Your vehicle is newly purchased from the dealership, with an original warranty. It has not been driven 24,000 miles yet (or you haven’t had it 24 months). Either way, your vehicle has a significant defect and it’s a lemon. So now what?
Well first of all:
- Is your vehicle a car, truck, SUV, minivan, motorcycle, RV, TRV, or electric vehicle?
- Does the defect significantly impact the vehicle value and put your life at risk while driving it?
- Have you taken it in for four or more attempts to fix THE SAME PROBLEM? With no success?
- Is there documentation you notified the manufacturer of this ongoing problem?
- Has the defect caused your vehicle to sit for 30 days or more during the first 24,000 miles driven or 24 months you have owned it?
- Is it covered under a warranty from the dealership?
- Was it purchased in Texas?
If you can say yes to all of the above questions, then you are on track to have a lemon vehicle, which means you have recourse through the Texas lemon law. This law is overseen by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
In order to prepare to file a Texas lemon law complaint, you need to have the following documents handy.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law case process questions, click here.
- All repair receipts. – ANY visit to the service department, even if they did not charge you for that visit, is relevant to this case. You need to show for your complaint that the efforts have been made – to no avail.
- Any documents outlining repair visits where there was no charge – as noted above, the number of times you have taken the vehicle in to have the defect repaired are relevant, even if there were no charges for that visit. This is related to the 4-times test.
- Original warranty from dealer – this is necessary to show the vehicle was purchased within the right timeframe and that it is covered by a warranty (something required to be considered a lemon under the Texas lemon law).
- Documentation of the sale of the vehicle – again, this sets up the timeframe since purchase.
- Evaluation of the defect in a clear manner that shows the concern for the driver’s safety and the decrease in vehicle value
- Documentation of the various days the vehicle was not drivable – this helps prove it meets the requirement of the 30 day test, where the vehicle sat idle for 30 days or more and no loaner vehicle was provided.
- Any proof of notification of the manufacturer that the issue existed (this is why certified mail is a good option to handle that notification).
- Any communication with the dealer and also the repair shop
- Documentation of expenses that occurred due to the defect – towing bills, travel expenses, i.e. Lyft or Uber trips
- Timeline of any accidents the vehicle was involved in – this can show you that your vehicle was operating reliably at one point -and the defect that is not repairable is not due to these accidents.
- Documentation of regular maintenance visits, expenses related to other maintenance on the vehicle
So, now we have an idea of the documentation necessary to prove your case. However, what if you missed something?
Working with a lemon law attorney
If you haven’t gathered all of the above documentation, or even if you have, working with a lemon law attorney is a good way to make sure you are fully covered before you file the lemon law complaint.
A lemon law attorney brings experience, support, and general knowledge that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to to a lemon law case.
You can be reassured that they will know what potential roadblocks can pop up and how to avoid these potential concerns.
The lemon law attorney can share his or her case wins from the past, and anything they learned from each of these wins. They can help you with support staff that will be extra hands to help with documentation gathering and organizing.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law complaint process.
They will know the manufacturer’s tricks or tactics to get you to drop the case or walk away with a much smaller compensation than you are owed. They can prepare you for all of this and then help you navigate to avoid any concerns.
A lemon law attorney can prep you for both mediation – the first step in the lemon law complaint process – and the hearing in front of an assigned examiner. The hearing comes when mediation inevitably does not work out.
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During the hearing, both sides can share their information regarding the situation. A lemon law attorney can make sure you are prepped for any questions or concerns. The examiner hears both sides and then has 60 days to provide a written decision.
That decision can be appealed by either side.
Once the decision is provided, if it is in your favor, there are three possible options. The option for resolution for your case will be decided by the examiner and will be included in the written decision.
The first option is replacement of the vehicle with one of comparable value. The miles your vehicle has been driven will factor into this, as will any payments made on the lemon vehicle. One thing that won’t factor in, however, is the addition of any aftermarket parts.
Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form.
The next option is to have the manufacturer repurchase the defective vehicle. This gets it off your hands and returns the money you have made in payments and may include any money spent on the unsuccessful repair efforts. This one, again, takes into consideration miles driven but not aftermarket additions to the vehicle.
The manufacturer will be required to get a title designating the vehicle as a lemon. This helps any future buyers avoid the same issues you faced with this vehicle.
The final option is to have the vehicle repaired at the expense of the manufacturer. This option may also require them to repay you for previous unsuccessful repair attempts for this defect.
It is important to note that this decision is made by the examiner. It is not made by the manufacturer or auto owner, and it is not a result of discussion or negotiation.
Reach out to a lemon law attorney now and get help in gathering the documents needed to file a lemon law complaint. Once you have the documents, the complaint can be filed online via the Texas DMV website, and the process can be set in motion. Don’t let yourself be stuck with an expensive lawn ornament for any longer than you have to be.
You have already been fighting to get the vehicle repaired and struggling to find reliable transportation in the meantime. Get your family and your daily life back on track with help from an experienced lemon law attorney.
Also, if you are close to the end of the deadline (24 months owned or 24,000 miles driven), make sure to make that call today. This is a specific window that must be followed in order to win your lemon law case. Missing that window can mean you do get stuck with that expensive lawn ornament long term, and that can affect your life for years to come. Now is the time to get moving and avoid those potential concerns and issues.