American car consumers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, inadvertently purchase 150,000 vehicles every year with repeating, seemingly unfixable defects. These “lemon” vehicles make their way to the dealerships of every major auto manufacturer including Honda, Ford, Toyota, General Motors and more. Regardless of whether shoddy workmanship, substandard materials, or faulty components caused the problem, it is the manufacturer’s duty to fix it. These defects cost American consumers millions every year in lost wages, alternative transportation costs, towing fees and other unexpected expenses when their new car breaks down; not to mention potentially putting the consumer in danger if the defect involves a critical safety system.
Lemon laws protect Americans when auto manufacturers fail to uphold their end of the written warranty. Each state has its own lemon law variant for vehicles purchased within its borders. At the national level consumers are protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975. Lemon law attorneys use these laws to help consumers get the compensation they deserve.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here.
The key part of that statement is “written warranty.” Many consumers ask if the lemon law applies to the purchase of all automobiles. Lemon law applies to vehicles still protected by the original manufacturer’s written warranty. This almost always excludes used vehicles, as they are usually resold long after the original warranty expires. This holds true in Texas, as the Texas Lemon Law specifically covers vehicles bought and leased while under the protection of the original factory warranty.
Lemon law attorney Andrew Ross of Allen Stewart P.C. said the vehicle’s original written warranty is the basis on which a lemon law claim rests. Any problem occurring after that warranty expires becomes much harder to pursue a claim over.
“If a consumer is hoping to force the manufacturer to repurchase or replace their used vehicle, the Texas Lemon Law is not going to help the consumer achieve their goal,” Ross said. “The only relief that may be afforded is that the consumer may be able to force the manufacturer to repair the problems experienced in the vehicle.”
Ross said used car consumers may be able to find relief under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, but reiterates the manufacturer’s written warranty protection remains paramount.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law process.
“The Warranty Act allows consumers to seek financial relief from the vehicle’s manufacturer after the manufacturer has failed to repair the vehicle within a reasonable number of attempts or after having a reasonable opportunity,” Ross said. “As long as the consumer complained to the manufacturer (through its authorized dealerships) of the problems while the issues were still covered under the manufacturer’s original warranty, the consumer may be entitled to relief under the Warranty Act.”
Some used car retails offer “extended service contracts” when selling used vehicles, however the Texas lemon law doesn’t apply to them. However, if you purchased a “certified pre-owned vehicle” you may have a valid claim. It’s important to to keep all purchase records as well as any and all maintenance records in case you have to pursue a lemon law claim. Those documents form the foundation of any claim and will help your lemon law attorney immensely.
Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form
Does the lemon law apply to the purchase of all automobiles? That’s a more complex question than you may realize. The lemon law attorneys of Allen Stewart P.C. can help you simplify it. When the manufacturer fails to uphold their end of the written warranty, ASPC’s lemon law lawyers go to work building a claim to get you best possible return and compensation for time and money you lost. Time is a factory and the longer you wait the harder your claim is to pursue so don’t delay; contact Allen Stewart P.C. today.