The state of Texas understands you need support in the event you get stuck with a lemon, a situation more than 150,000 individuals or families find themselves in each year.
Buying a vehicle in Texas should be a breeze. Figure out the one that fits your driving style, provides comfort, the right gas mileage and sufficient seating for your regular passengers, and once you drive off the dealership lot you should be good to go.
Unfortunately and all too often, that is not the case. Instead of a cheerful and stress-free ride into the sunset, you find yourself behind the wheel of a vehicle that has a significant defect. This defect not only severely decreases the value of your vehicle, but it also puts your life at risk whenever you get behind the wheel.
If the vehicle you purchased is an electric vehicle, motorcycle, RV, TRV, car, truck, SUV, or van, then you will have the potential to get help resolving the issue from the Texas DMV. The vehicle DOES have to be covered with an original warranty from the dealer/manufacturer, and you have to be within the first 24,000 miles driven or 24 months of ownership – whichever comes first in this timeline. However, if all of that sounds accurate, then it’s time to discuss the defect.
Keep in mind, we aren’t talking about issues with the electrical in the infotainment system or an A/C that doesn’t cool your vehicle, although both of those sound less than fun. These vehicle defects do not put your life at risk. Instead, they are minor inconveniences. However, many people find themselves saddled with these significant defects that can’t be easily repaired.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law questions, click here.
You see, that’s the second criteria of the Texas lemon law the issue is so severe that four OR MORE attempts to get it repaired by reputable professionals have been unsuccessful. Not only that, but you reached out to the manufacturer to make them aware of the defect you are dealing with, and they have made no attempt to make good on this issue you are throwing money at.
The next step is to determine how many days of the first 24 months you own the vehicle these issues have kept the vehicle idle. If you said 30 days or more, then we are dealing with a lemon vehicle. This period of time does not have to be consecutive; instead, it can be spread out over the course of the first 24 months. However, any day where an alternative vehicle was provided by the dealer/manufacturer/mechanic don’t count toward the 30-day total.
If you have been in touch with the dealership, the next step is to file a complaint with the Texas DMV through their lemon law complaint department. This can be done online, although a fee does need to be paid.
Once that complaint is filed, the department assigns staff to oversee it from beginning to conclusion. The staff arranges a mediation for the two sides. Attempts at resolution are made.
If that doesn’t work, the next step is a hearing where an examiner hears from both sides and then takes the evidence into consideration before returning a written verdict. This must be completed no more than 60 days following the hearing.
The decision can be appealed.
If the auto buyer discovers they won the case, they also will be informed whether the manufacturer will be responsible for replacing their vehicle with one of comparable value, repurchasing said defective vehicle, or repairing said vehicle to the standards expected of a vehicle that is less than two years old or has been driven less than 24,000 miles.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law process.
Who can help? A lemon law attorney can help you with this potentially complex process. Ask around to find one with considerable experience in the lemon law arena – specifically how many wins they have recorded when representing an individual in lemon law court.
A lemon law professional can take a look at your case and explain what they have learned from previous cases with the same manufacturer. They also can let you know any areas where they have seen struggle occur during the lead-up to the hearing in front of the examiner.
A lemon law attorney can also provide paralegals and other experienced staff to determine what documentation you need before filing your case, and they can look for any records that are available that can back up your assertion that you purchased a lemon vehicle.
The first thing to do is make sure you have let the manufacturer know that you are experiencing this issue with your vehicle. Also, you need to make it clear that you have taken the vehicle in for repair of the same defect four or more times with no success.
This must be completed within six months of the 24,000 miles driven or 24 months owned milestone. Once this is accomplished, it is easier to proceed with a case through the Texas DMV, because you have shown an effort to get the manufacturer involved and provide them with a “reasonable amount of time” to help get the defect repaired in a satisfactory manner.
Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form
Next, the complaint must be filed with all necessary documentation available.
From there, you await instruction from the staff at the Texas DMV. They will schedule the mediation for you. You attend the mediation, determine whether or not the manufacturer can be of help with this situation. Then, you either walk away satisfied or the case advances to the hearing stage.
All through this process, a lemon law attorney can help you avoid any nasty surprises or issues with the filing of the complaint or compiling of evidence.
The hearing will be the final step, unless an appeal is necessary. From the hearing, it depends on whether the case is found in favor of the manufacturer or auto buyer. If it is found in your favor, then the next step will be the manufacturer reaching out to determine the best way to deliver the monetary compensation or the new vehicle. Or they will arrange with you to have the defective vehicle brought in for repairs that will permanently resolve that defect.
This process can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be something you navigate on your own. There are plenty of successful lemon law attorneys who are willing and able to get you moving toward a successful resolution of the process.
A defective vehicle can be a big eyesore in your driveway and an even bigger hit to your wallet. However, the issues doesn’t have to overwhelm you. A lemon law attorney can work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. All you have to do is call.