The allure of the open highway, the draw of reliable transportation that you own and can take pride in – these are some of the reasons you might bite the bullet and purchase a new vehicle. However, the issue arises when that new vehicle that is meant to be reliable and run smoothly has a defect that endangers the driver and severely impacts the value of the vehicle.
If you are unfortunate enough to be dealing with this situation, there is help available. The Texas Lemon Law protects you as a vehicle owner with a vehicle new from the dealership or manufacturer. The law clearly outlines the criteria to be considered a lemon in Texas.
If you reach out and find the right legal representation, that Lemon Law Lawyer can help you make sure you see the situation resolved efficiently.
First and foremost, it pays to know if your vehicle fits the categories covered by the Texas Lemon Law. A car, truck, SUV, motorcycle or RV are all covered. Likewise, the typical electric vehicle and towable recreational vehicle is also covered by the Texas Lemon Law, provided the defect that afflicts them fits the criteria set out. A used vehicle may be covered under the Texas Lemon law, but only if it is covered by an original warranty from the dealer or manufacturer where it was originally purchased. Vehicles that are sold “as is” on used lots are not covered by the Texas Lemon Law.
If you have a vehicle that fits one of the above categories and is covered under original warranty from the dealer or manufacturer, you can feel confident a lawyer can help you resolve the problem at hand.
Now, you have established your vehicle is on the list of those covered by the Texas Lemon Law. If you have a boat or farm equipment with a defect, now is the time to reach out to the manufacturer or dealer to see if they can help you in any way. The Texas Lemon Law does not cover these types of transportation. It is always a good idea to be aware of what is and isn’t covered when purchasing these expensive items, to protect your investment in the most financially savvy way possible.
Meanwhile, if you do have a vehicle that is covered under the Texas Lemon Law, it is time to buckle down and begin gathering documents to support your case. This is because it is time to begin considering a complaint through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The Texas DMV oversees the Lemon Law complaints filed through the website. They have a staff on hand to look through the complaint and then arrange for a mediation hearing – the first step in the process of negotiations with the dealer or manufacturer who sold you the defective vehicle.
However, we aren’t ready for that step yet. If you have hired the right Lemon Law lawyer, they are going to tell you that well before you file the complaint, there are steps to conduct to cover your bases. These include making sure your vehicle defect fits the following criteria:
• The vehicle has been taken to the service department four or more times for the same issue (it is important to describe the issue the same way, rather than try to guess what it may be at different appointments)
• The vehicle has sat idle for 30 days or more during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles you have had it
• The vehicle has a defect significant enough to endanger the driver and/or passengers and significantly decrease its overall value
• The issue has been reported to the manufacturer, along with the fact it has been taken in multiple times for repair attempts with no success, and they have had a chance to help you resolve the issue.
Now is a good time to mention also that it pays to keep all documents related to service visits, reports from those attempts to fix the issue and any proof (sending certified mail helps) that you have reached out and made the manufacturer aware of your ongoing defect.
If these steps have been taken, then the next step will be filing a complaint through the Texas DMV. Remember there is a fee associated with that filing.
From there, a mediation hearing will be set. Both sides will sit down and attempt to come to an agreement, with the help of Texas DMV staff.
From there, if the attempts are unsuccessful, then the next step is a hearing before an examiner, named by the Texas DMV to oversee your specific case. This is scheduled, both sides can plead their case, and the examiner has 60 days to provide a written decision. If that decision is unsatisfactory to either side, an appeal can be filed.
For those who have the case found in their favor, there are three potential outcomes to resolve the issue with the defective vehicle. One of the below options is chosen by the examiner, however, it is not left up to either the manufacturer or the vehicle owner to determine the best option for resolution.
The first option is repair – when the manufacturer covers the cost and makes sure the defect is actually fixed. They may be required to reimburse some costs related to previous repair attempts as well.
The next option is to replace the vehicle with one of comparable value – with consideration given to payments made on the vehicle but not to aftermarket alterations complete.
The final option is full reimbursement for the defective vehicle – again, this considers the miles driven but not the aftermarket work done on the vehicle.
The right Lemon Law Lawyer may be able to help you with issues with documentation or clearing up some vagaries in the complaint process. The right lawyer can also make sure you don’t skip necessary elements of the complaint process, thereby delaying your potential resolution.
A vehicle is meant to be a reliable way to get to work and home or run errands or grab groceries. Being saddled with a vehicle that is not reliable and can be putting your life at risk is a serious situation. It should be taken as such and all parties should work together to help find a suitable resolution.
For those who are prepared and keep documents and proof of the various repair attempts at the ready, this resolution should be well within reach.
It is wise to keep up with all recalls and news related to the specific make and model of your vehicle. That way, you are prepared in the event the issue is more widespread than just your vehicle. If the issue seems to be with just your specific vehicle, however, it will be worth the expense to retain a Lemon Law lawyer. They are able to direct you toward the best resolutions and help you with any necessary paperwork or processing steps. That way, you are more likely to reach a desired resolution.
Getting back on the road in a safe and reliable vehicle is a must. Having the right Lemon Law lawyer to help you get there is a great way to make it happen as quickly as possible.