Texas Lemon Law: 5 Steps to File a Lemon Law Claim and Replace a Faulty New Car

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A woman waits for assistance with her car broke down on the road side, after calling for help

So you just bought a new car only to find out that it has a ‘non-fixable’ fault! It is natural to feel disappointed and confused about what next to do. But you really shouldn’t be, because, with the provisions of the Lemon Law Texas, you can get all the help that you need to get the problem solved.

The purpose of all consumer protection laws, such as the Lemon Law, is to create confidence in the market place by eliminating gross fraud and unfair warranties.

The existence of substandard products has negative impacts on both the consumer and manufacturer. The consumer spends so much on such products without getting any form of user satisfaction. Likewise, the manufacturer often stakes their reputation on the performance and reliability of such products whose fault may be due to an unintentional factory error.

Therefore, lemon laws protect both sides by clearly defining what constitutes a lemon and how consumers can be compensated for defective products.

In this guide, thelawaroundhere have outlined important details that will help you have a clear understanding of the Texas Lemon Law.

What is lemon law?

The Lemon Laws are a specific subset of broad consumer protections that specifically deal with problem vehicles. This law comes to play when a new car for some reasons does not perform as it should and no amount of repairs seem to fix. With all the cars that are manufactured, some are inevitably plain bad and do not meet expected standards.

The federal lemon law enshrined in the Uniform Commercial Code offers consumers the right to a refund or replacement of a lemon (a car that has proven to be beyond repair).

It is important to note that the legal definitions of lemon are crucial to finding protection under the law. Lemon in this context is defined as “any new vehicle that has a substantial problem not fixed in a reasonable number of attempts, or that has had several days out of service.” Because the federal code does not define exactly how long a car is “new,” or the number of days it must be out of service, most actions under the Lemon Law rely on state laws, which can vary considerably. Most, however, use the amount of time since the vehicle was purchased and its mileage, to determine “newness”.

How does the lemon law work?

Lemon laws put the onus on the seller to identify any condition of the vehicle that could affect its operation, safety or value. If this is done, and a buyer accepts the vehicle “as it is”, the seller is thereby exonerated of any responsibility. But if the buyer has not been specifically informed in advance of the condition of the vehicle, the Lemon Laws outlines the processes by which disputes can be resolved. Resolutions are either by bringing the vehicle online with an express warranty, replacement, refund, or resort to some other form of arbitration.

A reputable broker is meant to compensate the buyer in one of these ways when a lemon is identified, if not the buyer could be forced to pursue the case in court.

How do I start filing a Lemon Law claim?

There are five basic steps to set the process in motion, they are:

  • First, the car buyer must keep proper documentation of the vehicle’s problems and all the attempts they make to repair or resolve the problem. This information includes notes of all conversations with the dealer or mechanic, including dates and times. Other requisite document includes copies of the warranty, owner’s manual, and service records. The more complete the paper trail detailing the situation, the more likely it is that the Lemon Laws can be evoked to provide relief to the consumer.
  • The next step is to make a duplicate copy of all the documents needed for the filing.
  • Other forms of vigilance, such as reading consumer news and site reports to see if other buyers have had similar issues, can help put the appropriate pressure on the responsible parties.
  • Try to take advantage of the manufacturer’s internal dispute resolution system (if any). Such can be found by writing to the manufacturing company or using the “Contact Us/Support”.
  • If the manufacturer’s informal dispute resolution fails or does not satisfy you, the next step is to file for the lemon law claim in court. With the help of any good attorney in lemon law or a local consumer advocate, you can be helped to file an effective lemon law claim. The State Bar of Texas provides a comprehensive profile of competent attorneys that can help you out. Alternatively, you can inquire from TexasLawHelp for free or low-cost legal assistance.

Are used vehicles covered Under Texas Lemon Law?

The very simple answer is ‘No’! Section 2301.603 of the Texas Occupations Code deals with the Regulation of Motor Vehicles and Transportation, and it does not cover used cars.

However, if the used car is still covered by a warranty, the manufacturer may be compelled by the Lemon Law to fix the problem.

It is therefore recommended that you run vehicle history reports from multiple car history service report providers before you buy a preowned car. This move ensures that you get all the vital information about the vehicle’s history.  

What to expect from a Lemon Law claim

A good attorney will prove that you have a superior case. Hence winning a lemon law claim will either get you a refund of the money you spent on the purchase or a replacement of the malfunctioning vehicle with a better functional one.

The path to this destination may not be wide and hitch-free. However, if you have religiously followed the five basic steps outlined above and have won the claim, you have the option to either:

  • Opt for a replacement of the bad vehicle or a choose to be refunded;
  • Request for the reimbursements of all accrued expenses, including the attorneys’ fees.

How Do I Select the Right Attorney?

Choosing an experienced lawyer is the first step to getting the best chance of being well advised and legally represented. A good lawyer will provide all the answers to your legal questions, and if necessary, will represent you before a court and accompany you throughout the proceedings. You can make use of the State Bar of Texas, or take advantage of many lawyer referral services available to pick a suitable attorney for your case.

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