Arbitration The hearing and determination of a dispute, especially an industrial dispute, by an impartial referee selected or agreed upon by the parties concerned
“As is” Selling “As is” is one which is sold with no warranty, such that the dealer and/or seller has absolutely no obligation to make any repairs, regardless of the vehicle’s condition
Brief A document containing all the facts and points of law of a case by which a solicitor instructs a barrister to represent a client
CLRA Consumer Legal Remedies Act prohibits vagueness, unfair business practices, and deception by declaring unlawful “methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or which results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer
Collateral Charges These are additional charges to a consumer that were incurred as a result of the acquisition of the vehicle.
“Comparable” Vehicle The manufacturer can replace the consumer’s lemon vehicle with one, which is either identical or reasonably equivalent.
Continuance The postponement of a hearing, trial or other scheduled court proceeding, at the request of one or both parties, or by the judge without consulting them. Unhappiness with long trial court delays has resulted in the adoption by most states of “fast track” rules that sharply limit the ability of judges to grant continuances.
Court Order A court order (or court ruling) is an official proclamation by a judge (or panel of judges) that defines the legal relationships between the parties to a hearing, a trial, an appeal or other court proceedings.
Declaration Refers to a judgment of the court or an award of an arbitration tribunal is a binding adjudication of the rights or other legal relations of the parties which does not provide for or order enforcement.
Defendant a person against whom an action or claim is brought in a court of law
Demand for Production a process of discovery whereby a party to the action makes a request that certain categories of or specific documents are produced that are in one way or another related to the lawsuit.
Deposition An important tool used in pretrial discovery where one party questions the other party or a witness in the case. Often conducted in an attorney’s office, a deposition requires that all questions be answered under oath and be recorded by a court reporter, who creates a deposition transcript. Increasingly, depositions are being videotaped. Any deponent may be represented by an attorney. At trial, deposition testimony can be used to cast doubt on (impeach) a witness’s contradictory testimony or to refresh the memory of a suddenly forgetful witness. If a deposed witness is unavailable when the trial takes place — for example, if he or she has died — the deposition may be read to the jury in place of live testimony.
Discovery A formal investigation — governed by court rules — that is conducted before trial. Discovery allows one party to question other parties, and sometimes witnesses. It also allows one party to force the others to produce requested documents or other physical evidence.
Expert a person who has extensive skill or knowledge in a particular field
Express Warranty A guarantee about the quality of goods or services made by a seller, such as “This item is guaranteed against defects in construction for one year.” Most express warranties come directly from the manufacturer or are included in the sales contract. If you want to hold the seller to an oral guarantee, it’s best to get it in writing or have witnesses to the guarantee so that it doesn’t come down to your word against the seller’s if a problem arises.
Incidental Charges Costs incurred by the consumer as a result of the defect(s) about which the consumer is complaining
Lemon Car A defective car that, when purchased new or used, is found by the purchaser to have numerous or severe defects not readily apparent before the purchase.
Lemon Law State laws that remedies to consumers for cars that repeatedly fail to meet certain standards of quality and performance. These cars are called lemons.
Letter of Notice to Manufacturer A written statement which describes the motor vehicle, the defect, and all previous attempts to repair such defect(s).
Magnuson-Moss Act The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is the federal law that governs consumer product warranties.
Mediation A dispute resolution method designed to help warring parties resolve their own dispute without going to court. In mediation, a neutral third party (the mediator) meets with the opposing sides to help them find a mutually satisfactory solution. Unlike a judge in her courtroom or an arbitrator conducting a binding arbitration, the mediator has no power to impose a solution. No formal rules of evidence or procedure control mediation; the mediator and the parties usually agree on their own informal ways to proceed.
Motion An application made to a judge or court for an order or ruling necessary to the conduct of legal proceedings
Odometer Rollback Occurs when the odometer of a used vehicle (which indicates the total miles the vehicle has been driven) is altered (or “rolled back”) to display a number that is lower than the vehicle’s actual mileage
Plaintiff The person, corporation or other legal entity that initiates a lawsuit. In certain states and for some types of lawsuits, the term petitioner is used instead of plaintiff.
Secret Warranty A car manufacturer will make repairs for free on vehicles with persistent problems, even after the warranty has expired, in order to avoid a recall and the accompanying bad press. Secret warranties are rarely advertised by the manufacturer, so consumers must pursue the manufacturer to discover and take advantage of them. A few states require manufacturers to notify car buyers when they adopt secret warranty programs.
Service Contracts (Extended Warranties) The consumer pays an additional amount to the seller or manufacturer for protections against product defects beyond those that are covered by the original express and implied warranties. In some cases a service contract may actually be an Express Warranty.
Statute of Limitations The legally prescribed time limit in which a lawsuit must be filed. Statutes of limitation differ depending on the type of legal claim, and often the state. For example, many states require that a personal injury lawsuit be filed within one year from the date of injury — or in some instances, from the date when it should reasonably have been discovered — but some allow two years. Similarly, claims based on a written contract must be filed in court within four years from the date the contract was broken in some states and five years in others. Statute of limitations rules apply to cases filed in all courts, including federal court.
Subpoena This is a court order issued at the request of a party requiring a witness to appear in court.
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) Are used to uniquely identify motor vehicles. Prior to 1980 there was not an accepted standard for these numbers, so different manufacturers used different formats. Modern day VINs consist of 17 characters that do not include the letters I, O or Q.
Warranty A guarantee given on the performance of a product or the doing of a certain thing.