Texas Lemon Law
The Texas lemon law helps provide compensation to consumers in possession of faulty vehicles. Not all vehicles qualify for a claim and not all claims are successful. The damage must hinder the use, value or safety of the vehicle to be classified as defective. The law requires manufacturers to perform several attempts at fixing the defect before a settlement can be reached. If a settlement cannot be reached, owners are permitted to seek further legal action. The used car lemon law refers to second-hand vehicles that are still under the manufacturer’s warranty. Additional restrictions may apply.
What is the Lemon Law in Texas?
The new car lemon law provides relief for residents who have recently purchased defective vehicles. The law only applies to new vehicles bought within the state. Furthermore, the defect must affect the value of the car or the vehicle’s use to be considered a lemon. However, not all vehicles with qualifying defects are eligible for a claim. The following automobiles are covered under the law:
- Motor homes
- All-terrain vehicles (ATV)
Before a claim may be filed, you must give the manufacturer the opportunity to rectify the situation. Depending on the type of defect, you may need to allow the manufacturer several attempts at fixing the same issue. The state’s lemon law accepts three types of repair procedures for eligible consumers. If the repair history meets one of the following three requirements, your vehicle may qualify for a claim.
- Four or more unsuccessful attempts were made to fix the lemon law
- Two or more attempts were made to fix a serious safety defect within the first two years or 24,000 miles of purchasing the vehicle. The issue must still be unresolved at the time the claim is filed. Serious safety defects are life-threatening issues that impede the use of the vehicle and may cause a fire or explosion.
- A loaner car was not provided to you after your vehicle was out-of-service due to a major defect for at least 30 days. The car must be non-operational for 30 days or more within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles of owning the vehicle to qualify. The 30-day lemon law for used cars only applies to eligible vehicles within the warranty. The issue must be unresolved for a claim to be processed.
If one of the above requirements are met, you may file a complaint with the proper authorities. Successful claims may result in one of three outcomes:
- A refund is issued to the owner – The lemon law buyback policy states that the full sale price is refunded along with any applicable incidental costs.
- A replacement vehicle is issued to the owner – Replacements must be the same make and model as the first vehicle with all of the same attributes.
- A repair is made to the vehicle – In some cases, the issue may be resolved after the final attempt to fix the defect is complete. If this happens, and a settlement is reached, no hearing will be called.
Does the Texas Lemon Law apply to used cars?
Although claims are typically filed for new vehicles, used cars may also be eligible for a claim. The lemon law definition focuses on the warranty of the vehicle over the ownership. Therefore, if you have recently bought a used car that is still within the original manufacturer’s vehicle warranty, you may be entitled to protection under this law. Defects that are reported while the warranty is still in effect are also covered. However, extended warranties are not included in this law. Therefore, used car claims must be made quickly if the original warranty is approaching its expiration date.
How does the car lemon law work in Texas?
Once a vehicle has satisfied the above criteria, owners may file a complaint with the TX DMV. The following steps show how a claim is filed.
- The owner notifies the manufacturer of the claim. In most cases, the manufacturer will have one final attempt to fix the defect.
- A complaint is submitted to the Texas DMV and may be filed online or at a DMV office.
- The claim is reviewed by the lemon law administration and the Texas DMV. The DMV will attempt to mediate a solution between the owner and the manufacturer. During the review process, the claim will be assessed on its eligibility and may be rejected if proof of repair attempts is not provided.
- A settlement will be reached. However, if the settlement is not satisfactory, a hearing may be ordered. Both the owner and the manufacturer must present their cases to the examiner.
- The final decision is issued within 60 days of the hearing. Owners have the right to challenge the verdict and request another hearing. Appeals are also available after several unsatisfied rulings have been issued.
Filing fees may apply. All complaints must be submitted within six months of the first repair attempt, within two years of the vehicle being purchased or within 24,000 miles.
Texas Lemon Law Lawyers
The claim process is lengthy and requires the owner to submit paperwork within very specific deadlines. Enlisting the help of a professional lemon law attorney will help you navigate the claim process with greater efficiency. If the case is brought to the courts, you may need to bring witnesses or answer questions from a technical expert. An attorney will be able to guide you through the proceedings and interpret any legal terms for you.
Furthermore, communications between you and the manufacturer should be kept open. Having a lemon lawyer present will avoid any misinterpretations or confusion between both parties. Although the TX DMV provides assistance in the mediation of a claim, you may not understand the options in front of you if your case is rejected. An experienced lawyer will help you submit the proper records and file for a new hearing within the correct time-frame.
Additional New and Used Car Laws in Texas
Manufacturers must issue recalls on vehicles that exhibit safety issues. The Texas DMV allows consumers to search their vehicles for a recall online. While not all defects are related to a recall, your issue may be resolved quickly if it falls under this category.
Additional used car laws in the state protect consumers against closed dealerships. In some cases, dealerships do not complete the title transfer process and leave new owners without the correct paperwork. Whether a dealership closes due to bankruptcy or other reasons, consumers are able to submit applications through the TX DMV to retrieve the correct documents.
Complaints against dealers are processed through the state’s online system. If a violation is found to have been committed, the TX DMV will initiate legal action.
How to Tell if Your New Car Is a Lemon in Texas
If you have recently purchased a vehicle that is not operating as it was designed, you may be eligible for benefits under the law. There are few points to consider when assessing your vehicle:
- Was your vehicle purchased in the state?
- Does the defect affect your ability to operate the vehicle safely or has it decreased the value of the car?
- Is the vehicle still under the manufacturer’s lemon law warranty?
If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you may be entitled to a replacement or a refund.
Alternatively, there are ways you can avoid purchasing a lemon in the first place. Some car models and makes are more prone to malfunctions. Research the vehicle and federal lemon law policies before buying a car. Although a lemon law claim can be filed with the Texas DMV, it is not guaranteed your case will be successful. Therefore, you should carefully read the warranty on all new vehicles and take care of your car.