I can't afford to pay a lawyer. Can you still help me?
Yes! We use consumer protection statutes that make the defendant pay attorney’s fees and costs. This allows us to help all consumers, not just the ones who are able to afford an attorney.
When the California Legislature wrote the consumer protection laws, they recognized that many consumers cannot afford to pay an attorney thousands of dollars to get their money back. So, they made sure consumers could protect their rights by making the defendant pay the consumer’s attorney’s fees and costs.
We take all cases on contingency, and we bear the risk of loss. This means you pay us nothing up front. If you lose your case, you owe us nothing. Some consumer attorneys charge consumers for a portion of the case costs (e.g. filing fees, inspection fees, expert witness fees). We do not do this, because we believe that everyone should be protected from abuse by unscrupulous banks and car dealers, no matter how much money you have.
I've never sued anyone before. How does it work?
It depends on your particular legal injury. If your case involves a misrepresentation (lie) of some kind (e.g., lying about accident history, hiding a salvage title or rental vehicle status, forgery, or similar), we typically sue under a statute called the Consumer’s Legal Remedies Act. (starting at Civil Code Section 1750.) First, we write a Demand Letter on your behalf, requesting that the dealership take the vehicle back and refund your money. Sometimes a dealership does the right thing and immediately offers a refund, but if the dealership refuses to do so, we file a lawsuit.
If your case does not involve a misrepresentation, we immediately file suit. We use a large number of consumer protection statutes, including the Unfair Competition Law, the Automobile Sales Finance Act, the Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights, and others.
After the initial lawsuit is filed (called a “Complaint”), the dealership has a certain amount of time to respond. The lawsuit enters the “discovery” phase, where all parties exchange documents and other information. If your case involves a wrecked vehicle or has mechanical problems (or is a Lemon), we set up a vehicle inspection at a location near you. During the discovery phase, we may schedule depositions of the dealer employees, or send written discovery demands, or subpoena records. Many cases are settled during the discovery phase.
Once discovery is complete, the case proceeds to trial. The vast majority of cases settle long before trial. But, occasionally a dealer will decide to fight to the end. Trial of these types of cases typically takes 1-3 days, and a verdict is either rendered at the trial, or shortly after.
Most of our clients never set foot in the courtroom. If we take your case, we handle it from beginning to end on your behalf. You do not need to come to Court for the vast majority of the litigation. We gather most of the information about your case over the phone, by fax, by email, or by express mail. If we need your vehicle inspected, you would have to make it available for a few hours. In some cases, the defendant will want to ask you questions, under oath, about your case. This is called a “deposition,” and typically lasts a few hours. In the rare event that your case proceeds to trial, you would need to attend the trial, which typically lasts 1-3 days.