lemon Law - Wednesday, September 7 2011

The recent changes in the California Lemon Law is great news for consumers.

In the past, one of the biggest "fights" in pursuing a lemon law case was the argument over what constituted a "repair attempt" under warranty. The automobile manufacturers saw it as when repairs were done, but not "ordered parts", "could not duplicate complaint" or other circumstances.

A published appelate court decision changed all that recently. Now, any time a consumer delivers the vehicle to the authorized warranty provider dealer, states their complaint on the Repair Order, and gives the dealer an opportunity to effect repairs, it is of no consequence to the consumer whether the dealer indentifies/duplicates the complaint and/or makes repairs or not. No longer can the automobile manufacturer use the old defense tactic as before.

This is a huge change in our California lemon law that yields more protection for California consumers with repairs being peformed under the manufacturers new vehicle limited warranty, or CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) factory used vehicle warranty.


Lemon Law - Labor Day Car Sales & - Monday, September 5 2011

Can a vehicle purchased on Labor Day turn out to be a "sour lemon", and not a 'deal' at all? Can it result in a California lemon law claim? Answer - YES.

Car dealerships raise all the banners, flash all the lights, and advertise like no tomorrow for special 'Labor Day Sales and Deals". Here is what to watch out for when getting yourself involved on car buying on this day, and any national holiday weekend.

Rule # 1, overlooked when buying in the excitement of the moment. 3 of the same model sitting side by side - one can drive different. The thought is "all new cars drive the same". This is the farthest from the truth. Vehicles are machines. There are thousands of parts, they are assembled and built by people.

Before signing any Purchase or Lease Agreement - do your due dillegence - drive the car. Not just any car, the one you are going to buy! Vehicle's right out of the factory can have bad paint, improperly shifting transmissions a horrible interior squeak or rattle, doors that don't close right, interior features that don't operate, or dash warning lights that are illuminated, such as "CHECK ENGINE", SRS AIRBAG, and more.

The last thing you want to start with is a car with problems. The salespeople will tell you "no problem! - Just bring it back and we will take care of that in our Service Department". Now, why would you want to go back with a car that starts out to be a problem from 'day-1?".

You throroughly drive the specific car you want to take delivery of. On streets, over bumps, into driveways of parking lots, over "speed bumps", on the freeway - in short -thoroughly check out the vehicle.

IF you find anything wrong with that vehicle, walk over to the next one (it may even be at a different dealer) and drive it. WAIT until you find the one that drives perfectly (drives straight, doesn't pull to one side), the paint on the outside is perfect (no scratches, dings, repainting), the doors are close easily and the same, and everything works on interior features.

The new vehicle that leaves the dealers lot with a problem from delivery day has the highest probability of continued problems, which makes it highly probable as a California lemon law claim down-the-road.

We want to see you get a good vehicle on car buying day. However, if your new or used vehicle purchased under factory warranty has multiple factory repair visits for the same issue, you likely have yourself a "lemon". You can call us at 1-800-225-3666, or call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073 about your car buying (or leasing) questions. Mr. Sottile can best direct you on how to avoid the dealer selling you a bad car in the excitement (and pressure) of the buying experience.


California Lemon Law - Repair Orders - Saturday, September 3 2011

An easy way to understand how the California lemon law works is to be knowledgeable of the 'Repair Order'. All lemon law claims are based upon the Repair Order that is generated for a factory warranty repair visit. This triggers what is known as a "repair attempt" under our California lemon law.

What are the consumer's responsbilities in getting proper Repair Orders?

1.The warranty Repair Order must clearly state the customers complaint/symptom/driveability issue (whichever applies). Do not let a Service Advisor put the words in - they need to be your words describing it.

2."Intermittent". If the complaint/symptom/driveability issue is of a 'intermittent' nature, you are responsible to have this word as part of your complaint. As an example: "intermittently vehicle will shift gears very harshly".

3. Sign the Repair Order only after you have read it for accuracey to your complaint/symptom/driveability issue.

4. If you have a warning light on while driving that occurs which is the reason for your service visit and Repair Order, pull over to a safe place, put the transmission in "PARK", apply the parking brake, then photograph the warning lamp in the instrument cluster, including the odometer and tachometer in the photo. This will "miles stamp" when the problem occurred. Bring this photo into the dealership and give it to the Service Advisor. Have he/she write on your Repair Order "See customers provided photo of warning light illuminated"

5. Get a signed copy of the Repair Order.

6. When the vehicle comes out of the shop, be sure to get a completed copy of the Repair Order, which is called a "Repair Order Invoice". Do not leave/pick up your vehicle without getting one, as you may not be able to get one later on!. Keep this in a safe place, but not in your vehicle. Store it at home in a file specifically for your vehicle repairs.

If you have any questions regarding properly written warranty Repair Orders, you can call our offices at 1-800-225-3666, or call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile, at 1-858-342-0073. Your conversation with us is free to you.


California Lemon Law & Today's Economy - Wednesday, August 31 2011

We live in a uncertain economy. We really don't know the stability of the economy, the job market, the stock market, or most everything else.

Fortunately we do know that even though our houses are no longer a "best bet", our vehicles are. Why?

In a California lemon law claim/case, one of the potential outcomes is called a "cash settlement". This is where you keep your car, it's not branded a "lemon", and the manufacturer pays you, the vehicle owner, thousands of dollars for the inconvenience and hassle of having to bring the vehicle into the shop so many times for factory warranty repairs.

Who doesn't need to "find" thousands of dollars in this economy? Nobody I know. How do you know if your vehicles' warranty repair history has the makings for a lemon law case? Call our Lemon Law Auto Expert, Randy Sottile at 1-858-342-0073 to talk about the problems you have had with your vehicle under warranty. If you believe you  have all the makings of a lemon law case and want to start right away, please call our law firm toll-free at 1-800-225-3666. We are here to help people. We look forward to helping you get the compensation you deserve and are entitled to under our California lemon law.


Dealer Modifications via added Accessories - Tuesday, August 30 2011

Here is a big "red flag" when purchasing a new or used vehicle!

Dealers are always looking for ways to make more money on each car they sell or lease. One way to do this is after-market, non-factory accessory additions. Common examples are "car tracking" devices, DVD players, amplifiers, ignition "kill switches", outside sourced sunroof or moonroofs, and much more. Any and all of these can potentially VOID your manufacturer's new vehicle limited warranty by virutue of the fine print in the warranty 'modifications, alterations, abuse, mis-use". You may say "it's the dealers fault, they put it on!" OK, but TRY to make them responsible. Fingers get pointed between aftermarket accessory and dealer. It's often a mess.

To protect yourself as a consumer under warranty law (and potentially California Lemon Law), get a "statement of facts" to sign with your purchase documents (or have them write this on the purchase or lease agreement): "dealer certifies that there are no added after-market, non-factory accessories or devices on this vehicle". If you do that, and they put them on anyways, you have grounds to sue them. Without it, you tread into the water at your own risk.

If you have any questions on the California Lemon Law, and your vehicle is still under factory warranty, or just went out, call us at 1-800-225-3666, and we will be happy to answer your questions. If you have a question about the accessories on your car, ask our Lemon Law Auto Expert Randy Sottile at 1-858-342-0073


How to inspect paint before your purchase - Saturday, August 27 2011

All too often consumers purchase a new vehicle, only to find a day or so later that there are serious paint flaws, scratches, ripples, "orange-peel" or repainted sections on their vehicle. These vehicles, when returned to the dealer, are often met with "you already purchased the vehicle and did not mention anything, there is no recession of sale" or similar.

So, what's a consumer to do. First, you do not sign any purchase or lease agreement until you have done a thorough inspection of the vehicle. WHERE you do this inspection is critical. The only type of light that readily unmasks paint problems is FLOURESCENT light. If you are planning on taking delivery during the day, have them drive the car into the workshop, and inspect it under the flourescent lights. What may have looked "perfect" may suddenly show up major issues. What if you are purchasing at night? This one is easy - drive the vehicle to a gasoline station with those big bright flourescent lights - you know the one's. Again, look closely at the car from all angles.

Now, what if the paint is OK under lights, but has what appears to be "swirl marks", "stains", or other surface defects? BUYER BEWARE! Modern paints have a very beautiful "clear coat" over the "color coat", but this clearcoat is very thin, and more fragile that the paint below it. I would encourage you to NOT take delivery or sign any purchase or lease contract until their detail department has corrected any paint issues/imperfections to YOUR satisfaction FIRST.

Taking your time in the purchase/lease of a vehicle by proper inspection will yield you a more enjoyable purchase and ownership experience.

If you purchased at vehicle with paint issues that became the source of repeated repair attempts including sections being repainted (under warranty), please call us at 1-800-225-3666 to see if you have a California Lemon law case against the manufacturer.

Questions on warranty paint repairs? Your call is free to our Lemon Law Automotive expert, Randy Sottile. You can reach him at 1-858-342-0073. He is here to help consumers.


Buying a better used car... - Friday, August 26 2011

Independent dealer or franchised new car dealership car lot?
 
What are the differences and pitfalls, and how does it affect a California Lemon Law claim?
 
A "good" car can be purchased anywhere. From a independent used car lot, or a franchised car dealership lot. A "bad" car can also be purchased from either. What is the difference? The difference lies in the consumers ability to hold the dealership (or manufacturer) accountable for whatever warranty they provide. Often with independent used car lots, they sell cars that are already out of the factory warranty. They give their own "30-day" warranty or similar, and when major repairs happen after the 30-day mark, they are "off the hook", without any liability. Or, if you utilize their given warranty, they may not agree to do the repairs. Some of these dealers sell "Service Contracts" or what they may call an "extended warranty". It's NOT. In California, these are NOT considered "warranties" and thus cannot be used for California Lemon Law claims. Now, on the flip side, a franchised car dealer that is selling their franchised brand of vehicle on their used car lot as a "CPO" (Certified Pre-Owned), affords the consumer a WARRANTY, from the automobile manufacturer. In this scenario the consumer has recourse for warranty issues. The consumer can pursue the dealer and/or the manufacturer for breach of that warranty. "CPO" vehicles also must pass a 120+ point inspection. These vehicles come with a written WARRANTY - from the automobiles manuacturer.
 
The other compelling reason comes in suing a independent vs. franchised car dealer. An "independent" can just close their doors and opens up under a different corporation name to avoid the lawsuit or potential judgement. An franchised dealer is normally around to stay, has substantial assets, and finds it more realistic to settle a claim than to pay attorneys fees. Any dealer can "fight" a claim that they feel has no merit, but with the franchised dealer you can normally settle - and collect a judgement.
 
A "CPO" (Certified Pre-Owned) from a franchised dealer affords the same California Lemon Law protection as does the new car factory warranty from a legal sense. Too many repairs for the same issue under the CPO warranty can make for a California Lemon Law case/claim.
 
Do you want to talk about your warranty repairs from the franchised new car dealers used car lot with our Lemon Law Automotive Expert, Randy Sottile? You can contact him at 1-858-342-0073. You are free to speak with him at no charge to you for the conversation.
 
We invite all consumers who purchased a used car with a factory warranty (CPO) that has had repeated repair attempts under warranty to contact us at 1-800-225-3666.
 

After-market 'Free-flow' air filters. - Friday, August 26 2011

After-market "Free-flow" air filters. Can they damage your engine, affect your warranty rights, and a potential California Lemon Law Claim?
 
Many consumers will try to help their vehicle's engine's "breathe" better, thereby allowing more air in to the combustion chambers, and increasing performance. Many manufacturers of these after-market products claim substantial increases in performance. What are the potential pitfalls to the consumer as it related to warranty repairs, and/or the California Lemon Law?
 
Automobile manufacturer's do extensive research on air intake and air cleaner "elements" (filters). These filters must capture the micro-fine dust/dirt that, if allowed to get into the engine combustion chamber, can do major damage to the cylinder walls and piston rings, among other internally lubricated parts. A less-restrictive after-market air cleaner allows more unfiltered air to enter the engine to increase performance. Many of these filters use a oil-bathed cloth or other medium. The net effect is more air entering the engine that has NOT been through a multi-stage paper or cloth factory air filter.
 
An automobile manufacturer may DENY a warranty claim on an engine found to have had cylinder wall damage due to contaminated air entering the engine via a after-market low-restriction air filter. This could come under "abuse, lack of proper maintenance, or mis-use".
 
This can have serious financial implications to a consumer if an engine must be replaced or rebuilt. It can often cost $5,000 to $15,000.
 
In terms of California Lemon Law, a warranty repair visits that yields a "warranty claim denied - after-market air filter installed" or equivalent can often stop a California Lemon Law claim/case in it's tracks, as lemon law is for warrantable defects.This would be argued by the manufacturer as NON-warrantable abuse/mis-use.
 
Do you want to talk about your warranty repairs regarding an engine with an after-market air filter with our Lemon Law Automotive Expert, Randy Sottile? You can contact him at 1-858-342-0073You are free to speak with him at no charge to you for the conversation.
 
We invite all consumers who purchased or leased a new or used vehicle under the factory warranty that has had repeated repair attempts to contact us at 1-800-225-3666.
 

FIAT returns to the United States market for... - Wednesday, August 24 2011

FIAT returns to the United States market for another try after 24 years.  Are Lemon Law claims soon to follow?
 
FIAT, with it's association with Chrysler, has returned to U.S. shores. The history of FIAT in America was less than stellar, with FIAT finally pulling out of the U.S. market in the mid-80's. Emissions, quality control, premature parts failures and a less than optimal warranty/service network all contributed to the "plug" being pulled.
 
Well, in FIAT's return, we see two compact models, the 500 and 500C. Though not inexpensive, they boast a bounty of features. The "bounty" we don't want to see are DEFECTS and PROBLEMS. The dream, so far, has not been all that great. Consumer complaints including electrical problems, interior trim, mechanical issues and more have already sprung up.
 
Have you purchased or leased a new FIAT? Tell us of your experience so far on this blog, and let's see if this car can truly compete in the market and hold up mechanically, or if it's just another "return of FIAT", and doomed to be short lived with a string of lemon law claims/cases.
 
If you purchased a FIAT, and it has turned out to have problems, we invite you to call us at 1-800-225-3666
 
We are here to help California consumers by protecting their rights.

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The Law Offices of William R. McGee
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1-800-225-3666


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