Let’s set the scene: You find the perfect vehicle at the dealer. You negotiate for a deal you can handle and a monthly payment that still lets you stop at Starbucks twice (or more) a week.
You leave happy and turn up the tunes as you drive home. Fast forward six months, and your perfect new vehicle is defective – there is an issue that puts you at risk and tends to leave your vehicle sitting idle while you find an alternate way to get to work and to get the groceries home on a weekly basis.
You are frustrated. You are, however, happy that you live in Texas, since that means your vehicle is covered under the Texas lemon law. Your car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, RV or electric vehicle will be replaced – provided you can prove it fits the lemon law criteria.
Each state has a lemon law. However, each has certain criteria and information that will be required. Therefore, it is a good idea to know what you are up against when you have a defective vehicle on your hands. Gathering the information and being prepared before the complaint is filed will be helpful in the long run.
Your vehicle must be covered by an original warranty from the dealer/manufacturer.
Your vehicle must have been taken to a mechanic four or more times to have the same issue fixed, to no avail. Written documentation of this is very helpful to have.
You have to notify the manufacturer that said defect exists and give them a chance to have the defect repaired (again, documentation of this attempt is valuable).
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law Buyback questions, click here.
The vehicle must sit idle for 30 days or more within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles – whichever milestone comes first for your defective vehicle.
If these criteria are true, then the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will oversee mediation and a hearing, if necessary. The examiner who presides over the hearing will give a decision within 60 days, which will be provided in written form and can be appealed.
For those who have the hearing found in their favor, there are three options: repair, repurchase or replacement. Repurchase or buyback is financial restitution for the lemon, while replacement is when the manufacturer provides a vehicle of comparable value to the lemon owner.
What you need to know:
For either a buyback or a vehicle replacement, there are certain things that are taken into consideration and things that aren’t.
Things that are considered:
- Miles driven since purchase
- Payments made to date
- Payments made on failed repair attempts
Things that are NOT considered:
- Aftermarket parts or additions
Therefore, both of these provide an equal consideration to replace the vehicle that is defective.
Benefits of a vehicle replacement
The main benefit of a vehicle replacement is immediate transportation. While the defective vehicle wasn’t reliable and a check to repurchase the lemon vehicle is a means to an end, the replacement vehicle will (hopefully) have you back on the road immediately. That is provided that vehicle doesn’t have issues.
The manufacturer is tasked with providing a vehicle that is of comparable value. Therefore, you should have a lot of the features and definitely the safety and reliability you sought when purchasing the original vehicle.
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The downside of a replacement vehicle is that it might not have the exact features you were looking for at the time of original purchase.
The benefits of buyback
When the manufacturer is directed to repurchase the lemon vehicle, they have to provide an amount that takes into consideration the cost of the vehicle and payments made to the loan (as mentioned above).
However, a check does not have four wheels and a windshield. Therefore, it could take some time once the check is deposited for the money to become available. From there, you are tasked with a new search for a reliable vehicle.
This could lead to additional costs, like time off work and/or rental fees for a vehicle to transport you both to work and to search for your new ride. This is why it is important to consider all of the benefits and the downside to the options presented.
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Depending on the amount of time it took you to buy the lemon vehicle, this may seem like a daunting task. It is not ideal. However, it can be beneficial in that you are the one deciding on features and cosmetic details. These will not be a primary factor when the manufacturer is attempting to find a vehicle of comparable value.
The benefits of both a buyback and replacement vehicle is that the defective vehicle is taken by the manufacturer and is out of your hands. The repair option requires the manufacturer to have the defect repaired so it is no longer an issue.
All three options may take into account the money spent attempting to have the defect repaired previously. This, again, is where documentation of those costs come in handy.
The Texas lemon law allows for complaints to be filed through the Texas DMV website. The Texas DMV has a special department that handles these complaints. This issue then does not require time in a courtroom and navigating a lengthy court process.
Instead, it can allow you to see resolution in a timely manner.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law process.
The complaint can be filed online, and once the fee is paid, the process begins.
Vehicle owners who are stuck with a lemon are struggling with frustration and uncertainty. They may not be aware of the various elements of information needs to make the process move along smoothly. This is why a lemon law attorney is a valuable asset to have for these proceedings.
You can hire a lemon law attorney, whose experience and staff will be valuable to you and help decrease your stress levels. It will also help you avoid missing a small detail that could make the difference in the success of your case.
Preparing for a hearing can be a time-consuming process. This is another area where the help of a lemon law attorney can make a significant difference. They know what to do and in what order, which can cut down on that tie.
For those who are not sure, consider the options between a satisfactory ending where you have a new vehicle without further impacting your bank account and a situation where you continue to be saddled with a lemon vehicle and need to find a way to get safely to and from work and play.
Seeking help with the lemon law Process is a smart move. While the staff at the Texas DMV may be able to help with questions regarding small points of the process, it is still smart to hire the attorney that can answer those questions and handle the ones you didn’t think about asking.
The experience here is a valuable commodity that will impact the outcome of the case. Therefore, you want to contact a legal professional as early as possible when you are starting the journey of a Texas lemon law Complaint.
Today’s phone call to get the ball rolling with a lemon law attorney could save significant time down the road. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone today.