If you’re ready to dive into the world of vehicle ownership, or you have a vehicle and think it is time for an upgrade, it is a good idea to be informed regarding auto financing. It is also worthwhile to understand the lemon laws of the state in order to be protected if the new vehicle you purchase ends up being a lemon.
Financing through the Credit Union of Texas (CUTX) means a significantly lower cost for Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP), which is also offered by dealerships but at a much higher rate. GAP covers the difference between your car’s depreciated value and your loan amount if your auto is stolen or totaled.
Another important fact regarding auto financing through CUTX is that a Vehicle Service Contract can be acquired, which can save hundreds for you, the auto owner, while providing the reassurance of 24/7 roadside protection and even rental vehicle assistance in case of a vehicle breakdown.
Finally, payment protection is an option, which means you are covered in the case of an unexpected life event like injury or illness or even involuntary unemployment. This is also important in the case of a tragedy where loss of life for the auto owner occurs.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Texas tells you they offer competitive fixed interest rates and the opportunity to apply online, which can be done in a matter of minutes.
Also, the bank informs potential auto buyers that repayment plans can be for terms from three years to six years and the payments can be made through an automatic debit from your current checking account.
The website even offers a simple guide for potential auto buyers to help you prepare for the world of car shopping and the related financing needs for such a big purchase.
In general, it is smart to talk to your preferred banking institution and have a good idea of your credit score before you head out to go car shopping. That way, you can understand the rates you may have to accept and the potential to be declined for financing when you are attempting to bring home a new vehicle.
Current credit scores can impact your rates through both your preferred banking institution and any financing done at the dealership. This may mean the timing isn’t right to pursue the purchase of a new vehicle. However, gathering the information means you are more prepared when that time comes. It also means you can gain a better understanding of what you need to change in order to become a new vehicle owner.
Texas Lemon Law
The Texas Lemon Law protects auto buyers within the state of Texas that find themselves dealing with a defect within the first 24 months of ownership – or, if you are commuting long distances, within the first 24,000 miles of travel in the vehicle. The vehicle must be covered by warranties from the dealership at the time or purchase, and the vehicle must be a car, truck, SUV or towable recreational vehicle, among others. Farm equipment is not covered by the Texas Lemon Law.
New vehicle owners who find themselves with a defect in their new vehicle should consider the following: does the defect impact the value of the vehicle? Is it an issue that puts the driver and passengers at risk when attempting to travel in the vehicle? Is the vehicle having issues to the point where it must be left to sit for multiple days?
If these questions are answered in the affirmative, then you are dealing with a vehicle that fits the lemon classification.
In that case, now is the time to begin documenting all attempts at repair, issues with the vehicle and time the vehicle spends inactive.
It is very important to take the vehicle to the mechanic and describe the defect the same each time. That way, there is no argument that the same defect is the focus of each repair attempt, even if the mechanic sees a different possible resolution by addressing the repair in a different way.
It is also important to keep all service reports to document the attempt – even if the mechanic does not find the issue during the visit.
Next, it is important to keep track of the time the vehicle sits idle and can’t be driven because of the defect. If the vehicle sits for 30 days or more (these don’t have to be consecutive) then it fits the lemon classification as outlined in the Texas Lemon Law.
Likewise, if the vehicle is taken to a mechanic or the dealership for four or more unsuccessful attempts to resolve the defect, then it fits the lemon law requirements.
As the vehicle owner, it is important to notify the dealership or manufacturer that a defect exists and multiple attempts have been made to resolve the issue, all to no avail. The best path to take when notifying said dealership or manufacturer is through written means and sending it via certified mail.
The Texas Lemon Law offers a method of complaint filing through the Texas Department of Transportation. A specific department there will look over the complaint. If they find it valid, they will attempt to assist with mediation between the vehicle owner and the manufacturer. Then, if that is not successful, a hearing will be scheduled. Both sides will have the opportunity to present their case at the hearing. A written determination will be provided to both parties, and they can choose to appeal if they find it unsatisfactory.
Meanwhile, there are one of three outcomes – determined by the individual who oversees the hearing – that the auto owner may receive if the vehicle is a lemon. Those include repair of the vehicle in question, replacement of said vehicle or repurchase of the vehicle at a rate that factors in miles driven up to this point.
The important point here is that there are options for recourse if a new vehicle is purchased and found to have a defect. It is wise to be aware of these protections in case this happens to you.