Lemon laws are in place to protect consumers against unknowingly buying a vehicle with defective parts or major issues. They require manufacturers to repair, replace, or refund the vehicle when substantial defects are present. It seems like a cut and dry case, but you might be surprised at how difficult getting a manufacturer to fork over the cash can be.

All too many car owners think they can pursue a Lemon Law claim on their own instead of hiring an attorney, only to find themselves losing in court. What could be worse than losing your claim and being stuck with a lemon? Here’s why you should avoid a DIY Lemon Law claim.

1. The Attorney is Paid For

If you win your case, the Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to pay reasonable attorney fees as well. That means the cost of your legal aid is covered. You also won’t find any reputable California Lemon Law attorney charging upfront, they offer free case evaluations instead. So, it only makes sense to lawyer up.

2. The Extended Warranty Trap

Manufacturers routinely offer an extended warranty deal as their initial offer when a Lemon Law case pops up. It sounds attractive, but it’s a trick. You’ll end up waiving your rights to a lemon claim either by signing or when the statute of limitations expires during the extended warranty period. That could leave you with the same or new issues caused by substantial defects, now paid for out of pocket.

3. The Trade Out Trap

Another seemingly generous offer is to “upgrade” you to a new vehicle. Manufacturers will claim they’ll match MSRP to MSRP or option to option. In reality, you’re getting less of a newer model car with the price of your older model car, and you’re left with the bill for any comparable upgrades.

Under Lemon Law, you don’t have to pay a dime for any of that. The manufacturer has to replace your vehicle or refund it if they cannot repair it at no cost to you. This trick not only saves them money, but makes them money when you have to pay extra.

4. The Legal Process

Imagine walking into legal negotiations with solid proof of a lemon only to be met with cutthroat lawyers looking to squash your claim with their legal know-how and a judge who couldn’t care less. That’s what most DIY Lemon Law claims face. Even if the driver wins, they’re often duped out of the full funds they deserve.

Hiring a lawyer gives you the fighting chance you need to see the claim through and ensures that you get the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to under the law. With their knowledge of the law, you stand a better chance during the entire legal process.

5. Customer Service Nightmares

Some people pursuing a claim go through the wrong channel. If you take the advice of your manufacturer’s warranty, then you would begin a “claim” with their customer service department. This isn’t the same as filing a Lemon Law claim.

Soon, you’ll be getting the runaround while no one can seem to get the bottom of your issue or offer a solution. From one attempted repair to the next, they act like they’re working with you while they’re really just trying to satisfy you so you won’t open a lemon claim. Had you hired an attorney, you could have saved months of wasted time an energy.