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Lemon Law Vehicle Offset Explained

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If your relatively new vehicle has turned out to be a lemon, your frustration may have transitioned to hope upon learning that California’s Lemon Law protects consumer rights in the automobile industry by requiring a vehicle manufacturer to replace or reimburse you for a vehicle with a severe defect or problem that started during its warranty period, which, after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer has been unable to fix.

Navigating through the process of filing a claim, negotiating a settlement, potentially arbitrating a claim, and even bringing a case to trial, can be overwhelming. An experienced California lemon law lawyer can assist and guide you through all the requirements and nuances to help you achieve the best result possible. 

However, even when a settlement negotiation is successful and a consumer is offered full reimbursement for the amount they are legally entitled to, vehicle owners are sometimes surprised and disappointed that the amount they are entitled to is less than what they paid for the defective vehicle. The reason for this discrepancy is an allowed mileage offset to account for your use of the vehicle before the defect or problem started.

Is it legal for the manufacturer to reduce the payment for mileage offset?

Yes. Under California’s Lemon Law, vehicle manufacturers are entitled to offset or reduce the amount paid to a vehicle’s buyer based on the amount attributable to the buyer’s mileage before the first time the buyer delivered the vehicle to the manufacturer, distributor, or authorized repair facility to fix the defect.

How is the mileage offset calculated?

The amount paid to a vehicle’s buyer by the manufacturer cannot be determined arbitrarily and may only reflect the mileage you put on the vehicle from the time you purchased it to the time you first brought it in to be repaired. This is a set formula and the mileage offset may not be more than that amount.

For example, if when you purchased your brand-new car, there were 100 miles on it and at the time you brought your defective lemon into the authorized dealership service center, there were 1,000 miles on the vehicle, the manufacturer would be entitled to reduce the amount they pay you on your lemon law claim to offset those 900 miles only.

What should you do if the manufacturer is trying to reduce your payment by more than the allowed mileage offset?

If you believe that your vehicle’s manufacturer is trying to reduce the amount paid to you by more than the allowable mileage offset, you should contact an experienced California lemon law lawyer right away. Without the representation of an attorney, the car manufacturer may try to take advance of you and drag out your claim to avoid paying you the amount you deserve.

At Lemon Law Auto Fraud, our California lemon law lawyers have obtained favorable results for our clients in over 99% of claims. Do not go it alone—call us today at (888) 536-6628 for a free consultation.

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Our automobile Lemon Law Attorneys services to all Los Angeles County residents. We welcome inquiries from Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Fernando, Valencia, and all of greater Los Angeles. Our Los Angeles satellite office is available by appointment as litigation matters may warrant, including attorney-client meetings, depositions, and mediations. Our office is centrally located in downtown Los Angeles, and serves all of Los Angeles County including North County, East County, the South Bay, and Los Angeles County's rural communities.