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The Texas Lemon Law—Are You Covered?

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is in place to protect consumers in the U.S. Though originally this lemon law was meant for vehicles only, it is now used for many things consumers purchase that do not meet their expectations.

Laws differ from state. The Texas lemon law is no exception.

Is a Lemon Car the Only Protected Purchase in Texas?

The Texas lemon law protects you and provides compensation for a defective vehicle that you purchased. The word vehicle includes other products. Motorcycles, boats, RVs, appliances, and computers are covered under the Texas Lemon Law.

The Legislature changed the law in 1991 to allow more consumers to benefit. The definition of a lemon was expanded and the time for filing under the Texas lemon law was lengthened.

In addition, now a vehicle that has been replaced due to the lemon law must have a disclosure with it stating this fact if it's offered for resale.

Does My Texas Lemon Qualify?

To qualify as a lemon, the defective product must have had several attempts made to fix it while under warranty. The lemon law provides for compensation for those that meet this qualification. You may request a replacement or a refund for the lemon.

A vehicle (or other product) is considered a lemon in Texas if certain criteria are met:

  • The owner has taken it in for repair a number of times. This has to have occurred within a specific time frame.

  • The product has a defect that is considered dangerous to the owner or other user, lessens the effectiveness of the product, or reduces the market value of the product.

  • The owner gives written notice of the condition of the product to the manufacturer.

  • The owner has given the retailer written notice as well.

For details about the types of vehicles covered and a lemon law complaint form, see this Texas Department of Transportation page on the Texas lemon law.

Many complaints are filed each year. From 1988 to 1997, more than 12,200 lemon law complaints were processed. In approximately half the cases that were heard, a remedy was reached and the consumer received either a replacement or another agreed upon solution.

The cars being complained about vary, but there are certain cars that have problems more than others, including certain Toyota and Lexus models.

I Own a Lemon. What Do I Do Now?

Before you begin, be sure that you have all documents in order, including copies of the letters sent to the manufacturer and dealer/retailer, repair order documents, repair estimates, and any other correspondence or other documentation that will back up your case.

If the manufacturer refuses to compensate you, you'll likely have to hire a lemon law attorney to file suit against the company. But the odds of winning increase greatly once you have a lawyer working for you. Most companies do not want the bad publicity. Once they know you have some "muscle" on your side, you'll get what is legally yours—a replacement or refund.

Reference: Texas Administrative Code, Subchapter G, Warranty Performance Obligations

NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.


 

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