California Lemon Law News + Info

Will The Value Of Your Trade-In Decrease Your Lemon Law Buyback Amount? Not If We Can Help It!

Have you gotten so sick of dealing with a defective car that you just traded it in for a car that works? If so, you can still pursue a lemon law claim. Thanks to a recent California Supreme Court ruling, you don’t have to worry about that trade-in affecting your lemon law buyback!

The California Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of our client in Niedermeier v. FCA, striking down a ruling that would have allowed FCA to use her trade-in credits as a deduction and reinforcing the basic protections provided by the California Lemon Law. The court’s ruling preserved the $98,961.08 award we were able to secure for our client.

The Court said in its Opinion that if FCA could use the trade-in credit as a deduction on the award, FCA would have been rewarded for “its delay in replacing the car or refunding the plaintiff’s money” when FCA had complete control on when it repurchased or replaced her defective car and should have taken either option promptly.

Our client, Lisa Niedemeier bought a Jeep Wrangler for approximately $40,000. The Jeep Wrangler experienced serious problems in its transmission, engine and exhaust. Niedemeier brought her Wrangler in for repairs 16 times in four years, and asked FCA to purchase her vehicle three times. FCA refused, so she traded in the Wrangler for a GMC Yukon and got $19,000 in trade-in credit.

FCA tried to use that trade-in credit to shave off part of what it owed Niedemeier. Had FCA abided by its responsibility to repurchase a defective vehicle, it would have simply given back roughly $40,000 to Niedemeier, give or take. Instead, its willful refusal to abide by the law landed FCA a civil penalty of $59,376.65, resulting in the final $98,961.08 award amount.

“This case shows we will fight the hardest to ensure consumers get everything they are entitled to under the lemon law, and we’re pleased the court decided in our client’s favor,” said Roger Kirnos, Managing Partner of Knight Law Group.

In a typical lemon law case, there is a basic formula that can approximate what an auto-manufacturer owes a consumer who was sold or leased a defective vehicle. However, when an auto manufacturer refuses to honor its obligations the way FCA has to Niedemeier, you need the right lemon law attorneys to argue your case in court and demand the reward you’re owed – all the way up to the California Supreme Court.

Lemon Law Help by Knight Law Group is an automotive lemon law firm that exclusively practices in California. If you are a California resident who purchased or leased a defective vehicle from a licensed dealership in California, we may be able to help you get rid of your potential lemon and recover significant cash compensation. Model year restrictions apply: 2017–Present vehicle models only.

However, we cannot help those who reside outside of California or purchased their vehicle outside of California unless they are active duty members of the Armed Forces, nor will we be able to refer those to a lemon law firm in their states.

To learn more about the California Lemon Law and your legal rights, visit our guides on the California Lemon Law and Used Car Lemon Law for more information.

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