If you have purchased a defective automobile, understanding if the Texas lemon law applies to you could be the first step toward obtaining compensation. The term lemon law refers to consumer products that are defective or despite numerous repairs, does not function.
The Texas auto lemon law has been put into place in order to protect consumers. Different states have different laws regarding if a car qualifies as a lemon. Below you’ll find a summary of the Texas lemon law, what you should do if you think your car is a lemon, and lemon law resources.
ne of the first things to consider as to whether your state’s lemon law applies to your case is whether your car is new vs. used. A majority of lemon law state statutes apply only to new cars. However, some states do have provisions under their lemon laws for used cars.
The issue is specifically linked to your vehicle’s warranty. New cars are sold with vehicle warranties that specify coverage for a specified number of miles or months. It is under the umbrella of this warranty that the lemon law generally applies. For used cars sold by dealers with warranties, coverage under the state’s lemon law may apply. If your state does not have specified lemon laws for used cars and you purchased your used car with a warranty, federal lemon laws may apply.
The following are the key aspects of the Texas auto lemon law. In order for your car to qualify under the lemon law, your vehicle must meet these conditions:
• The law covers motor vehicles, two or more wheeled, used primarily for transporting persons or property and engine transmissions or rear axles used for the same, having a GVW of 18,000 lbs. or more, whether or not attached to vehicle chassis.
• In order to qualify, the vehicle must have had a minimum of 4 repair attempts or 30 days out of service. 2 repair attempts for a serious safety hazard.
• The law coverage period is the express warranty period or 1 year, whichever occurs first.
If the above conditions apply to your situation and your purchased vehicle, under the Texas lemon laws the manufacture or dealer is required to compensate:
• For reasonable incidental costs resulting from loss of use of the motor vehicle because of the nonconformity or defect and:
• replace the motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle; or
• accept return of the vehicle from the owner and refund to the owner the full purchase price, less a reasonable allowance for the owner's use of the vehicle, and any other allowances or refunds payable to the owner.
First, if you want to possibly make a lemon law claim, you’ll need to keep accurate records. Keep detailed records of all problems, repairs performed, and the amount of time your car is unavailable while repairs are being made. Without these documents, proving that your car qualifies as a lemon will be a challenge. If you did not collect documents when problems first arose, ask the dealer for the repair records.
To help you organize your documentation, click on this link for a repair log: Lemon Law Repair Log
Second, in order to potentially invoke the Texas law, you must communicate with the dealer attempting to fix the vehicle that you feel your car qualifies. If the dealer is not complying, contact the manufacturer directly, detailing the problem. When contacting the manufacturer, specifically ask for their procedure for making a lemon law claim.
A final step you can take is to hire a lemon law attorney. The good news is that the attorney fees are generally free to the consumer. If an attorney who specializes in the Texas lemon laws loses your case, they don’t get paid. If they win, the manufacturer pays the legal fees. Thus, if you do not feel like the dealer or manufacture has provided sufficient restitution, hiring a lemon law attorney is definitely worth the effort.
If your situation appears not to qualify under the Texas lemon laws, there may be another option. A potential resource is the federal lemon law. This statute is called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. In general it falls under the breach of warranty (BOW) theory.
Restitution under this act is different than under the Texas laws. Instead of a refund for the defective vehicle, restitution is the difference between the Kelly blue book value of the car in excellent conditions vs. good or poor condition. Again, if you are unclear if the Texas lemon law applies to your situation, a lemon law attorney can be hired at no cost to you to review your situation and determine if the federal lemon law applies to your case.
If you have specific questions regarding the Texas auto lemon law, you can also contact the Attorney General’s Office at the following address:
Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
You can also visit their website at:
The Better Business Bureau also has a printable summary of the Texas auto lemon law: BBB Lemon Law State Statutes