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California Lemon Law Arbitration

California Lemon Law Arbitration

What Is Arbitration?

Arbitration is an informal legal process that California consumers may use to obtain a resolution of their lemon law case using a third party to review the evidence and impose a decision. Most manufacturers have an arbitration procedure which is described in their owner's manual. When a consumer opts for arbitration, typically using the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) procedure, the decision reached by the arbitrator is not binding on the consumer. It is, however, binding on the manufacturer unless the manufacturer and consumer have jointly reached another arrangement to settle the lemon law dispute.

California Certified Arbitration Program

Many automobile manufacturers offer an arbitration process certified by the Department of Consumers Affairs. The Arbitration Certification Program (ACP) approves and monitors participating automobile manufacturers to ensure compliance with California laws and regulations related to new vehicle warranties and manufacturer sponsored arbitration programs. One of the main goals of the ACP is to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration, in lieu of court action to reduce the strain and cost on consumers and the court system.

Should You Use Arbitration To Settle Your California Lemon Law Claim?

Arbitration is highly dangerous for the lemon vehicle owner.

  • While the process is free for the consumer, the BBB or arbitrator is paid by the manufacturer or a manufacturers' group, seems like it may create a built in bias. California Lemon Law requires that the manufacturer pay the consumer's attorney's fees.
  • Consumers could be at a disadvantage against the automobile manufacturer's representatives who are typically experienced in dealing with arbitration and lemon law claims.
  • The arbitrator's decision has the same weight as if made in a court of law and a decision in favor of the manufacturer and against the consumer may subsequently be used by the manufacturer in any future legal proceeding. Yet, the arbitrator may have little or no legal experience and little or no automotive expertise.
  • In support of his or her lemon law claim, the consumer must complete forms describing the problem and repair attempts, and the manufacturer must provide similar information. This may make arbitration a lengthy process. Although arbitration was intended to be a quicker and cheaper option for consumers, in many circumstances it is anything but.

In California, arbitration is not a prerequisite for filing a lemon law claim or filing a lawsuit against a manufacturer. Hiring an experienced California lemon law lawyer is usually the best option. An experienced California lemon law attorney should be able to quickly screen your case to determine if your case has merit, and when retained, will fight to get you get the maximum legal recovery in a reasonable period of time.

If you purchased your vehicle in California and believe it may be a lemon, contact the Law Offices of Delsack & Associates P.C. at 1-888-395-3666 for a free lemon law consultation.

More About California Lemon Law Arbitration

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California Lemon Law Book

The Law Offices of Delsack & Associates has published an orientation guide to the California Lemon Law in the interest of consumer protection and awareness.

Read More Here