Purchasing a new vehicle is an exciting time. However, if you end up with a lemon and can’t drive said vehicle, the fun ends quickly. If your vehicle isn’t operating as expected, it makes sense that you would be frustrated and unable to consider all of the possible factors in getting help to resolve the issue.
This is where lemon law myths tend to rear their ugly heads. These are stories or information that is incorrect and still commonly passed between auto owners. While someone you know may have gone through a lemon law complaint process before, it is far more likely they know someone who knows someone who…
You can see where this is going.
In order to get the most accurate information, it is a good idea to discuss your situation with a lemon law attorney. They are more likely to have firsthand experience with the lemon law complaint process and the Texas DMV that oversees that process. Staying out of the Texas legal system can be helpful in terms of time, but it can also make the process more challenging. It has its own timeline and series of expectations. Likewise, it has its own process for appeal if the case doesn’t go your way.
The Texas lemon law also has various considerations when it comes to compensation related to the vehicles. However, before we go too far into those details, let’s focus on the myths you may be hearing if you have told anyone you may have a lemon vehicle.
Here we address six of the most common lemon law myths we hear:
- Lawyers delay the legal process
This in fact may be true – but not how you would think. If the legal process is delayed, it can be because the lawyer is involved on your side and mediation does not resolve the situation. Mediation may sound like it could result in a positive outcome for the auto owner, but all too often the manufacturer tends to bully the auto owner into settling for far less than they could receive if the case proceeded through to a hearing.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here.
THIS is where a lemon law attorney could very well delay the process – primarily because their intent is to serve the best interest of the auto owner and not the manufacturer. Delaying can mean not having a resolution quickly, which ultimately could be good news for you, the auto owner.
- My dealer said I have no claim, so I am out of luck
The first thing to realize is that the dealer is watching out for their own bottom line. Therefore, they want you to believe there’s nothing they can possibly do. HOWEVER, that is far from the truth. If you have a vehicle that is within the first 24,000 miles driven or the first 24 months, the dealer is expected to help you deal with the repairs for significant defects.
You are required to let them know the situation exists and that repairs are so far unsuccessful (sometime during the four times test). They have to be given the “opportunity to assist with repair efforts” during that period.
- If my vehicle is a lemon, I can take it back to the lot and the dealer has to deal with it.
Similar to the fact the dealer can’t help you, they aren’t expected to take over the repair issues completely. You can’t just drop it off to them and wash your hands of it. Instead, you have to retain ownership and take the vehicle in for repairs. However, you are expected to contact them and let them know about the issue so they can help you resolve it.
They are not completely free of the repair effort, but at the same time, the ball isn’t completely in their court.
- My car has a serious issue, but the dealer can’t help me.
Never assume someone can’t help you. There are usually avenues that can be taken – it’s more about whether they are willing to. Like the two scenarios above, it is not a good idea to listen to what other people tell you.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law complaint process.
Instead, reach out to the dealer or manufacturer to let them know the defect exists. They may have a mechanic they can recommend or a process they follow when a vehicle has a defect that isn’t easily repaired. Either way, the communication is a key element later if you end up filing a lemon law complaint, so do the work now. (Don’t forget to keep records of your discussions with people at the dealership: Date, time, highlights of the conversation.)
- I can’t afford an attorney to help with my lemon law case
Even if you are down to your last dollar, there are still lemon law attorneys who may accept your case. It is important to reach out to various professionals in your area and find out if they require upfront payment of a retainer or if they are willing to be paid out of the compensation you receive if you win.
- You can work with any lawyer for a lemon law complaint
This is simply not true. While any lawyer may be willing to take your case (and this is also usually not the way it works), the experience of handling previous lemon law cases tends to fall in your favor. In other words, working with a lemon law attorney who has been through mediation and spoken at a hearing before means you have a wealth of experience and knowledge that you would not have otherwise.
A lemon law attorney also will have experienced staff who can do the grunt work and help track down important documentation or other information that is needed, while staff for a lawyer who doesn’t normally handle lemon law cases may not know what to look for to win the case.
Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form.
If your vehicle is eligible under the Texas lemon law, it is not a foregone conclusion that you will get help resolving your vehicle woes. The examiner can opt to rule in favor of either party. An appeal of that decision is permitted if the party feels it is necessary. In the event the examiner finds in favor of the auto owner, the options are repurchase of the faulty vehicle, replacement or repair.
Keep in mind that the vehicle value will be determined taking into consideration the miles driven, payments made on the vehicle and the current condition. It will not factor in any additional after-market parts you have added since it was purchased.
Also, it is important to note that the people who get to determine that are not the manufacturer or the auto owner. It is entirely up to the examiner.
The Texas lemon law is designed to make sure the auto owner is protected in the event that the vehicle is defective. Considering that 100,000 defective vehicles are discovered in the US each year, the odds are higher than one might think.
The good news is that you are protected in the event a defective vehicle ends up in your driveway. If you think that might be the situation you face, then reach out to a lemon law lawyer today to discuss your options.