Owning a vehicle is a requirement for states like Texas, where it can be some distance from Point A to Point B and public transportation may not be available. For those who need that vehicle to travel to work or to get daily tasks accomplished, being saddled with a lemon vehicle can seem like an expensive and challenging problem. However, if you are the owner of a car, truck, SUV, motorcycle or electric vehicle that is covered by an original warranty from the dealership, there may be legal recourse. This means, instead of an expensive piece of metal that does you no good, you may be able to turn that back into a reliable vehicle in a timely manner.
Texas has laws in place to protect consumers who have purchased a faulty vehicle, commonly known as a “lemon”. These laws provide specific guidelines for how dealerships must handle lemon claims.
The Texas lemon law also requires dealerships to disclose any known defects in a vehicle before selling it. These laws can help provide peace of mind to consumers who may be worried about purchasing a lemon vehicle and not having any recourse.
In Texas, dealerships are required to handle lemon law claims in accordance with the Texas lemon law. This law applies to new vehicles that have been purchased or leased and have defects that substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.
To handle a lemon law claim, the dealership must provide the consumer with a written statement outlining their rights under the law, including the right to a refund or replacement vehicle. The dealership must also provide an opportunity for the consumer to have the vehicle repaired, and if the defect is not fixed after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle.
Additionally, the dealership must participate in an informal dispute resolution process if requested by the consumer. Overall, dealerships in Texas must follow specific procedures to ensure that lemon law claims are handled fairly and in compliance with the law.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law claim questions, click here.
If a vehicle has a substantial defect that affects its safety, value, or use, and the dealership can’t fix it after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer has the right to request a refund or a replacement vehicle.
In Texas, if you purchase or lease a new vehicle and experience persistent issues that substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety, you may be eligible for relief under the state’s “lemon law.” To file a claim, you must provide the manufacturer with written notice of the defect and a reasonable opportunity to repair the vehicle – this must occur BEFORE you file the complaint.
There are also several tests to determine if your vehicle will be considered a lemon. The first is the substantial defect test. In order to pass this test the vehicle defect must:
- Put the driver and/or passengers in danger when the vehicle is driven
- Significantly decrease the value of the vehicle.
Next is the 30 days or more test. In this test, the vehicle must sit for 30 days or more – not necessarily consecutively – with no replacement vehicle provided. These days must be within the first 24,000 miles driven or the first 24 months of ownership – whichever comes first.
The third test is the four or more repair attempts test. For this test, you must take the vehicle in for the SAME ISSUE four or more times, with no successful repair. It helps to have documentation of each attempted repair and have notes that indicate the repair is for the same issue each time. It helps to not describe it differently for each repair attempt.
Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form.
If the problem is not resolved and the vehicle has sat idle for a certain number of days, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle. You can seek assistance from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles’ Motor Vehicle Division. It is important to keep accurate records and documentation throughout the process.
If you are having ongoing issues with a new vehicle that you purchased or leased in Texas, you may be entitled to relief under the Texas lemon law. To obtain this relief, you will need to work with a qualified lemon law attorney.
The first step is to research and identify attorneys in your area who specialize in Texas lemon law cases. You can do this by searching online, asking for referrals from friends or family, or contacting your local bar association for recommendations. Once you have identified potential attorneys, you should schedule consultations to discuss your case and determine if they are a good fit for you.
During these consultations, be sure to ask about their experience, fees, and success rate in handling lemon law cases. Once you have selected an attorney, they will guide you through the process of filing a lemon law claim, negotiating with the manufacturer, and potentially taking your case to court. It is important to work closely with your attorney and provide them with all necessary documentation and information to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
A complaint can be filed through the Texas DMV website. Be prepared to pay the filing fee. Once that process is complete, the special department of the Texas DMV that oversees lemon law complaints assigns the case to a staff member. They go over documentation and then schedule a mediation session.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law complaint process.
At the mediation, both parties can attempt to reach a compromise regarding the lemon vehicle in question. It is a good idea to have a lemon law attorney with you for this session, as the dealer/manufacturer is known to try to intimidate you into taking a deal that isn’t always beneficial to you as the auto owner.
If the mediation isn’t successful, the next step is a hearing in front of an assigned examiner. Both parties have the chance to share their side of the story and discuss the proof they have available. The examiner then has 60 days to return a written verdict. This verdict can be appealed if it is found unsatisfactory.
The verdict can return one of three options for the auto owner, if it is found in their favor. Those options are:
For repair, the manufacturer is on the hook for the repair costs until the vehicle is no longer a danger to the driver. Also, they may be required to reimburse you for the previous unsuccessful repair attempts. However, while the payments made are considered for both replacement and repurchase, the miles driven also factor in. Meanwhile, the aftermarket add-ons you may have made do not count toward the vehicle’s value for these scenarios.
Working with an experienced lemon law attorney can streamline the complaint process, better prepare you for each step, and reduce some of the stress related to having a lemon vehicle on your hands. With this in mind, it is wise to both prepare yourself for a lemon law complaint and obtain a lemon law attorney to assist you as early in the process as possible.
This information brought to you by Allen Stewart P.C.