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Lemon on Your Hands? California Law Might Provide Relief

With its Chevy Volt, General Motors Co. believes it offers consumers a cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional sedans. The Volt travels an EPA-estimated 35 miles on an electric battery alone before its gas engine kicks in and runs approximately 375 more miles. Plus, it is competitively priced. There has to be a catch, right?

Post-Crash Fires a Concern

A federal investigation and subsequent publicity campaign suggest this might be the case. When test crashes of the Volt ended up causing fires, federal safety officials began investigating, according to the L.A. Times. GM has not issued a recall, but it is allowing Volt owners to borrow a GM vehicle free of charge until the source of the problem is discovered and resolved, according to the Times.

In addition to voluntary efforts like that of GM, product recalls can provide a way to get defective automobiles or parts replaced at the manufacturer's cost. If your problem is not widespread, though, there might not be a recall.

The "Lemon Law"

If that is the case, you may have other options. First, California's Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act requires the manufacturer to make a reasonable number of repair attempts to meet the terms of any express written warranty. If it cannot be fixed, the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or return your purchase price.

California's "Lemon Law" helps determine whether the manufacturer indeed made a reasonable number of repair attempts. The law provides relief for certain serious problems that come up within a short period of time after purchase of a new vehicle; other laws provide relief for used cars. You must act fast: A four-year statute of limitations applies to lawsuits based on these laws.

To avoid losing out on potential relief under the "Lemon Law" or other related laws, lemonlawamerica.com offers the following tips:

  • Keep a copy all documentation for your vehicle and its history
  • Take written notes of conversations you have with repair technicians and the dealership concerning your vehicle
  • Ask about any manufacturer-issued alerts about defects or necessary repairs
  • Prepare a timeline of each repair attempt on your vehicle

Do not rely solely on opinions of the manufacturer, dealership or repair shop. If you believe your car is defective, contact a skilled lemon law attorney to determine whether your vehicle's problems qualify for relief.

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