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We handle cases across the United States. Allen Stewart is licensed to practice law in Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Arizona.

What all do lemon laws cover?

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Lemon laws are in existence for one simple yet frustrating reason: vehicles that are manufactured for a specific year’s release sometimes have defects. Those vehicles hit the dealership and are picked from the car lot of that year’s models.

You, as a new vehicle owner, drive home excited to have a reliable new ride to take you to work or for after-work drinks with friends. You know you need to pick up groceries and stop by the dry cleaners. These trips are accomplished, the vehicle is great and everything is right with the world.

However, as time goes on, you notice something isn’t right. Your vehicle is not running as smoothly as one would expect. So, you take it to a mechanic. The first visit goes well, and the mechanic says things are resolved. However, you drive the vehicle and soon realize the defect is still there.

So, now what? Well, the process usually involves more than one visit to the mechanic, usually days you can’t drive your reliable new vehicle, and a lot of frustration. Inevitably, you decide there is something significant wrong – something that poses a risk to your safety if you continue to operate this vehicle.

You reach out to the manufacturer and the dealer where you purchased the vehicle. If no one seems willing to help you, the frustration mounts and the vehicle defect remains consistent. You are not sure where to turn. However, you know the problem needs to be resolved.

For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law criteria questions, click here.

For those in Texas, there is a law and the Texas lemon law has specific criteria to show whether you will be a winner if you file a complaint and pursue restitution through the Lemon Law process.

The Texas lemon law is specific to those who live in the state and purchase their new vehicle within the state’s boundaries. If you purchased a new vehicle that is covered by original warranty from a dealer in the state, then the Texas Lemon Law may be your answer to the faulty vehicle you have sitting in your driveway.

The Texas lemon law does cover a specific set of categories when it comes to vehicles. This includes cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. It also includes RVs and Towable Recreational Vehicles, or TRVs. It covers motorcycles for those who prefer two wheels, and for those who prefer a more eco-friendly method of transportation, this law also covers electric vehicles.

The vehicle must show the defect within the first 24 months of ownership or 24,000 miles driven. The dealership and/or manufacturer must be notified in a manner that can be proven within this same 24-month or 24,000 miles driven timeframe.

Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form.

Given that the above is true, the next step for Texas auto buyers is to determine whether your vehicle’s defect meets the criteria for a vehicle to be repaired or replaced under the Texas Lemon Law.

In order for a vehicle to be considered a lemon in Texas, the following must be true:

  • The defect must significantly decrease the value of the vehicle
  • The defect must put the life of the driver at risk. Meaning, it must interfere with the vehicle’s operation in a significant way – it can’t be cosmetic or an auxiliary system that does not impact the vehicle’s driving performance.
  • It must be a defect that persists despite four or more visits to the service department or a reputable mechanic – all of which are clearly documented visits for the same purpose.
  • The vehicle must sit idle for 30 days or more within the 24 months or first 24,000 miles driven. If you as the auto owner receive a loaner vehicle from a mechanic while yours sits idle (or from the manufacturer), then those days do not count toward the 30-day total. However, the 30 days do not have to be consecutive in order to count toward this criteria.
  • The manufacturer must be notified within six months of the 24-months owned or 24,000 miles driven milestone for you as the auto owner.
  • The manufacturer must be given the chance to attempt to assist in having the vehicle defect repaired in a satisfactory way.

If the above fit the situation, then the next step is filing a Texas Lemon Law complaint.

In Texas, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles oversees the handling of complaints under the Texas lemon law. In fact, a special department of the Texas DMV is tasked with these complaints alone.

A complaint can be filed online. A fee must be paid and the complaint then goes to the Lemon Law Department for consideration.

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Cases that are deemed worthy have a meeting set up for mediation purposes. Both parties have a chance to work together to resolve the issue without further hassle.

If mediation is not successful, the next step is a hearing in front of an examiner who is employed by the Lemon Law Department of the Texas DMV. That examiner hears both sides and provides a written decision within 60 days of the hearing. Once that decision is provided, both parties have the chance to appeal.

Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law complaint process.

The examiner, if they find in favor of you the auto owner, also determine the best approach to resolving the issue. They can opt to have the manufacturer ensure the vehicle is repaired once and for all, or they can say the manufacturer has to replace the vehicle with one of comparable value or repurchase the vehicle from you and provide you the amount of money that is reasonable for said vehicle, based on the payments made and the miles driven during your time of ownership.

It is worthwhile to note here that any aftermarket additions are not taken into consideration for repurchase or replacement. Repair costs can be factored into the final amount for repurchase, and if repair is chosen, that amount may be a requirement for the manufacturer to cover for you as the auto owner.

Texas lemon law complaints require you to submit documentation and evidence that supports your explanation of the situation. In order to handle this in the most effective manner, it is wise to work with a professional that has experience in Texas lemon law cases. Working with an experienced lemon law attorney – preferably one that can speak to their success rate in the courtroom – can mean less stress and struggle for you both leading up to filing the complaint and also during the process.

Professionals who regularly handle lemon law cases can quickly determine what areas may need further documentation and have a staff that can help track down any necessary copies of information or help in notifying the manufacturer when necessary.

If your vehicle is showing an issue that can’t be repaired, now is the time to reach out to a lemon law lawyer.

This information brought to you by Allen Stewart P.C.

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