The vehicle you recently purchased within the state of Texas, which is covered under an original warranty from the dealer, is defective. The defect in question puts your life at risk when you are driving it, and it significantly decreases the value of the vehicle.
When considering a lemon law complaint, it is a good idea to think about the lemon law presumption. The Texas lemon law presumes that a reasonable number of attempts have been given to the manufacturer or dealer to see the defect repaired. This is known as the lemon law presumption.
Each time you take your vehicle to the service departm
In order to see if your vehicle fits this presumption, consider the following tests. It is noteworthy that the tests must be passed within the first 24 months of ownership or 24,000 miles driven, although the mileage requirements do not apply to TRVs or other odometer-less vehicles.
ent, describe the defect and hope to get it back repaired and running smoothly, that counts as one instance of the four-times test. If you have taken your vehicle in for repairs four or more times (and described the same defect each time) and not seen any notable improvement, your vehicle passes the four times test.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law presumption questions, click here.
*It is a good idea to notify the manufacturer that this is an ongoing defect that has not been repaired, despite multiple attempts. This provides them the opportunity to step in before you file a lemon law complaint. If they have given this opportunity, document any communications and what was said. This helps address the situation during the complaint process, as it is required that you notify the manufacturer of the issue and give them a chance to provide assistance during the first 24,000 miles, 24 months of ownership, or the 6-month window following the first of these two milestones to occur.
Is the defect so significant that it causes significant safety concerns? Are you unsafe to drive the vehicle any distance? If this is the case, this stipulation is met. It is important to note that defects in the entertainment or heating/cooling are not considered safety hazards and therefore do not qualify the vehicle as a lemon.
Has the vehicle sat idle for 30 days or more during the first 24 months of ownership or 24,000 miles (whichever occurred first?)? If so, then it qualifies for this stipulation. HOWEVER, it is important to note that any day where a loaner vehicle or alternative transportation was provided do not count toward this 30 day total.
The 30 days do not have to be consecutive to count for this stipulation. Only the total idle days must occur within the first 24,000 miles driven or the first 24 months of ownership.
Here’s a good time to ask: is your vehicle a car, truck, SUV, RV, TRV, electric vehicle, motorcycle, or minivan? Was it purchased with an original warranty from the manufacturer/dealer?
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law complaint process.
Are you within the 24,000 miles or 24 months – or within six months after the earlier of these two milestones?
Was your vehicle purchased within the state of Texas, or are you an active member of the military stationed in the state? These ensure the lemon law applies as well.
If one of these is a yes, we are still on the right track. Now, it’s time to dig a little into the specific expectations of the law.
How does the lemon law presumption impact your case?
The manufacturer or distributor – or one of their agents – must have been given a reasonable number of attempts to fix the defect, with no satisfactory resolution, for the presumption to be applied.
This is where the four times test comes into play. If you have made this effort and attempted the same repair on multiple occasions, then your vehicle may be considered a lemon.
With this in mind, and if the other criteria are met for your vehicle to be a lemon under the Texas lemon law, then you can proceed with your lemon law complaint.
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The process begins by filing the complaint with, and paying a fee to, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Once that is complete, the case is assigned to a staff member.
The first order of business is to schedule a mediation between the two sides, in the hope situation can be resolved satisfactorily. If that goal is not met during the mediation, then the case advances to a hearing in front of an examiner.
The examiner hears the case for both sides and then has 60 days to return a written decision. That decision can be appealed.
However, if that decision finds in favor of the auto owner, then three options are available. The examiner is the one who chooses the option best suited to the case – there is no input option for the auto owner.
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The options are replacement, repurchase, or repair. The replacement vehicle is one of comparable value, with a consideration made based on the miles driven. There are no considerations for the aftermarket additions made to the vehicle by the auto owner.
Meanwhile, the repurchase option also factors in the payments made on the lemon vehicle thus far. However, that likewise does not take into account aftermarket additions to the vehicle.
Finally, if it is deemed reasonable to expect this to resolve the situation, repair of the lemon vehicle can be chosen as the way to resolve the case.
All of this is at the expense of the manufacturer. Likewise, the attorney fees for you as the auto owner can be covered by the manufacturer, based either on the settlement and your lawyer’s negotiation or the sliding fee provision.
The option to go through a lemon law complaint process speeds up your timeline for resolution, compared to going through the state’s legal system.
Likewise, it provides a streamlined decision from an experienced examiner. This way, you can be sure the criteria are met and your vehicle is replaced, repurchased, or repaired in the event it is determined to be a lemon.
Your lemon law attorney is a good resource throughout this process. They can help provide support staff to gather information prior to filing the complaint. They can also share insights to any potential information you didn’t realize you needed to include but they have seen asked for in previous cases.
Likewise, you can trust them to share insight into the specific dealer or manufacturer if they have prior experience with them. Failing that, they can share what they have seen happen with cases that were similar to yours, so you have an idea of what may occur with your own case.
An experienced lemon law attorney can make sure you don’t settle for less than you deserve in a lemon law case, helping to push through mediation if the manufacturer is trying to get away with no financial responsibility.
Get in touch with an experienced one today, and then you can be sure you have the right support to get through the process effectively and hopefully with a resolution that finds in your favor.