Today’s vehicles are modern marvels: you can stay cool and enjoy your favorite podcast, music or book while traveling across the great state of Texas. They can seat up to eight, depending on your preferred vehicle. With RVs, that journey can extend across the lower 48, taking you on fun adventures.
Your daily commute to work or your quick run to the convenience store or farmer’s market are quick and painless. You have your foot on the pedal and you navigate traffic. The biggest issue you face is when to get gas and whether you should buy a candy bar at the gas station while you’re there.
Vehicle ownership is a rite of passage, it is a measure of your independence and your satisfaction with your life. Unlike in other countries, Texas is a state where owning your own vehicle is more than a luxury – it is a necessity.
However, not everyone ends up with a reliable vehicle that can be trusted to carry you and your loved ones to parts unknown. Some vehicles can’t be trusted to run to the store for milk. These vehicles are lemon vehicles, and around 100,000 are sold EACH YEAR in the US.
If you are dealing with a vehicle that has a significant defect that makes it impossible to drive safely, that has sat idle for 30 days or more since you bought it, and that has defied repair despite four or more trips to the mechanic, congratulations on your lemon.
I know. No one wants to have it confirmed that they are paying good money for a vehicle that can’t be relied on for day-to-day transportation. Most people would prefer to hear anything other than that. So, what do you do if you have a lemon on your hands?
If you’re in Texas, you file a complaint through the Texas lemon law.
The Texas lemon law is in place to protect auto buyers in the state of Texas that purchase a vehicle with an original warranty from a dealer or manufacturer. If that vehicle – within the first 24 months of ownership or 24,000 miles driven – begins to exhibit signs it has a defect and is dangerous to drive, you may have a lemon.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law attorney questions, click here.
Lemons come in all shapes and sizes (at least when it comes to the Texas lemon law). Lemons can be cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, RVs, motorcycles, electric cars, and TRVs. These vehicles can be any color, trim package and can be hybrid or run on diesel or gasoline.
The devil is in the details when it comes to the Texas lemon law, and your attorney is the best one to help deal with that devil. They should be experienced in these cases and be able to hear your story and give you a strong idea of what’s to come.
What do you need when it comes to arbitration for the Texas lemon law?
First and foremost – you should consult a lemon law attorney. Their experience and the availability and experience of their staff can go a long way toward reducing your stress and struggle during an already difficult period of your life. No one likes to be saddled with a vehicle they can’t drive (and many times are still making payments on).
So what else do you need for arbitration?
- Documentation of all repair attempts
- Some type of proof you attempted to let the manufacturer or dealer know the issue existed.
- A vehicle that meets the criteria for the 30 days test: Has your vehicle sat idle for 30 days (not necessarily consecutive ones) when you were NOT PROVIDED a loaner vehicle to drive in its stead? If so, you are on the right track.
- Is your vehicle defect such that the vehicle value is significantly decreased and your life is at risk to simply drive the vehicle? If you answered yes, we are 2/2.
- Does your vehicle continue to exhibit the defect despite four or more attempts to repair the vehicle? If so, your vehicle fits the criteria for the lemon law in Texas.
- Filing fees: There are filing fees associated with filing a complaint online through the Texas DMV website.
Your attorney will be able to help you with next steps. Hopefully you are gathering any testimonials from the mechanics or other pertinent evidence to help show you have tried to get your vehicle fixed with no success. You need to be ready to fight, because in most cases this will be a challenging process. However, it does not have to make its way through the regular legal system – which is a plus.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law complaint process.
The process will begin with a session for mediation. This allows the two parties to meet and discuss the issue before the case is advanced to a hearing. Make sure your attorney has all pertinent information in hand and be ready to be disappointed. Most manufacturers and dealers attempt to get out of a case during mediation – with the minimal impact to the business.
If you are hoping for a resolution in your favor, it is probably best to let the case be escalated to the hearing stage. In this scenario, an examiner hears evidence from both sides and determines the winner of the case. If you as the auto buyer are the winner, then there are three possible outcomes: reimbursement, replacement or repair.
Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form.
As you may assume, repair involves the vehicle in question. The manufacturer is required to foot the bill for repair that actually resolves the defect. Also, they may be required to repay you for previous unsuccessful repair attempts and the bills attached to them.
The next option is reimbursement – which is repayment of repair bills, the cost of the vehicle and payments made. This is adjusted based on miles driven.
The final option is replacement, where a vehicle of comparable value is provided to you, and the manufacturer is required to take back the lemon vehicle and designate it as such on the title. In this case, some repayment of previous payments and/or repair bills may be required as well. For this option, the miles driven in the defective vehicle are taken into account when it comes to determining the value of the replacement vehicle.
Many manufacturers are not going to want to admit there is an issue with their vehicle. This can set a precedent that may cost them a significant amount in the future. Therefore, it is wise to work with an attorney who can help you move in the right direction with your case. Hopefully, that direction is one that involves getting the defective vehicle out of your driveway and a suitable vehicle there in its place.
For you, the issue is about the vehicle and not having reliability and safety. For the manufacturer, the issue revolves around the hit to their bottom line and revenue for future vehicles in that same model line. Therefore, it is personal for you. Your attorney understands that and can make sure you are prepared for the case and all possible outcomes. They have the experience to say what may be the likely result. This can help you in a number of ways, not the least of which is navigating the unknown of having a lemon vehicle in your possession.