We as a society consider driving a right, not a privilege. Likewise, we feel stronger, free and independent when we get behind the wheel of our own vehicle. Therefore, when you buy a new car, truck or SUV – or a motorcycle or electric car – and are soon plagued with the uncertainty that a defective vehicle provides, you get concerned.
You feel cheated.
A lemon is a vehicle that has a significant defect – something that is more than a cosmetic issue or a problem with the infotainment system. A lemon is a vehicle with a defect that cannot be easily resolved by the service department, often despite multiple visits. The issue poses a significant risk to the driver and/or passengers and also significantly decreases the value of the vehicle.
The moment you realize that there is something wrong with your vehicle, and it can’t be easily fixed, start keeping records. It is important to understand that you need to keep proof that the issue exists, that multiple attempts have been made to repair it with no success, and especially that you have been in touch with the manufacturer to let them know the issue exists.
The Texas Lemon Law is your remedy for the situation if you are saddled with a lemon vehicle. This vehicle must be covered under original warranties from the dealer and/or manufacturer, and it must be within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles driven to be eligible.
The first consideration is whether the vehicle has been in for repair four or more times for that same defect, with no success. This needs to be clear from service reports and documentation for the various visits. It must show that the same issue was being addressed, with no success.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here.
Next, the vehicle has to sit idle for 30 or more days in the first 24,000 miles or 24 months – whichever milestone you see first in your journey of vehicle ownership. If the dealer or the mechanic provides a loaner vehicle, then those days do not count toward the tally of 30 days or more for your vehicle.
It is also important to make the manufacturer aware that the issue exists and that multiple attempts at repair have failed – preferably in a written form that can be documented as well. This will be important during the mediation process and later during the hearing, should it be deemed necessary. This notification must be made within six months after the 24-month mark or the vehicle has been driven 24,000 miles – whichever occurs first.
A complaint can be filed online. The Texas Lemon Law is overseen by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, and the complaint forms can be accessed via the DMV website. Once the complaint is filed and the fee paid, the staff of a special department take the complaint and assign it to an employee. Mediation is the first order of business, in the hope a resolution can be reached.
If the mediation is unsuccessful, then a hearing is scheduled. An examiner hears both sides of the case and determines the case in favor of one side. This decision is given within 60 days and is provided in a written form. If the decision is unsatisfactory, both parties have the option to appeal.
In the event that the auto owner is found eligible for compensation due to the lemon vehicle, then three options are possible. The examiner determines the best path for the case. This can be repurchase of the lemon vehicle, replacement of the defective vehicle with a vehicle of comparable value or repair of the defective vehicle to expected standards of safety and reliability.
Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form
The examiner determines the outcome, as noted above. They also can factor in money spent on repair attempts or payments made toward the vehicle in these outcomes. However, they do not consider any after-market additions that you have made while the vehicle has been in your possession.
The Texas Lemon Law is in place because nationwide, roughly 125,000 vehicles are sold each year that fall into the lemon category, which means they are unsafe to drive and unreliable to an extent that the value of the vehicle is severely decreased shortly after leaving the dealer’s lot.
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Driving is a necessary part of each day – whether it be to get to work, to grab dinner at a restaurant or fast food place, meet a friend for a walk or stopping for groceries, the ability to rely on the vehicle parked near your residence to get you from point A to point B is priceless.
This is not to mention the (probably considerable) payment you are making on the vehicle with the understanding that you will have reliable transportation for all of your day-to-day needs.
Problems with a vehicle can come in many forms. Once you get it home and experience it every day, you can start to hate the interior, the way the vehicle rides or the fact you have a bigger blind spot than you expected. However, hating your vehicle is one thing. Being unsafe behind the wheel is the last thing you should have to experience.
Luckily, the state of Texas understands this pain and frustration and has implemented its Texas Lemon Law, putting it under the purview of the Texas DMV, to protect its citizens.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law process.
Your car, truck, SUV, electric car, RV, Towable Recreational Vehicle, and motorcycle should be reliable vehicles that will transport you whenever and wherever you hope to go. This means that, given the warranties that are provided with the purchase of a new vehicle, you should not have to deal with it sitting idle so much during the first 2 years of ownership. Therefore, you must take action when the defect makes itself known.
Reaching out to a legal professional with experience and success in handling lemon law cases will go a long way toward giving you peace of mind and the support you need to handle this situation in a timely manner.
It stands to reason that you will be struggling to find a way to get to work, run errands and live your daily life as you wish. You don’t need the extra stress and hassle of handling a case like this on your own. Instead, consult a lemon law attorney and rely on them, with their experienced support staff, to give you the necessary extra assistance in putting together a winning case.
Ownership of a lemon vehicle is not on anyone’s list of hopes and dreams. However, if you find yourself the unfortunate victim of this circumstance, you will be reassured by the fact that an experienced lemon law attorney can help you through the process and help you see a resolution in an efficient and acceptable time frame.
There’s no time like today to sit down, figure out what concerns you have and where you might be in preparing for a Lemon Law case. Gather the evidence you have and start your search for an experienced lawyer to get the ball rolling on this situation, so you can get your vehicle rolling again soon as well.