Purchasing a new vehicle is a study of reviews, features, prices and budget constraints. A vehicle buyer in Texas that agrees to a purchase and drives a new vehicle off the lot expects that vehicle to be reliable and not carry a defect that both significantly reduces the vehicle’s value and puts the driver in danger.
If you happen to have a vehicle that is not reliable and has a defect that can’t be fixed, that is a lemon. In the US each year, around 1% of new vehicles sold, or 150,000 vehicles, turn out to be lemons. Luckily, as a vehicle buyer in Texas, there is protection.
For those who purchase their vehicle within the state boundaries of Texas, The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles oversees complaints under the Texas Lemon Law.
Those complaints require a $35 fee to be paid and a lot of documentation to prove your vehicle is a lemon. Likewise, it requires the vehicle ve defective and no reasonable solution be easily applied.
New vehicle owners in Texas rely on the rights protected by the Texas Lemon Law. This is because the reassurance of the law means that vehicles showing signs of a significant defect should be replaced for the owner – or at least repurchased by the manufacturer. A Texas vehicle owner does not have to see a yawning black hole of expenses and a useless vehicle that takes up lawn space as an expensive ornament. Instead, there is hope and a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Texas Lemon Law has specific criteria that are set out. Provided the vehicle meets said criteria, there are some options that can be determined as the outcome. The examiner that oversees the hearing (if mediation is not successful) determines whether the vehicle is repurchased, replaced or repaired. The replacement vehicle will be of comparable value, and the repurchase will factor in payments made and possibly include the money spent for attempted repairs that were not successful.
Repurchase considers the amount paid on the vehicle and the miles it has been driven. Be aware that any aftermarket additions are not factored into the final price paid. Meanwhile, replacement considers the same criteria and also leaves out the aftermarket additions made by the owner following the vehicle’s purchase.
Finally, the vehicle can be repaired, with payment made by the manufacturer. The vehicle owner may also be reimbursed for the previous repair attempts that were unsuccessful.
However, it must be noted here that the vehicle only meets Lemon Law criteria if it has been taken to a mechanic four or more times for the same issue with no resolution. Therefore, the option to have it repaired may mean continued hassle in an effort to see this resolution come to pass.
The vehicle also must be covered by the original warranty from the auto dealership and/or manufacturer when the defect is discovered (typically within the first 24 months of purchase or the first 24,000 miles driven).
The defect must be significant and put the driver’s life in danger. Also, it must be something that decreases the vehicle’s value.
It is necessary to let the manufacturer know the issue is ongoing and four or more attempts have been made for repair with no success. This is best done in a way that can be documented and shown to be fact.
It is also important to document any idle time when the vehicle cannot be driven. The vehicle is considered a lemon if the vehicle sat for 30 days or more with no loaner vehicle provided. These days do not have to be consecutive.
Vehicle owners in Texas don’t plan on ending up with a lemon vehicle. However, with such a high number of new vehicles sold in the US each year turning out to be lemons, the odds are something to keep in mind.
It is reassuring that, with the right criteria and proper documentation that the vehicle meets said criteria, a Texas vehicle owner is properly protected with potential for resolution to the issue.
The vehicles covered by the Texas Lemon Law are any that are purchased new from a lot or even used vehicles that are covered by the original warranty from the dealer or manufacturer. Meanwhile, the law covers cars, trucks, motorcycles, electric vehicles, SUVs, RVs and towable recreational vehicles. It does not cover farm equipment or trailers.
Texas vehicle owners who wish to have a vehicle replaced or at least reimbursement from the defective transportation model can be confident that issues will be resolved with the proper complaint process and corresponding efforts. The Texas Lemon Law allows for a more immediate address to the problem, rather than waiting for a day in the legal system in Texas.
In order to be properly covered, it is wise to compare vehicles and reviews, understand what vehicle you are purchasing and any potential problems with that type of vehicle in recent years. Next, make sure to have a mechanic take a look at the vehicle and be careful of any apparent defects with the vehicle before you drive it off the lot.
Avoid vehicles that are “as is” and do not come with a warranty. Likewise, understand that vehicles that are used may have issues you won’t immediately recognize.
Texas vehicle owners know that their choice to purchase in their home state gives them reliable protection in the event they prepare and shop carefully and still end up with a vehicle with a significant and notable defect.
Remember that even the Texas Lemon Law requires proper documentation of efforts to repair the vehicle, repeated attempts that are not successful and a mediation between the vehicle owner and dealer/manufacturer. If the mediation is not successful, a hearing is the next step with an examiner assigned, who then has 60 days to provide a written decision. That examiner is tasked with deciding the best way to resolve the issue if it is in the auto buyer’s favor.
Appeals are permitted by either party if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the hearing and the examiner’s written decision.
Texas vehicle owners are residents in one of only a few states that reassure the residents they are protected from cases where the purchaser is saddled with an ineffective purchase. Not all states have such a law to protect a vehicle owner.
While this is a streamlined process that may reduce time spent on the complaint, this does not mean the experience of a Lemon Law lawyer is not valuable. The fact that such a lawyer and their team handle these cases regularly means there is a greater chance of success the first time for the vehicle owner. It might be wise to consult a legal representative while attempting to gather the evidence for the claim. This might allow for greater success and will definitely provide for additional assistance in the variety of measures needed to prepare for such a case.
Lemon Law lawyers also may have advice to help with the process and will have time to devote to the case that you as the vehicle owner may not have. This frees up the vehicle owner to work or accomplish other tasks.