Record Keeping and How It Relates to Lemon Law
The last thing that anyone thinks of when they buy a new car is that they might have a lemon on their hands. Most new cars are well-made and perform as promised, and, if well-cared for will last many years, giving good and faithful service to their drivers. Even the best auto manufacturers have bad days, though, and occasionally a defective vehicle slips through the quality control process and into dealers’ sales lots. The purpose of California’s lemon law is to help consumers receive compensation for the repair costs and trouble associated with defective or “lemon” vehicles. Many lemon law cases fail for lack of evidence. Careful record-keeping is one way to help prove a lemon law case, and it can be beneficial to a car owner in other ways as well.
Why Is Record-Keeping Important?
Record keeping is vital for any lemon law claim. In order to prevail in a lemon lawsuit under California law, the car owner will have to show, at a minimum, that the car was taken for service repeatedly to repair the same problem. In order to demonstrate repair efforts, the owner will have to provide a detailed service record.
The simplest way to keep service records is to have a notebook set aside for the purpose. For each service entry, the owner should write a record of what the problem was and the date the car went into the service garage for repair. In addition, the owner should add the following information to the car service records:
- A complete list of the parts the mechanic repaired or replaced. If the owner can get pictures, these can be taped in the notebook or added easily;
- An itemized list of the work done and the time expended on each item on the list;
- An odometer reading at the time the car was delivered for repair;
- The date the car was returned to the owner;
- The owner should also write a note recording the mechanic’s description of the defect found and the action taken.
The owner should keep copies of documents like invoices, work orders, or receipts. Like pictures, these can be taped into the notebook at the appropriate point in the record. At a minimum, there should be an invoice showing the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle.
In addition to providing evidence for a lemon law claim, a good set of vehicle maintenance records can help a car owner in other ways as well. A car owner can and should keep track of such important details as:
- Regular maintenance, including oil and oil filter changes, fluid checks and changes, and other recurring events. These are easily overlooked or forgotten about, and having a record can serve as a reminder.
- Tire maintenance, including checks, as well as replacement. Brake maintenance is also often overlooked, and having a reminder is welcome.
- Notices of a safety recall, together with any record of having the work necessary to correct any problem done.
Besides the obvious use of having all the details of car maintenance in one place, a well-used car repair history can help when the vehicle is finally sold. Prospective buyers can examine the records relating to your car and determine at a glance what has been corrected and maintained and when. They can know the vehicle has been properly cared for and is in good working order with no hidden defects.
Suppose you have purchased a defective car and want to explore the possibility of a lemon law claim. In that case, the assistance of a CA lemon law attorney can be invaluable in helping you present your claim in the most effective way possible to the car dealership and manufacturer. If negotiations fail, we are happy to help you pursue your case in court. The Kaloustian Law Group has served many clients as a lemon law lawyer in Los Angeles. Call today for an appointment.