The Lemon Law seems so cut and dry, so easy, so black and white… you are in the shop a continuous number of times for the same problem and the manufacturer is supposed to give you a new car or full refund, right? There should be no ifs, and or buts about it, according to some consumers. Sadly, it is not that easy. And that is why there is a need for Lemon Law Lawyers.
This is a David vs. Goliath situation. The consumer is battling a billion dollar car company, arguing that the product they purchased is inferior and they are deserving of recourse. But, how can the consumer and the company be on equal footing, preventing the car company from bullying the consumer through the court system? The answer lies in the fee-shifting provisions of State Lemon Laws and Federal Warranty Laws. The Laws say that if the consumer prevails, the manufacturer must pay all attorney fees and legal costs ON TOP OF what the consumer receives. Furthermore, if a Lemon Law Firm is confident of their abilities, they should make it clear that there will be no cost if for some reason you do not prevail. Therefore, win or lose, the consumer should have no cost and no risk when it comes to filing a claim.
So, what are the benefits of using an experienced Lemon Law Lawyer? First and foremost, they have knowledge of the statutes and access to case law. They know when a manufacturer is making an offer that’s sub par and when the car company truly wants to do right by the consumer. Experienced Lemon Law Attorneys have immediate access to manufacturers counsel. If they have a solid reputation of fighting claims in court, the manufacturer is much more likely to take their representation seriously, many times resolving a claim very quickly through pre-litigation channels. Remember, a manufacturer must pay attorney fees on top of what the consumer receives, so if the consumer has a strong Lemon Law claim, it does not benefit the manufacturer to drag it through the legal system and pay large attorney fees. Rather, they want to settle it as quickly as possible and pay as little in attorney fees as they need to. Many manufacturers work with our firm to offer comprehensive pre-litigation programs. And if no offer is made or the offer does not meet the consumer’s satisfaction, we move forward with the litigation process.
We are also seeing many manufacturers who are taking advantage of unrepresented consumers, offering them buybacks with high usage fees or swaps that are actually trades. The car companies are well aware of what they are doing and the consumer thinks that they are smart enough that they do not need the free legal representation afforded by the Lemon Law. Then, they call us after the fact and we tell them that in most cases, their errors can be not be fixed, resulting in receiving thousands less than they are entitled to. We also see consumers who elect to represent themselves in Lemon Law claims with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) or their State Attorney General’s Lemon Law program only to be defeated by the manufacturer’s high priced experts and attorneys hired to defeat their claims. And in some cases, like in New Jersey, Attorney General Lemon Law rulings are binding. There are quite a few claims where we see the consumer defeated where we know based on our experience and our ASE-certified experts (free of charge to all Kimmel and Silverman clients) that we could have succeeded.
So, take advantage of experience, knowledge and reputation of qualified Lemon Law Attorneys if you find yourself with a defective vehicle. It’s a free service that the Law allows for you and if you don’t take advantage of it, you could find yourself stranded down the road.