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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 “Lemon Policies” Mean for Consumers

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Car Breakdown jb

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates American car consumers unknowingly purchase 150,000 “lemon” vehicles a year. These “lemons,” vehicles with repeating unfixable problems, come from every automotive manufacturer including Ford, Honda, Chrysler, General Motors and many more. What makes these vehicles defective can include faulty components, substandard materials, manufacturing errors and poor design choices. When these problems make it past testing and into consumer vehicles, one thing is certain: it’s not the consumer’s fault. It is in fact the manufacturer’s problem, and their responsibility to fix it and make the consumer whole. When they fail at this, attorneys can use lemon law to force the issue and get compensation for their clients.

Many product manufacturers and service providers mention their “lemon policy” or “no lemon guarantee.” This is how they reassure customers if their product is defective or their service faulty that they will fix the problem at no cost to the consumer. Automobile manufacturers maintain their own no lemon policy with manufacturers’ warranties. These warranties state the manufacturer will fix any problem found in the vehicle that can be traced back to the manufacturing process itself. When the vehicle doesn’t perform as expected because of reasons not caused by driver error, the warranty states the manufacturer will make it right. When a problem arises, it makes the vehicle not “conform” to the warranty; this is why the manufacturer calls these problems “noncomformities.”

Nonconformities can range from minor or cosmetic issues that affect only the vehicle’s resale value (an unpleasant odor, rattling noises, problems with the radio or air conditioning) to problems creating dangerous operation or safety hazards (brake system failures, engine stalls, steering malfunctions or failing safety systems). Major or minor, all of these problems throw the vehicle out of conformity with its warranty and make the vehicle a lemon, violating any “no lemon guarantee.”

For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon policy questions, click here

Ideally, the manufacturer will hold to their lemon policy and fix the problem quickly or, as is sometimes required, replace the vehicle completely or refund the consumer’s purchase costs. If the manufacturer does not do this or doesn’t do so within a certain time frame, they violate state and federal lemon laws allowing the consumer to pursue legal action.

Each U.S. state has its own new car return policy better known as a “lemon law.” This car return policy outlines exactly how long a consumer has to notice a problem with their new car and return it to the dealership to report a problem to the manufacturer. Each state’s lemon law is backed federally by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 19785, which protects consumers across the United States when companies fail to live up to their end of their lemon policy.

U.S. laws have “statutes of limitations,” which are time limits for how long after an event legal proceedings can be started. The only exceptions are for exceptionally serious criminal claims. Statute time frames can vary from state to state, which makes it even more important to speak with a qualified lemon law attorney when pursuing a lemon law claim. Lemon law lawyers have the knowledge and experience needed to navigate state and federal laws adroitly to get the best possible outcome for your claim.

If you think you have been a victim of auto fraud, contact Allen Stewart. The consultation is free.

Texas automotive consumers must file a state lemon law complaint no later than 42 months from the date the warranty became active. However, if the consumer drives the vehicle 20,000 in the first year after the vehicle’s delivery, the consumer must need to file the Texas state lemon law complaint before the car traveled another 4,000 miles, even if that occurs before the expiration of the 42 months mentioned above. Texas consumers should always check with a lemon law attorney to determine the time remaining, if any, to file a Texas state lemon law claim, and whether they should still try to file a claim depending on their specific circumstances.

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Lemon vehicles in Texas must meet specific conditions before their owners can file a claim under lemon policy. Texas law has three such “tests:” the four times test, the 30 days test, or the serious safety hazard test.

A vehicle passes the four times test if it’s been taken to a dealership for repairs two times for the same problem or defect within the first year or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first, and twice more during the first 12 months or 12,000 miles following the first repair attempt without the problem being fixed.

A vehicle passes the 30-day test if it has been out of service for repair because of problems covered by the original factory warranty for a total of 30 days or more during the first two years or 24,000 miles of ownership without a comparable loaner vehicle offered, and there were two repair attempts during the first year or 12,000 without any success.

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

A vehicle passes the serious safety hazard test if the vehicle owner submits the vehicle for repair of a serious safety hazard once during the first 12 months of ownership or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first, and then once more during the 12 months or 12,000 miles following the first repair attempts without the problem being fixed. The Texas lemon law defines a “serious safety hazard” as any life-threatening malfunction that substantially impedes the driver’s ability to control or operate the vehicle normally, or that creates a substantial risk of fire or explosion.

One often-overlooked facet of the car repair warranty law allows consumers to take their cars elsewhere for repairs if they so choose, as opposed to taking it to the service center at the dealership from which they bought the vehicle. In fact, the manufacturer is legally barred from voiding your warranty if you have it repaired elsewhere. However, they may try to claim any problem arising later is a result of repairs done by outside technicians. Consumers should always keep detailed records of any and all maintenance and services done on their warrantied vehicle for this very reason.

The best way to ensure a satisfactory conclusion to your lemon law claim is hiring a lemon law attorney. Lemon lawyers know best how to make sure your claim meets the standards of state and federal car repair warranty law and will explain each step of the process to you. Your lemon law attorney will work with you throughout the claim, keeping you updated on your claim’s progress and requesting additional information or documentation when needed.

The lemon law attorneys of Allen Stewart P.C. have spent combined decades fighting for consumer rights in U.S. courts, winning just compensation for their clients when they are wronged by automotive manufacturers. They have a proven record of standing up for client rights and getting the best possible outcomes for them. Don’t wait any longer; contact Allen Stewart P.C. today and get back behind the wheel.

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