San Diego Lemon Law
Ford Fiesta and Focus


I'm writing again about the transmission issues in Ford Fiesta and Focus cars from 2011 through at least 2016.  The symptoms are typically slipping, shaking and vibrating and referred to as a “clutch shudder”, as well as, rollback and lack of power.  Sometimes there is a warning message of "Transmission Overheating" as well.

If you have one of these cars, and it is suffering from any of these symptoms, I urge you to contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney in your area immediately.  Ford is buying these cars back, but only when pressured by an attorney.  

I've discovered what Ford is looking for: the car has been to the dealer at least three times for transmission complaints, the clutch assembly has been replaced at least one time, and the transmission is still malfunctioning after replacement of the clutch assembly. 

If your car has a repair history like that, call an experienced Lemon Law attorney now.  Most Lemon Law attorneys will not charge you any fees; we collect the fees from Ford when we get your car bought back.

Best of luck!

Doug Sohn

© 2016 Douglas C. Sohn


Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, who also works with Doug in the practice.

FORD FIESTA AND FOCUS

I've written about this before, but I just attended a hearing on what's being called the "Ford Warranty Cases" in LA this morning, so it's brought it to the forefront of my thoughts.


The transmissions in the Ford Fiesta and Focus cars from 2011 through at least 2016 are well known to be defective.  The symptoms are typically slipping, shaking and vibrating and referred to as a “clutch shudder”, as well as, rollback and lack of power.  

If you have one of these cars, and it is suffering from any of these symptoms, I urge you to contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney in your area immediately.  Ford is buying these cars back, but only when pressured by an attorney.  I've handled about 20 of these cases so far, and I am getting them bought back, but it takes time.

Most Lemon Law attorneys will not charge you any fees; we collect the fees from Ford when we get your car bought back.

Best of luck!

Doug Sohn

Picking a New Car

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE


By Doug Sohn


When I get a client's car bought back, I'm frequently asked what car I would recommend.  After all, they just got rid of their lemon, so they need a new car, and they don't want another lemon, so this is a natural question.


I don't really have a realistic way of recommending cars, however.  I'm generally aware of the "bad" cars out there--a specific make and model year (like the Focus and Fiesta from 2011 on, for example), but that just allows me to warn them off certain cars, not recommend cars that don't have problems.  I always explain that, just because nobody has come to me with complaints about a certain type of car, doesn't mean there is nothing wrong with them.  It might just mean that the manufacturer and dealer are doing a good job of taking care of the problems.


Instead, what I can offer are some general suggestions on how to research a car before buying it:


Don't Be a Guinea Pig


Over the years, I have found that many of my clients tell me that their problem car is the first year this particular model has come out, or is a major revamp of that model.  From this, I've come to the conclusion that manufacturers often need a year or two to work out the bugs in a new model.  Don't be the one to do that testing for them!  Wait one or two years down the road to buy that model.


Use the Internet


Today's technology has given us the ability to instantly search out information from thousands of sources.  Use it!  Before you buy any car, Google the make, model and year.  Go to consumer sites like Consumer Reports.  Look for owner forums for that particular car.  Find out all the negatives and positives and use that to eliminate any cars that seem to have problems.  Remember, it make take a while for problems to surface and become the subject of articles or even posts.  (See my paragraph above about not buying the first year!)


Talk to Other Owners


Many of my clients have told me that, while they were waiting in the customer lounge of the dealership for their lemon to get worked on, they heard from the other owners that they were having the same problem.  I've started recommending that people do that before they buy the car.  Go down to the dealership and hang out at the customer lounge.  Talk to the people there and find out if there is a common problem (or if they love the car).  The lounges are usually very nice and have free coffee!  And if you do buy one of their cars, you're going to end up in the lounge at some point, even if only for regular maintenance, so you should find out how they treat their service customers.  (Do they provide loaners, for example?)


Test Drive!


Once you have a list of potential cars, go drive them.  Take a substantial test drive so that you get a good feel for the car.  If possible, rent a car of the same make and model and get a really good feel for the car.  Once you've picked the make and model and you're looking at a specific car--test drive that one.  A lot!  I've had many clients tell me that they didn't realize the car they bought had a problem, because they didn't take the obvious step of driving it before they bought.  ("I drove one just like it!" just doesn't cut it.)


If All Else Fails


I hope this helps you avoid buying a lemon.   Remember, however, that the classic "lemon" is an anomaly--a make and model that typically is very good, but this particular example is not.  And if, despite all your efforts, you do end up with a lemon, you know that you have rights under California law, and attorneys who can help you pursue those rights!

 


See you next time!


 

© 2016 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and son, Colin, who also work with Doug in the practice.

THE CLASS ACTION POSTCARD TRAP

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE


By Doug Sohn



Today, I want to talk about class actions.  You've probably heard of them.  In fact, you've probably gotten more than one postcard in the mail telling you that you may be entitled to join one.  (More on those postcards in a minute.)


The idea of a class action is a good one.  It was intended to give relief to people who had been damaged by a business (usually because of a defective product or a deceptive practice), but it wasn't enough damage to justify hiring a lawyer and going to court.  A class action allows all of the people who are in that position to get together and file one lawsuit, hire one law firm, and get a settlement for everybody.


So far, so good.


The problem comes in when the class action approach is applied to motor vehicles.  Even then, it can be a good idea.  However, it isn't a good idea when you have a good lemon law claim, and somebody files a class action that covers the same vehicle and same defects.  Class actions never, in my experience, result in the vehicle owner getting as much as he or she would in a Lemon Law case.  So, you say, let's just avoid the class action, and go get a Lemon Law lawyer instead.


That's not always as easy as it sounds.  Remember that postcard I mentioned at the beginning?  Well, that's the trap.  You see, the nature of a class action is that it is meant to include everybody with the same type of claim, which could include you.  Worse, many of them are set up as "opt-out" actions.  That means you are automatically included unless you notify the court, in writing, that you don't want to be included.  That postcard you got, and ignored, could be a notice that you have until a specific date to "opt out", otherwise you are included in the class action settlement and you have lost your right to bring a Lemon Law case!  


The Ford super-duty diesel truck class action is a classic example of this situation.  The class action settlement only awarded a few hundred dollars to owners of these defective trucks. The owners of those trucks who came to me, on the other hand, got full repurchases.  I had more than one truck owner call me after the class action settlement had gone through, and I had to tell them there was nothing I could do for them; they were bound by the settlement.


So, read those postcards, and protect your rights.  If you see that there is a class action on a vehicle you own, contact a Lemon Law lawyer well in advance of any opt-out deadline.


See you next time!


 

© 2016 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and son, Colin, who also work with Doug in the practice.

How to Choose a Lemon Law Lawyer--And What Questions to Ask


Experience counts.  One of the most important factors to consider is whether the attorney in question has significant experience in Lemon Law cases.  Believe it or not, this is actually a specialized area, with a lot of what the law calls "traps for the unwary".  A lawyer who has never handled a Lemon Law case, or not very many of them, is at a definite disadvantage.  First, he may not be able to give you a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  (I'm going to use "he" instead of "he or she" for simplicity's sake.)  This is bad for two entirely different reasons.  He may overestimate your case and get you involved in a claim, or even a lawsuit, that you aren't going to win.  On the other hand, he may tell you don't have a case when you actually do.  Second,  he may not know to ask for all the money you are entitled to get back.  Third, he won't be known to the manufacturers and their attorneys.  This is a small legal community, and the folks on the manufacturer's side know the experienced Lemon Law attorneys, and will try to take advantage of the ones who aren't.


Questions to Ask the Lawyer--Experience.  First, how many years have you been in practice?  If you're not comfortable with this type of question, look them up on the California State Bar website, or on Avvo.  The Avvo site will also tell you how much of their practice they devote to Lemon Law, which is another question you should ask.  Another important question, that only the lawyer can answer for you, is, "How many Lemon Law cases have you taken to trial?"  They should at least have tried one, and at least have won one.   Keep in mind that most Lemon Law cases settle, so most attorneys have not tried very many of these cases, and usually it's the more difficult cases that get tried so a low success rate isn't necessarily a bad sign.  If the attorney has never tried a Lemon Law case then that is a bad sign, however.  Not only does he need to know how to try a Lemon Law case, but the other side needs to know that he does.  This makes it more likely that he will be able to settle the case.

Once you've chosen an attorney to see, there are questions you will want to ask at the first meeting.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--How Much Will I Get Back?  The basic concept of the Lemon Law is that the manufacturer buys back your car or truck.  However, there are a number of factors that go into this calculation.  Ask the lawyer to give you an estimate of what you will get back.  In some cases, pursuing a Lemon Law case does not make good economic sense for you.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--What are the Fees and Costs?  California's Lemon Law provides that the manufacturer has to pay the fees and costs, that's one of the great things about this law.  Because of this, your lawyer typically does not ask for you to pay any of the fees or costs.  Also, the fees are typically based on an hourly rate, and not a percentage of what you get paid back.  A different arrangement is usually made for what is called "civil penalty" amounts.  This is like punitive damages, but is limited a maximum of two times your damages.  Most Lemon Law attorneys take a share of this bonus money in addition to their hourly rate, since it is bonus money, and not easy to get.  Make sure to get this explained to you.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--How Much Time Will this Take?  This is actually a very difficult question, and there's not usually any really reliable answer, because you never know what the other side is going to do.  However, the attorney should be able to tell you how long it is going to take him to send your demand letter out, or to file suit, depending upon his approach.  After that, as I say, the timetable is unpredictable.  Once you find out how long it is going to take the lawyer to take his first actions, you will be better prepared.  Yes, "these things take time" is what lawyers typically say, because, unfortunately, it's true.  However, if the lawyer is too busy to get to your case within a reasonable time, you may want to find somebody else.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--Who's Going to be Handling My Case?  The attorney you meet may not be the one actually handling your case.  You are entitled to know who is going to be representing you, and how to get in touch with them to find out what is going on.  It's not uncommon in larger firms for more than one attorney to be working on a given case, but you should be told who is "in charge" of the case.

What Do I Do if I'm Unhappy?  Let's assume you like all the answers you get to these questions, and hire the attorney.  What happens if, later on, you feel that you aren't getting the service you deserve?  Go talk to the lawyer!  You are always entitled to talk to the attorney representing you--they're working for you.  I suggest an in-person meeting because that gets the best results.  Telephone calls and, particularly e-mail, don't always convey what you are trying to get across and can give the impression that you are being unreasonable.  Go see the lawyer, tell him what your concerns are, and see if you are satisfied with the answers.  More often that not, this is all it takes because there has simply been a miscommunication.  If this doesn't solve the problem, you are always free to find another attorney to represent you.

There you are!  You've taken all the right steps to get the best results in your Lemon Law case.  Best of luck!  

In my next posting, I'll be talking about a new Lemon Law topic, so be sure to check back.  In the meantime, be sure to take a look at my websites: http://www.sandiegolemonlaw.com/ and http://whenbadcarshappen.com/

See you next time!

© 2016 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 1 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Ford Focus and Fiesta Transmission Problems

Do you own a Ford Focus or Fiesta?  Then you need to read this article.


For the past year, I've been having a lot of clients come to me saying the same thing.  They own a Ford Focus or Fiesta, model years 2011 through 2015.  The transmission has symptoms of slipping, shaking and vibrating and referred to as a “clutch shudder”.  This has resulted in the clutch “slipping” so severely that they are fearful of their safety when they drive it.


This is caused by is a well-known defect in this transmission, the PowerShift, apparently resulting from defective shaft seals.  I am successful in getting these cars bought back from my clients, but it's a long haul, and you need to know exactly what Ford is looking for in order to get these cases settled.


If you have one of these cars, find a local experienced Lemon Law attorney to consult.  I advise you not to sign up with one of the class actions that you'll find on the internet; they won't get you a full buyback.


In the meantime, follow the general rules I've laid out here.  Make sure you take the car in and complain about the problems, make sure they write that into a repair order, and make sure you keep the repair orders.


Feel free to give me a call or send me an e-mail if you have any questions about the Ford Focus and Fiesta transmission issues.

 

See you next time! 


© 2016 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 1 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

"Getting Ready to See Your Lemon Law Lawyer"

The next step in the Lemon Law process is "Getting Ready to See Your Lemon Law Lawyer".  First, you may ask, "Do I need to have a lawyer help me with this, or this is just shameless self-promotion on Doug's part?"  Actually, it's not, and you do.  The unfortunate reality is that you are far more likely to get what you are entitled to under the law if you have an attorney representing you.

 

More importantly, this isn't going to cost you anything.  Before you toss this into the "too good to be true" basket, let me explain.  The California legislature realized that consumers were not going to be able to effectively pursue their rights under the Lemon Law unless they hired an attorney, and that it did not make economic sense to spend the thousands of dollars on attorney's fees in this type of case.  Because of this, it was made part of California Lemon Law that the manufacturer (Ford, Mercedes, etc.) was required to pay any attorney's fees and costs incurred by the consumer.  In other words, when you hire a lawyer for a Lemon Law case, it won't cost you a dime!

 

Now, getting back to what you need to do to get ready to see the lawyer.  The most important thing is to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork.  I break this down into three categories:

 

1.  Ownership Documents. This would start with your purchase contract and everything else you were handed that night you left the dealership with the keys to your beautiful new car clutched in your trembling hand.  (Usually because of low blood sugar after the four-hour ordeal that is car buying.)  Next would be anything having to do with any loan you have on the car.  (Loan application, letter from the loan company at the start of the loan, monthly statements, coupon books, cancelled checks, that sort of thing.)  Next, the current registration and any registrations before that.  Next, receipts for anything you added to the vehicle, after-market items such as stereos, custom wheels, trailer hitches, etc.  Finally, all the owner's manuals, warranties and other booklets.  These are typically in a black plastic folder in the glove compartments, and usually you haven't looked at them since the salesman handed them to you along with those keys we started out with.

 

2.  Service Documents.  These are the documents that are going to tell your lawyer whether or not you have a case.  Included are all the repair documents you ever got.  As I explained last time, usually, when you take your car or truck to the dealer, they give you one set of paperwork, frequently called a "work order" that shows that you left your vehicle with them and what you said was wrong with it.  When you pick up your vehicle they will give you a "Repair Order" or "Invoice", showing what they did to try to fix it.  You need to bring both documents for every time you took your car in.  Didn't keep them?  Then you have to go to the dealer and ask for copies.   Don't let them give you a "summary" or "history".  You need full copies of all the work orders and repair orders, and you're entitled to them.  As always, be "polite but firm".  Of course, if you've been following my advice, you already have these.  You also need copies of any maintenance work you've have done, whether or not done at the dealer.  This would include oil changes, brake replacements and tire replacements.

 

3.  Everything else.  Gather up any letters or e-mails you may have sent or gotten about the problems with your car.  Also, any logs, notes or memos you may have made about the problems.  If you took a video of your beautiful new car being hauled away by the tow truck or any video or pictures showing the problems, bring those.  I've had clients bring in pictures of the warning lights shining on the dashboard, and they were very effective.  (And, yes, I've been brought the tow truck pictures!)  Our slogan around here is, "If it's on paper and it has anything to do with your car, bring it!)"

 

Have everything on this list?  It may take some time to gather it all together if you haven't been putting it in a file as you go along.  (Assuming your crystal ball failed to alert you when you bought the car that you'd be seeing a Lemon Law attorney years later.)  But your efforts will pay off when you go to see the lawyer.

 

Next time, I’ll tell you how to pick a Lemon Law lawyer.


See you next week! 

© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 1 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

 Blog here.

Your Lemon--Making a Record

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©


By Doug Sohn


“Your Lemon—Making a Record”


Last time, I talked about what a “Lemon” was—not a piece of fruit in this case, but a piece of junk, your new car or truck that the dealer can’t seem to get fixed.  This week, we’re going to talk about your first step in getting that lemon bought back.


The first thing to do is to make sure that you’ve made a record of the problems with your car or truck.  In this case, the only record that really counts is the set of repair records kept by the dealer.  I’m going to be talking strictly about new car dealers, because that is the best source for these types of records.  You can have warranty work done by independent mechanics, but it makes a better impression if all of the records we’re going to be talking about come from an actual new car dealer for your type of car—Ford, BMW, Lexus, etc..


Rule Number 1 in making in a record is “more is better”.  There is no set number of times you have to take your car or truck in for repairs, but the more times you have taken it in, the stronger your case is.  The best sequence is, (1) take in for repairs, (2) drive the car long enough for it to be clear the problem is still there or has come back, then (3) take it back in immediately after that.  Sometimes you drive out of the service department and see the problem is still there (that warning light is still on, or the engine still runs rough, or whatever the problem is).  In that case, it’s perfectly okay to turn right around and have them try again.  Sometimes the problem seems to be fixed, but it comes back weeks or even months later.  That’s okay too.  Take it back in as soon as that happens.


Rule Number 2 is, “if it’s not written down, it doesn’t count”.  The record is only what is actually in the written records at the dealer.  You can tell the man or woman in the service drive (usually called a “service advisor”) about a dozen different problems, but if he or she doesn’t write them all down, it isn’t part of the repair history.  Here’s where you may have to stand up for yourself.  If they aren’t writing down all of the problems you are having with the car, politely, but firmly, insist that they do.  Don’t be put off by the “Let’s take one problem at a time” approach.  If there are ten things wrong with the car, make sure they write all ten things down, and don’t leave the car until they do.  The reason is this--if you take your car or truck in for repairs and don’t have them write down one of the problems, this becomes what I call a “negative record”.  In other words, the manufacturer may say that the car must not have been having that problem at that point or you would have complained about it.


Rule Number 3 is, “be clear and specific and consistent”.  When you explain to the service advisor what the problems are, make sure you are as clear as you can be as to what you are experiencing.  You’re probably not a mechanic, so don’t worry about trying to diagnose the problem—that’s their job.  It’s okay to say, “When I’m driving on the freeway, and I push on the gas, the car seems to hesitate before it speeds up”.  You don’t have to try to guess if that is a transmission problem, an engine problem, or whatever.  Be sure to tell them what it does, when it does it, and how frequently.  That covers the “clear and specific” part.  The “consistent” part means that you need to use the same description each time.  Why?  Because part of what you need to show is that you are having the same problem over and over.  If you are describing it different ways different times, it’s going to look like different problems, like they fixed one problem and a different one came up, and that’s not going to help you prove that you have a lemon.


Rule Number 4 is, “keep the records”.  After you’ve gone to all this trouble to make sure you’ve made a clear record of the problem—make sure you get that record and keep it.  Before you leave your car, the service advisor is required to give you a copy of the service record, usually called a “work order” that shows that you left the car with them and what you complained about.  Before you sign anything, make sure you read it over to make sure it’s complete and accurate, following the rules I gave you.  Also check to make sure the mileage is correct, because that’s part of making a clear record, too.  Take that piece of paper with you, and keep it in a file you are going to make that has all of the records about your car.  When you pick up the car, they are required to give you another piece of paper, usually called a “Repair Order” or “Invoice” that tells you what they’ve done to your car.  Make sure you get that, and keep it too.  If you have any questions about what they’ve done to your car, ask them, and make sure you’re getting an explanation you can understand.  Make a note, on a separate piece of paper, of the date, time and mileage on the car when you picked it up.  Don’t write on the service documents themselves.  Remember, if the problem comes back, take it back immediately.


What’s next?  The next thing is getting to ready to see the lawyer, and I’ll tell you about that in my next column.


See you next week!


© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn


Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 1 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Getting Ready to See Your Lemon Law Lawyer

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©

By Doug Sohn

"Getting Ready to See Your Lemon Law Lawyer"

The next step in the Lemon Law process is "Getting Ready to See Your Lemon Law Lawyer".  First, you may ask, "Do I need to have a lawyer help me with this, or this is just shameless self-promotion on Doug's part?"  Actually, it's not, and you do.  The unfortunate reality is that you are far more likely to get what you are entitled to under the law if you have an attorney representing you.

 

More importantly, this isn't going to cost you anything.  Before you toss this into the "too good to be true" basket, let me explain.  The California legislature realized that consumers were not going to be able to effectively pursue their rights under the Lemon Law unless they hired an attorney, and that it did not make economic sense to spend the thousands of dollars on attorney's fees in this type of case.  Because of this, it was made part of California Lemon Law that the manufacturer (Ford, Mercedes, etc.) was required to pay any attorney's fees and costs incurred by the consumer.  In other words, when you hire a lawyer for a Lemon Law case, it won't cost you a dime!

 

Now, getting back to what you need to do to get ready to see the lawyer.  The most important thing is to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork.  I break this down into three categories:

 

1.  Ownership Documents. This would start with your purchase contract and everything else you were handed that night you left the dealership with the keys to your beautiful new car clutched in your trembling hand.  (Usually because of low blood sugar after the four-hour ordeal that is car buying.)  Next would be anything having to do with any loan you have on the car.  (Loan application, letter from the loan company at the start of the loan, monthly statements, coupon books, cancelled checks, that sort of thing.)  Next, the current registration and any registrations before that.  Next, receipts for anything you added to the vehicle, after-market items such as stereos, custom wheels, trailer hitches, etc.  Finally, all the owner's manuals, warranties and other booklets.  These are typically in a black plastic folder in the glove compartments, and usually you haven't looked at them since the salesman handed them to you along with those keys we started out with.

 

2.  Service Documents.  These are the documents that are going to tell your lawyer whether or not you have a case.  Included are all the repair documents you ever got.  As I explained last time, usually, when you take your car or truck to the dealer, they give you one set of paperwork, frequently called a "work order" that shows that you left your vehicle with them and what you said was wrong with it.  When you pick up your vehicle they will give you a "Repair Order" or "Invoice", showing what they did to try to fix it.  You need to bring both documents for every time you took your car in.  Didn't keep them?  Then you have to go to the dealer and ask for copies.   Don't let them give you a "summary" or "history".  You need full copies of all the work orders and repair orders, and you're entitled to them.  As always, be "polite but firm".  Of course, if you've been following my advice, you already have these.  You also need copies of any maintenance work you've have done, whether or not done at the dealer.  This would include oil changes, brake replacements and tire replacements.

 

3.  Everything else.  Gather up any letters or e-mails you may have sent or gotten about the problems with your car.  Also, any logs, notes or memos you may have made about the problems.  If you took a video of your beautiful new car being hauled away by the tow truck or any video or pictures showing the problems, bring those.  I've had clients bring in pictures of the warning lights shining on the dashboard, and they were very effective.  (And, yes, I've been brought the tow truck pictures!)  Our slogan around here is, "If it's on paper and it has anything to do with your car, bring it!)"

 

Have everything on this list?  It may take some time to gather it all together if you haven't been putting it in a file as you go along.  (Assuming your crystal ball failed to alert you when you bought the car that you'd be seeing a Lemon Law attorney years later.)  But your efforts will pay off when you go to see the lawyer.

 

Next time, I’ll tell you how to pick a Lemon Law lawyer.


See you next week! 

© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.


How to Choose a Lemon Law Lawyer--And What Questions to Ask

Last time I explained what paperwork you need to gather up before you see your attorney.  Now that you've done all that, it's time to make an appointment to see the lawyer.  How do you decide what lawyer to see? That's the subject of today's post.

Experience counts.  One of the most important factors to consider is whether the attorney in question has significant experience in Lemon Law cases.  Believe it or not, this is actually a specialized area, with a lot of what the law calls "traps for the unwary".  A lawyer who has never handled a Lemon Law case, or not very many of them, is at a definite disadvantage.  First, he may not be able to give you a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  (I'm going to use "he" instead of "he or she" for simplicity's sake.)  This is bad for two entirely different reasons.  He may overestimate your case and get you involved in a claim, or even a lawsuit, that you aren't going to win.  On the other hand, he may tell you don't have a case when you actually do.  Second,  he may not know to ask for all the money you are entitled to get back.  Third, he won't be known to the manufacturers and their attorneys.  This is a small legal community, and the folks on the manufacturer's side know the experienced Lemon Law attorneys, and will try to take advantage of the ones who aren't.


Questions to Ask the Lawyer--Experience.  First, how many years have you been in practice?  If you're not comfortable with this type of question, look them up on the California State Bar website, or on Avvo.  The Avvo site will also tell you how much of their practice they devote to Lemon Law, which is another question you should ask.  Another important question, that only the lawyer can answer for you, is, "How many Lemon Law cases have you taken to trial?"  They should at least have tried one, and at least have won one.   Keep in mind that most Lemon Law cases settle, so most attorneys have not tried very many of these cases, and usually it's the more difficult cases that get tried so a low success rate isn't necessarily a bad sign.  If the attorney has never tried a Lemon Law case then that is a bad sign, however.  Not only does he need to know how to try a Lemon Law case, but the other side needs to know that he does.  This makes it more likely that he will be able to settle the case.

Once you've chosen an attorney to see, there are questions you will want to ask at the first meeting.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--How Much Will I Get Back?  The basic concept of the Lemon Law is that the manufacturer buys back your car or truck.  However, there are a number of factors that go into this calculation.  Ask the lawyer to give you an estimate of what you will get back.  In some cases, pursuing a Lemon Law case does not make good economic sense for you.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--What are the Fees and Costs?  California's Lemon Law provides that the manufacturer has to pay the fees and costs, that's one of the great things about this law.  Because of this, your lawyer typically does not ask for you to pay any of the fees or costs.  Also, the fees are typically based on an hourly rate, and not a percentage of what you get paid back.  A different arrangement is usually made for what is called "civil penalty" amounts.  This is like punitive damages, but is limited a maximum of two times your damages.  Most Lemon Law attorneys take a share of this bonus money in addition to their hourly rate, since it is bonus money, and not easy to get.  Make sure to get this explained to you.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--How Much Time Will this Take?  This is actually a very difficult question, and there's not usually any really reliable answer, because you never know what the other side is going to do.  However, the attorney should be able to tell you how long it is going to take him to send your demand letter out, or to file suit, depending upon his approach.  After that, as I say, the timetable is unpredictable.  Once you find out how long it is going to take the lawyer to take his first actions, you will be better prepared.  Yes, "these things take time" is what lawyers typically say, because, unfortunately, it's true.  However, if the lawyer is too busy to get to your case within a reasonable time, you may want to find somebody else.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--Who's Going to be Handling My Case?  The attorney you meet may not be the one actually handling your case.  You are entitled to know who is going to be representing you, and how to get in touch with them to find out what is going on.  It's not uncommon in larger firms for more than one attorney to be working on a given case, but you should be told who is "in charge" of the case.

What Do I Do if I'm Unhappy?  Let's assume you like all the answers you get to these questions, and hire the attorney.  What happens if, later on, you feel that you aren't getting the service you deserve?  Go talk to the lawyer!  You are always entitled to talk to the attorney representing you--they're working for you.  I suggest an in-person meeting because that gets the best results.  Telephone calls and, particularly e-mail, don't always convey what you are trying to get across and can give the impression that you are being unreasonable.  Go see the lawyer, tell him what your concerns are, and see if you are satisfied with the answers.  More often that not, this is all it takes because there has simply been a miscommunication.  If this doesn't solve the problem, you are always free to find another attorney to represent you.

There you are!  You've taken all the right steps to get the best results in your Lemon Law case.  Best of luck!  

In my next posting, I'll be talking about a new Lemon Law topic, so be sure to check back.  In the meantime, be sure to take a look at my websites: http://www.sandiegolemonlaw.com/ and http://whenbadcarshappen.com/

See you next time!

© 2014 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE

 

By Doug Sohn

"Getting Ready to See Your Lemon Law Lawyer"

The next step in the Lemon Law process is "Getting Ready to See Your Lemon Law Lawyer".  First, you may ask, "Do I need to have a lawyer help me with this, or this is just shameless self-promotion on Doug's part?"  Actually, it's not, and you do.  The unfortunate reality is that you are far more likely to get what you are entitled to under the law if you have an attorney representing you.

 

More importantly, this isn't going to cost you anything.  Before you toss this into the "too good to be true" basket, let me explain.  The California legislature realized that consumers were not going to be able to effectively pursue their rights under the Lemon Law unless they hired an attorney, and that it did not make economic sense to spend the thousands of dollars on attorney's fees in this type of case.  Because of this, it was made part of California Lemon Law that the manufacturer (Ford, Mercedes, etc.) was required to pay any attorney's fees and costs incurred by the consumer.  In other words, when you hire a lawyer for a Lemon Law case, it won't cost you a dime!

 

Now, getting back to what you need to do to get ready to see the lawyer.  The most important thing is to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork.  I break this down into three categories:

 

1.  Ownership Documents. This would start with your purchase contract and everything else you were handed that night you left the dealership with the keys to your beautiful new car clutched in your trembling hand.  (Usually because of low blood sugar after the four-hour ordeal that is car buying.)  Next would be anything having to do with any loan you have on the car.  (Loan application, letter from the loan company at the start of the loan, monthly statements, coupon books, cancelled checks, that sort of thing.)  Next, the current registration and any registrations before that.  Next, receipts for anything you added to the vehicle, after-market items such as stereos, custom wheels, trailer hitches, etc.  Finally, all the owner's manuals, warranties and other booklets.  These are typically in a black plastic folder in the glove compartments, and usually you haven't looked at them since the salesman handed them to you along with those keys we started out with.

 

2.  Service Documents.  These are the documents that are going to tell your lawyer whether or not you have a case.  Included are all the repair documents you ever got.  As I explained last time, usually, when you take your car or truck to the dealer, they give you one set of paperwork, frequently called a "work order" that shows that you left your vehicle with them and what you said was wrong with it.  When you pick up your vehicle they will give you a "Repair Order" or "Invoice", showing what they did to try to fix it.  You need to bring both documents for every time you took your car in.  Didn't keep them?  Then you have to go to the dealer and ask for copies.   Don't let them give you a "summary" or "history".  You need full copies of all the work orders and repair orders, and you're entitled to them.  As always, be "polite but firm".  Of course, if you've been following my advice, you already have these.  You also need copies of any maintenance work you've have done, whether or not done at the dealer.  This would include oil changes, brake replacements and tire replacements.

 

3.  Everything else.  Gather up any letters or e-mails you may have sent or gotten about the problems with your car.  Also, any logs, notes or memos you may have made about the problems.  If you took a video of your beautiful new car being hauled away by the tow truck or any video or pictures showing the problems, bring those.  I've had clients bring in pictures of the warning lights shining on the dashboard, and they were very effective.  (And, yes, I've been brought the tow truck pictures!)  Our slogan around here is, "If it's on paper and it has anything to do with your car, bring it!)"

 

Have everything on this list?  It may take some time to gather it all together if you haven't been putting it in a file as you go along.  (Assuming your crystal ball failed to alert you when you bought the car that you'd be seeing a Lemon Law attorney years later.)  But your efforts will pay off when you go to see the lawyer.

 

Next time, I’ll tell you how to pick a Lemon Law lawyer.


See you next time!


 

© 2014 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Last time, I talked about what a “Lemon” was—not a piece of fruit in this case, but a piece of junk, your new car or truck that the dealer can’t seem to get fixed.  This week, we’re going to talk about your first step in getting that lemon bought back.


The first thing to do is to make sure that you’ve made a record of the problems with your car or truck.  In this case, the only record that really counts is the set of repair records kept by the dealer.  I’m going to be talking strictly about new car dealers, because that is the best source for these types of records.  You can have warranty work done by independent mechanics, but it makes a better impression if all of the records we’re going to be talking about come from an actual new car dealer for your type of car—Ford, BMW, Lexus, etc..


Rule Number 1 in making in a record is “more is better”.  There is no set number of times you have to take your car or truck in for repairs, but the more times you have taken it in, the stronger your case is.  The best sequence is, (1) take in for repairs, (2) drive the car long enough for it to be clear the problem is still there or has come back, then (3) take it back in immediately after that.  Sometimes you drive out of the service department and see the problem is still there (that warning light is still on, or the engine still runs rough, or whatever the problem is).  In that case, it’s perfectly okay to turn right around and have them try again.  Sometimes the problem seems to be fixed, but it comes back weeks or even months later.  That’s okay too.  Take it back in as soon as that happens.


Rule Number 2 is, “if it’s not written down, it doesn’t count”.  The record is only what is actually in the written records at the dealer.  You can tell the man or woman in the service drive (usually called a “service advisor”) about a dozen different problems, but if he or she doesn’t write them all down, it isn’t part of the repair history.  Here’s where you may have to stand up for yourself.  If they aren’t writing down all of the problems you are having with the car, politely, but firmly, insist that they do.  Don’t be put off by the “Let’s take one problem at a time” approach.  If there are ten things wrong with the car, make sure they write all ten things down, and don’t leave the car until they do.  The reason is this--if you take your car or truck in for repairs and don’t have them write down one of the problems, this becomes what I call a “negative record”.  In other words, the manufacturer may say that the car must not have been having that problem at that point or you would have complained about it.


Rule Number 3 is, “be clear and specific and consistent”.  When you explain to the service advisor what the problems are, make sure you are as clear as you can be as to what you are experiencing.  You’re probably not a mechanic, so don’t worry about trying to diagnose the problem—that’s their job.  It’s okay to say, “When I’m driving on the freeway, and I push on the gas, the car seems to hesitate before it speeds up”.  You don’t have to try to guess if that is a transmission problem, an engine problem, or whatever.  Be sure to tell them what it does, when it does it, and how frequently.  That covers the “clear and specific” part.  The “consistent” part means that you need to use the same description each time.  Why?  Because part of what you need to show is that you are having the same problem over and over.  If you are describing it different ways different times, it’s going to look like different problems, like they fixed one problem and a different one came up, and that’s not going to help you prove that you have a lemon.


Rule Number 4 is, “keep the records”.  After you’ve gone to all this trouble to make sure you’ve made a clear record of the problem—make sure you get that record and keep it.  Before you leave your car, the service advisor is required to give you a copy of the service record, usually called a “work order” that shows that you left the car with them and what you complained about.  Before you sign anything, make sure you read it over to make sure it’s complete and accurate, following the rules I gave you.  Also check to make sure the mileage is correct, because that’s part of making a clear record, too.  Take that piece of paper with you, and keep it in a file you are going to make that has all of the records about your car.  When you pick up the car, they are required to give you another piece of paper, usually called a “Repair Order” or “Invoice” that tells you what they’ve done to your car.  Make sure you get that, and keep it too.  If you have any questions about what they’ve done to your car, ask them, and make sure you’re getting an explanation you can understand.  Make a note, on a separate piece of paper, of the date, time and mileage on the car when you picked it up.  Don’t write on the service documents themselves.  Remember, if the problem comes back, take it back immediately.


What’s next?  The next thing is getting to ready to see the lawyer, and I’ll tell you about that in my next column.


See you next week!


© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn


Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

 

What is a "Lemon"?

What do you think of when I say the word “lemon”?  Lemon bars?  Lemon meringue pie?  If you’re thinking “my new car”, then we need to talk.


That kind of “lemon” is, as we all know, a new car or truck that just isn’t any good, for one reason or another.  What can you do about it?  California, luckily enough, has very strong laws to protect you, as the consumer, if you’ve been sold a lemon.  If your new car has serious problems that the dealer’s service department isn’t getting fixed, and you’ve given them a reasonable number of chances to fix it, then chances are your car legally qualifies as a lemon.


What does that mean for you?  That means that the manufacturer--Ford, Mercedes, whatever, is required to buy it back from you.  What do you get back?   Generally speaking, you get back your down payment and the monthly payments you’ve made, and your loan gets paid off.  Of course, you have to give them back the car.  There are usually different credits and adjustments that come into play, but that has to be decided based on the specifics of your situation.


How much is this going to cost you in attorney’s fees?  That’s the best part, because the answer is—“$0”.  Too good to be true?  Fortunately, the California lawmakers realized that it would not make sense for you, the car buyer, to pay the attorney’s fees that a Lemon Law case would require, so they made it a part of California law that the manufacturer has to pay the attorney’s fees.  So—it’s free for you!  (Keep that in mind if you’re talking to an attorney about your Lemon Law case and he or she is trying to charge you.)


Notice I’ve been using the words “new car”.  What does that actually mean?  It means that the car or truck we’re talking about has to have been under warranty, the original manufacturer’s warranty, when the problems started.  It doesn’t matter if the warranty has expired now.  I’ve had clients with vehicles where the warranty has expired years ago, and been able to get the vehicle bought back.  But—there are time limits, so don’t delay in seeing a lawyer.

What’s your next step?  


First, you need to make sure that you have made a good record of the problems with your vehicle.  How do you do that?  That’s going to be the subject of my next column.


See you next week!

 

© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Chrysler recalls 667,000 cars and vans for safety defects

Chrysler announced today that it was recalling 667,000 cars and vans for safety defects.  There actually two separate recalls.

The first one affects 2013-model Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan and Ram C/V Tradesman minivans built May 10, 2012, through June 7, 2013.  A defective electronic part could cause the wrong side airbags to deploy in a side impact.

The second one involves a defective head restraint system and affects:

2011-2013 Chrysler Sebring and Chrysler 200 cars manufactured June 28, 2011, through December 13, 2012;

2011-2013 Dodge Avenger cars made June 25, 2011, through January 14, 2013;

2011-2012 Dodge Nitro SUVs built June 17, 2011, through December 15, 2011;

2011-2012 Jeep Liberty SUVs manufactured June 17, 2011, through August 15, 2012

If you think you have one of the affected vehicles, contact your dealer immediately and ask them to make the necessary repairs.  If you have had problems with these components and have tried to get them repaired in the past, I recommend that you also contact a local Lemon Law attorney.

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next time!  

© 2013 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.Blog here.

Class Action Settlements--A Trap for the Unwary

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn


You're going through your mail, and, in among the bills and junk mail, there it is--a legal-looking envelope that has a title like "somebody v. corporation".  If you're like most of us, you get one of these almost every month.  You open it up and probably just glance at it, then, more likely than not, you set it aside and don't give it a second thought, figuring you may get a check for $5 or $20 some time in the future. 

If this is a class action concerning a car or other vehicle, you may have just made a mistake that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars!

Why?  Because you may have a perfectly good Lemon Law case, which entitles you to have your vehicle bought back, but you are on your way to giving up that right forever.

Here are two recent cases in point.  First, is the Ford Super Duty diesel truck, with the 6.0 liter engine.  Those of us in the industry have long known that these engines are problem-prone, and I have personally gotten dozens of these trucks bought back for my clients, a full repurchase that gets them their down payment and monthly payments and gets their loan paid off--a lot of money.  

Recently, however, there was a class action settlement regarding 6.0 liter Ford trucks.  A notification, like the one I talked about, was sent out to all known owners.  Under the terms of the agreement, these owners will get a relatively small sum of money instead of a buyback.

The scary part is that, under the terms of the settlement, unless you notified Ford in writing that you did not want to be included in the settlement, you were automatically included and you would be forever barred from bring a Lemon Law case and getting a buyback!  

To make matters more complicated, you had to get that notification to a specific address, in a specific format, and by a specific date, or you waived your rights.  If you got that notification and just set it aside, you are out of luck.

Another recent example is the Hyundai air bag system class settlement.  Again, there was a settlement that provided for owners to receive a modest payment, in exchange for giving up their right to a buyback, and you were included, unless you sent in a letter saying you wanted to be excluded.  In this case, your letter had to be postmarked by a certain date, not received by a certain date.

So, if you get any kind of a notice concerning a class action settlement that mentions a vehicle you currently own, read it very carefully.  I would suggest that you also contact a local Lemon Law attorney to get their advice on the matter.  If you don't, it could cost you dearly!

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next time!  

© 2013 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

You Can Get Your Repair Costs Back in a Lemon Law Case

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn


In handling Lemon Law cases for my clients, one of the things I always look at is whether or not they had to pay for repairs on the vehicle.

California's Lemon Law requires the manufacturer not only to give you back what you have paid for the vehicle, but also to pay you back for certain additional damages.  One of those is money that you have had to pay for repairs to the vehicle that were caused by the "Lemon-ness" (my word). 

Here's an example.  Let's say you had a Ford F-350 Super Duty Diesel, like a lot of my clients.  You have had a great deal of repairs for engine issues (trust me, you have).  Let's also say that, for whatever reason, some of the engine repairs did not get covered by warranty.   It's also likely that you had to pay a $100 co-pay for engine repairs that occurred between the bumper-to-bumper warranty expiration and the expiration of the special 100,000 mile warranty for the diesel engines.

You are entitled to be reimbursed for those expenditures.  Recently, I went through a client's repair records, and found that they had nearly $1,000 in such repair costs, and I demanded that the manufacture reimburse my client for those costs, in addition to the repurchase amount.  That is not an inconsequential amount.

So, if you have a Lemon Law case, make sure you go through your repair records with a fine-tooth comb and demand to get reimbursed for repair costs that relate to the "Lemon-ness" of your vehicle.


I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2013 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Honda Recalls Nearly Three-Quarters of a Million Vehicles

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn


Honda Motors America announced today that it was recalling over 748,000 Pilots and Odysseys because of potential airbag failures.

The vehicles, manufactured from March 13, 2008 through December 21, 2012, were missing one or more rivets that attached the airbag cover.

If you think you may have one of these vehicles, you should immediately take it to your dealer to have it inspected.

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Toyota Settles Sudden Unintended Acceleration Case

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn


Toyota has now settled the first of a group of cases involving allegations of sudden unintended acceleration.  This first case involved a couple killed in Utah in 2010 when their Toyota Camry slammed into a wall.  It was also reported that a second case, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, has settled.

These cases are based on defects in Toyota's Electronic Throttle Control System.

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Legal Rights for Buyers of "As-Is" Cars

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn


Although most of my cases involve new cars, I frequently get questions about used cars.  One of the most common situations I hear about is the "as-is" sale.

Buyers will ask me if they have any legal rights if they buy a car "as-is", and the answer to that is, "maybe".

Here are some situations where you can still have legal rights in this setting:

1.  It may not be an "as-is" sale.  Just because the dealer tells you you have bought the cars "as-is" doesn't make it so.  It has to say that on the window sticker or "Buyer's Guide" and it has to say it on the sales contract.

2.  If the car is not as represented.  If you have been told that the car has certain attributes, and that doesn't turn out to be true, you may have rights.  On the other hand, if the car has certain defects (for example, it was in an accident) and you were not told about it, you may have rights.

3.  If the car is not safe.  The dealer is not protected by an "as-is" clause if the car is actually unsafe.  Typically, this involves tires or brakes or other obviously necessary safety items.

4.  If there is a defect in the contract.  Car purchase contracts are subject to many legal requirements, and dealers often fail to meet those requirements, which may give you legal rights.

So, the bottom line is, if you've been sold a lemon, don't give up just because somebody tells you you bought it "as-is".

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Airbag Recall for VW

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn


Volkswagen announced today that it is recalling certain of its VW Beetles for defects in the passenger airbag system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says VW is recalling 2,471 of its 2012 and 2013 Beetle coupes -- those with leather seats and built from February 2012 through August 2012 (check the driver door jamb for the build date).

Apparently, if the right front seat gets wet, the sensor in the seat (the "occupant control module") may not detect the presence of a child restraint on the seat.  (Of course, the recommended location for a child seat is the rear seat.)

Contact your local VW dealer for more information.

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Hyundai-Kia Gives Refunds for Overstated Mileage Claims

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn


Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America overestimated the fuel economy numbers for 900,000 cars and, as a result, is offering refunds to its customers.  Accent, Veloster, and Elantra models (and their Kia counterparts) Hyundai had claimed would get 40 mpg have been reduced by the EPA to 37 or 38 mpg.

In an attempt to make things right, the two brands are offering reimbursements for the difference (+15%) based on mileage/gas prices where you live. This equals about $100 per 15,000 miles for the life of the car, disbursed in the form of a debit card.

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

30th Anniversary of the Lemon Law

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn

30 years ago this month, the Lemon Law was born.  It's a little-remembered fact that, before there was a California Lemon Law, before there was even a Federal Lemon Law, a Connecticut assemblyman introduced the first law in the United States to protect car buyers from bad cars.

When John J. Woodcock II was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly thirty years ago, he discovered that one of the most common complaints he heard from his constituents was about bad cars.  Even though he was brand-new, he decided he could do something about it.  Not only was he able to get the consumer protection legislation passed in his own state of Connecticut, that law became the model for similar laws throughout the nation.  That eventually led to the laws that now protect you as a California consumer.

Kudos to Assemblyman Woodcock!  In our country, one person really can make a difference.

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Nissan Recalls Altimas with Defective Steering

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn

Apparently, the steering could fail on your new 2012 or 2013 Altima. 

Nissan has issued a recall on that model, stating that the bolts on the steering gear may not have been tightened properly and could fall off.

"Based on engineering judgment, it was determined that if a loose bolt falls out completely, the driver may experience difficulty in controlling the direction of the vehicle," Nissan told NHTSA.

Frankly,  I don't think that it takes an engineer to tell you that if the bolts fall out of the steering mechanism on your car, you might have trouble controlling the direction of the vehicle.

If you think your car is one of those recalled, contact your local dealer and make an appointment to get the bolts tightened.  If you have had problems with the steering in the past and the dealer did not make adequate repairs, you should contact a local experienced Lemon Law attorney for advice; you may have a Lemon Law claim.

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Toyota Recalls 7.5 Million Cars for Door Fires

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn

Toyota has finally been forced by the NHTSA to issue a recall over the defective door window switches that have been causing fires in the doors of their Camrys and other cars.  The recall affects 7.5 million cars worldwide, including 2.5 million cars in the U.S. alone.

I am currently litigating a case against Toyota involving a 2007 Camry that my client was driving when he noticed smoking coming from the door next to him.  By the time he pulled over, the door had burst into flames.  Fortunately, a passing motorist stopped with a fire extinguisher and put the flames out before the entire car could be lost.  The door, however, was severely damaged.  

Toyota, amazingly, refused to repair the door under warranty, saying they were only responsible for replacing the defective switch!

Here is a list of the cars apparently involved in the recall (you can also check the NHTSA site to make sure):

2007 to 2008 Yaris (approx. 110,300)

If you think your car is one of those recalled, contact your local dealer and make an appointment to get the switch replaced.  If you have had problems with that switch in the past and the dealer did not make adequate repairs, you should contact a local experienced Lemon Law attorney for advice; you may have a Lemon Law claim.

I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Nissan Buys Back Leafs Under Arizona Lemon Law

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©
By Doug Sohn

A Phoenix, Arizona TV station has reported that Nissan has bought back several of their electric Leaf vehicles. The problem complained of is premature failure of the car's rechargeable batteries.

One of the owners is quoted as saying “I had to get rid of it, When I turned my car inn, I was only able to get 42 miles on a single charge,” he explained, pointing out that his work commute was 45 miles. 

After just 15 months of ownership, three of the capacity bars on his Leaf’s dashboard had disappeared, representing a 27.5 percent loss in battery capacity.

Unable to drive his car to work, Yarosh turned his car in, and was hit by almost $700 in fees. A week later, Nissan gave him a full refund. 

“I think they’re trying to get me to shut up to be honest, to keep my mouth shut,” he said.

Nissan has denied any defects and has, instead, placed the blame on "excessive mileage."

A class action suit has also been filed against Nissan in Federal Court in California, alleging battery defects.

If you own a Leaf and suspect that the car has battery issues, I recommend that you contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney in your area.


I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

See you next week!  

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

Autos Recalled this Month

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©

By Doug Sohn


This week, I'm going to let you know about several recent recalls that may affect you.

In fact, there were nearly 54,000 cars recalled last week.  That's a little scary.


GM

General Motors recalled 44,668 2012 Sonics manufactured from May 5, 2011 through February 24, 2012 for a defect in the windshield wiper hose.


Nissan

Nissan recalled 7,842 2013 Infiniti JX35 models for a fuel tank issue which could cause the fuel gauge to show that the car has more fuel than it actually does.


Fisker

Fisker (the electric car, not the scissors) recalled 1,377 2012 Karma models for an electric issue that could cause a fire.  I see on their website that they use wood from wildfires in the instrument panels of their cars.  Now, that's bad karma!


I'll have a new topic for you for my next post.  In the meantime, you can get more information from my websites San Diego Lemon Law and When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.


See you next week! 

© 2012 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

THE TOP 10 SIGNS YOUR CAR OR TRUCK MAY BE A LEMON

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©

By Doug Sohn

THE TOP 10 SIGNS YOUR CAR OR TRUCK MAY BE A LEMON

Here are my Top 10 Signs Your Car or Truck May Be A Lemon:

1.   You have to bring your car or truck back to the dealer for the same problem, over and over.
2.   Your car is in the shop more than it’s in your garage.
3.   You’re beginning to miss your trade-in, the one you got rid of because you were worried it would start breaking down.
4.   Your friends are starting to ask you, “Why are you driving a different car every day?” because you’re always in a loaner.
5.   Your vehicle stalls or breaks down.
6.   Your car or truck has to be towed in to the dealer, particularly if it’s more than one time.
7.   You no longer feel safe driving it.
8.   Your service advisor recognizes you and your car as soon as you pull up.
9.   Your service advisor recognizes you and your car as soon as you pull up—and starts shaking his head.

AND, finally, the top reason (but don’t expect this). . .

10.   Your service advisor tells you, “You know, I think you’ve got a lemon here.”

Now, what do you do about it?  The most important thing is to make sure there is a clear record of the problems you are having.  The most important source of that record is the service department’s repair records. Unfortunately, you can’t just assume the dealer is going to do this job for you.  There are several reasons why this may be true.  One, is that service advisors and mechanics are only human, and they’re trying to write down something that you are explaining that you have experienced.  This can lead to inaccuracies.  The other reason is that they are trying to put into mechanic’s terms what you are describing in your own language, and they’re trying to guess what the cause of the problem might be.  Finally, dealership personnel are often aware of the Lemon Law and sometimes feel they need to protect the manufacturer from potential Lemon Law claims.  Since those claims are strengthened by records of repeat problems, sometimes it appears that service advisors avoid describing the problem you are reporting with the same words on second and third visits.

What’s the solution?  You need to insist that they write down the problem you are describing in your words, and with the same general words each time (assuming you are experiencing the same problem again, of course).

You’ll find more details in my blog posts, below.

See you next week!

© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases. He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

How to Choose a Lemon Law Lawyer--And What Questions to Ask

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©

By Doug Sohn

How to Choose a Lemon Law Lawyer--And What Questions to Ask

Last week I explained what paperwork you need to gather up before you see your attorney.  Now that you've done all that, it's time to make an appointment to see the lawyer.  How do you decide what lawyer to see? That's the subject of today's post.

Experience counts.  One of the most important factors to consider is whether the attorney in question has significant experience in Lemon Law cases.  Believe it or not, this is actually a specialized area, with a lot of what the law calls "traps for the unwary".  A lawyer who has never handled a Lemon Law case, or not very many of them, is at a definite disadvantage.  First, he may not be able to give you a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  (I'm going to use "he" instead of "he or she" for simplicity's sake.)  This is bad for two entirely different reasons.  He may overestimate your case and get you involved in a claim, or even a lawsuit, that you aren't going to win.  On the other hand, he may tell you don't have a case when you actually do.  Second,  he may not know to ask for all the money you are entitled to get back.  Third, he won't be known to the manufacturers and their attorneys.  This is a small legal community, and the folks on the manufacturer's side know the experienced Lemon Law attorneys, and will try to take advantage of the ones who aren't.


Questions to Ask the Lawyer--Experience.  First, how many years have you been in practice?  If you're not comfortable with this type of question, look them up on the California State Bar website, or on Avvo.  The Avvo site will also tell you how much of their practice they devote to Lemon Law, which is another question you should ask.  Another important question, that only the lawyer can answer for you, is, "How many Lemon Law cases have you taken to trial?"  They should at least have tried one, and at least have won one.   Keep in mind that most Lemon Law cases settle, so most attorneys have not tried very many of these cases, and usually it's the more difficult cases that get tried so a low success rate isn't necessarily a bad sign.  If the attorney has never tried a Lemon Law case then that is a bad sign, however.  Not only does he need to know how to try a Lemon Law case, but the other side needs to know that he does.  This makes it more likely that he will be able to settle the case.

Once you've chosen an attorney to see, there are questions you will want to ask at the first meeting.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--How Much Will I Get Back?  The basic concept of the Lemon Law is that the manufacturer buys back your car or truck.  However, there are a number of factors that go into this calculation.  Ask the lawyer to give you an estimate of what you will get back.  In some cases, pursuing a Lemon Law case does not make good economic sense for you.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--What are the Fees and Costs?  California's Lemon Law provides that the manufacturer has to pay the fees and costs, that's one of the great things about this law.  Because of this, your lawyer typically does not ask for you to pay any of the fees or costs.  Also, the fees are typically based on an hourly rate, and not a percentage of what you get paid back.  A different arrangement is usually made for what is called "civil penalty" amounts.  This is like punitive damages, but is limited a maximum of two times your damages.  Most Lemon Law attorneys take a share of this bonus money in addition to their hourly rate, since it is bonus money, and not easy to get.  Make sure to get this explained to you.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--How Much Time Will this Take?  This is actually a very difficult question, and there's not usually any really reliable answer, because you never know what the other side is going to do.  However, the attorney should be able to tell you how long it is going to take him to send your demand letter out, or to file suit, depending upon his approach.  After that, as I say, the timetable is unpredictable.  Once you find out how long it is going to take the lawyer to take his first actions, you will be better prepared.  Yes, "these things take time" is what lawyers typically say, because, unfortunately, it's true.  However, if the lawyer is too busy to get to your case within a reasonable time, you may want to find somebody else.

Questions to Ask the Lawyer--Who's Going to be Handling My Case?  The attorney you meet may not be the one actually handling your case.  You are entitled to know who is going to be representing you, and how to get in touch with them to find out what is going on.  It's not uncommon in larger firms for more than one attorney to be working on a given case, but you should be told who is "in charge" of the case.

What Do I Do if I'm Unhappy?  Let's assume you like all the answers you get to these questions, and hire the attorney.  What happens if, later on, you feel that you aren't getting the service you deserve?  Go talk to the lawyer!  You are always entitled to talk to the attorney representing you--they're working for you.  I suggest an in-person meeting because that gets the best results.  Telephone calls and, particularly e-mail, don't always convey what you are trying to get across and can give the impression that you are being unreasonable.  Go see the lawyer, tell him what your concerns are, and see if you are satisfied with the answers.  More often that not, this is all it takes because there has simply been a miscommunication.  If this doesn't solve the problem, you are always free to find another attorney to represent you.

There you are!  You've taken all the right steps to get the best results in your Lemon Law case.  Best of luck!  

In my next posting, I'll be talking about a new Lemon Law topic, so be sure to check back.  In the meantime, be sure to take a look at my websites: http://www.sandiegolemonlaw.com/ and http://whenbadcarshappen.com/

See you next time!

© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©

By Doug Sohn

"Getting Ready to See Your Lemon Law Lawyer"

The next step in the Lemon Law process is "Getting Ready to See Your Lemon Law Lawyer".  First, you may ask, "Do I need to have a lawyer help me with this, or this is just shameless self-promotion on Doug's part?"  Actually, it's not, and you do.  The unfortunate reality is that you are far more likely to get what you are entitled to under the law if you have an attorney representing you.

 

More importantly, this isn't going to cost you anything.  Before you toss this into the "too good to be true" basket, let me explain.  The California legislature realized that consumers were not going to be able to effectively pursue their rights under the Lemon Law unless they hired an attorney, and that it did not make economic sense to spend the thousands of dollars on attorney's fees in this type of case.  Because of this, it was made part of California Lemon Law that the manufacturer (Ford, Mercedes, etc.) was required to pay any attorney's fees and costs incurred by the consumer.  In other words, when you hire a lawyer for a Lemon Law case, it won't cost you a dime!

 

Now, getting back to what you need to do to get ready to see the lawyer.  The most important thing is to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork.  I break this down into three categories:

 

1.  Ownership Documents. This would start with your purchase contract and everything else you were handed that night you left the dealership with the keys to your beautiful new car clutched in your trembling hand.  (Usually because of low blood sugar after the four-hour ordeal that is car buying.)  Next would be anything having to do with any loan you have on the car.  (Loan application, letter from the loan company at the start of the loan, monthly statements, coupon books, cancelled checks, that sort of thing.)  Next, the current registration and any registrations before that.  Next, receipts for anything you added to the vehicle, after-market items such as stereos, custom wheels, trailer hitches, etc.  Finally, all the owner's manuals, warranties and other booklets.  These are typically in a black plastic folder in the glove compartments, and usually you haven't looked at them since the salesman handed them to you along with those keys we started out with.

 

2.  Service Documents.  These are the documents that are going to tell your lawyer whether or not you have a case.  Included are all the repair documents you ever got.  As I explained last time, usually, when you take your car or truck to the dealer, they give you one set of paperwork, frequently called a "work order" that shows that you left your vehicle with them and what you said was wrong with it.  When you pick up your vehicle they will give you a "Repair Order" or "Invoice", showing what they did to try to fix it.  You need to bring both documents for every time you took your car in.  Didn't keep them?  Then you have to go to the dealer and ask for copies.   Don't let them give you a "summary" or "history".  You need full copies of all the work orders and repair orders, and you're entitled to them.  As always, be "polite but firm".  Of course, if you've been following my advice, you already have these.  You also need copies of any maintenance work you've have done, whether or not done at the dealer.  This would include oil changes, brake replacements and tire replacements.

 

3.  Everything else.  Gather up any letters or e-mails you may have sent or gotten about the problems with your car.  Also, any logs, notes or memos you may have made about the problems.  If you took a video of your beautiful new car being hauled away by the tow truck or any video or pictures showing the problems, bring those.  I've had clients bring in pictures of the warning lights shining on the dashboard, and they were very effective.  (And, yes, I've been brought the tow truck pictures!)  Our slogan around here is, "If it's on paper and it has anything to do with your car, bring it!)"

 

Have everything on this list?  It may take some time to gather it all together if you haven't been putting it in a file as you go along.  (Assuming your crystal ball failed to alert you when you bought the car that you'd be seeing a Lemon Law attorney years later.)  But your efforts will pay off when you go to see the lawyer.

 

Next time, I’ll tell you how to pick a Lemon Law lawyer.


See you next week! 

© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

 

Your Lemon--Making a Record

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE©


By Doug Sohn


“Your Lemon—Making a Record”


Last week, I talked about what a “Lemon” was—not a piece of fruit in this case, but a piece of junk, your new car or truck that the dealer can’t seem to get fixed.  This week, we’re going to talk about your first step in getting that lemon bought back.


The first thing to do is to make sure that you’ve made a record of the problems with your car or truck.  In this case, the only record that really counts is the set of repair records kept by the dealer.  I’m going to be talking strictly about new car dealers, because that is the best source for these types of records.  You can have warranty work done by independent mechanics, but it makes a better impression if all of the records we’re going to be talking about come from an actual new car dealer for your type of car—Ford, BMW, Lexus, etc..


Rule Number 1 in making in a record is “more is better”.  There is no set number of times you have to take your car or truck in for repairs, but the more times you have taken it in, the stronger your case is.  The best sequence is, (1) take in for repairs, (2) drive the car long enough for it to be clear the problem is still there or has come back, then (3) take it back in immediately after that.  Sometimes you drive out of the service department and see the problem is still there (that warning light is still on, or the engine still runs rough, or whatever the problem is).  In that case, it’s perfectly okay to turn right around and have them try again.  Sometimes the problem seems to be fixed, but it comes back weeks or even months later.  That’s okay too.  Take it back in as soon as that happens.


Rule Number 2 is, “if it’s not written down, it doesn’t count”.  The record is only what is actually in the written records at the dealer.  You can tell the man or woman in the service drive (usually called a “service advisor”) about a dozen different problems, but if he or she doesn’t write them all down, it isn’t part of the repair history.  Here’s where you may have to stand up for yourself.  If they aren’t writing down all of the problems you are having with the car, politely, but firmly, insist that they do.  Don’t be put off by the “Let’s take one problem at a time” approach.  If there are ten things wrong with the car, make sure they write all ten things down, and don’t leave the car until they do.  The reason is this--if you take your car or truck in for repairs and don’t have them write down one of the problems, this becomes what I call a “negative record”.  In other words, the manufacturer may say that the car must not have been having that problem at that point or you would have complained about it.


Rule Number 3 is, “be clear and specific and consistent”.  When you explain to the service advisor what the problems are, make sure you are as clear as you can be as to what you are experiencing.  You’re probably not a mechanic, so don’t worry about trying to diagnose the problem—that’s their job.  It’s okay to say, “When I’m driving on the freeway, and I push on the gas, the car seems to hesitate before it speeds up”.  You don’t have to try to guess if that is a transmission problem, an engine problem, or whatever.  Be sure to tell them what it does, when it does it, and how frequently.  That covers the “clear and specific” part.  The “consistent” part means that you need to use the same description each time.  Why?  Because part of what you need to show is that you are having the same problem over and over.  If you are describing it different ways different times, it’s going to look like different problems, like they fixed one problem and a different one came up, and that’s not going to help you prove that you have a lemon.


Rule Number 4 is, “keep the records”.  After you’ve gone to all this trouble to make sure you’ve made a clear record of the problem—make sure you get that record and keep it.  Before you leave your car, the service advisor is required to give you a copy of the service record, usually called a “work order” that shows that you left the car with them and what you complained about.  Before you sign anything, make sure you read it over to make sure it’s complete and accurate, following the rules I gave you.  Also check to make sure the mileage is correct, because that’s part of making a clear record, too.  Take that piece of paper with you, and keep it in a file you are going to make that has all of the records about your car.  When you pick up the car, they are required to give you another piece of paper, usually called a “Repair Order” or “Invoice” that tells you what they’ve done to your car.  Make sure you get that, and keep it too.  If you have any questions about what they’ve done to your car, ask them, and make sure you’re getting an explanation you can understand.  Make a note, on a separate piece of paper, of the date, time and mileage on the car when you picked it up.  Don’t write on the service documents themselves.  Remember, if the problem comes back, take it back immediately.


What’s next?  The next thing is getting to ready to see the lawyer, and I’ll tell you about that in my next column.


See you next week!


© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn


Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.

WHEN BAD CARS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE

“What is a Lemon?”

What do you think of when I say the word “lemon”?  Lemon bars?  Lemon meringue pie?  If you’re thinking “my new car”, then we need to talk.

That kind of “lemon” is, as we all know, a new car or truck that just isn’t any good, for one reason or another.  What can you do about it?  California, luckily enough, has very strong laws to protect you, as the consumer, if you’ve been sold a lemon.  If your new car has serious problems that the dealer’s service department isn’t getting fixed, and you’ve given them a reasonable number of chances to fix it, then chances are your car legally qualifies as a lemon.

What does that mean for you?  That means that the manufacturer--Ford, Mercedes, whatever, is required to buy it back from you.  What do you get back?   Generally speaking, you get back your down payment and the monthly payments you’ve made, and your loan gets paid off.  Of course, you have to give them back the car.  There are usually different credits and adjustments that come into play, but that has to be decided based on the specifics of your situation.

How much is this going to cost you in attorney’s fees?  That’s the best part, because the answer is—“$0”.  Too good to be true?  Fortunately, the California lawmakers realized that it would not make sense for you, the car buyer, to pay the attorney’s fees that a Lemon Law case would require, so they made it a part of California law that the manufacturer has to pay the attorney’s fees.  So—it’s free for you!  (Keep that in mind if you’re talking to an attorney about your Lemon Law case and he or she is trying to charge you.)

Notice I’ve been using the words “new car”.  What does that actually mean?  It means that the car or truck we’re talking about has to have been under warranty, the original manufacturer’s warranty, when the problems started.  It doesn’t matter if the warranty has expired now.  I’ve had clients with vehicles where the warranty has expired years ago, and been able to get the vehicle bought back.  But—there are time limits, so don’t delay in seeing a lawyer.

What’s your next step?  First, you need to make sure that you have made a good record of the problems with your vehicle.  How do you do that?  That’s going to be the subject of my next column.

See you next week!

© 2011 Douglas C. Sohn

Doug Sohn is a San Diego attorney specializing in Lemon Law cases.  He is a native of San Diego and lives in the North County with his wife, Cheri, and 3 of their 5 children.  Cheri also works with Doug in the practice.