Texas Lemon Law
What is covered by the Texas "Lemon Law"?
In Texas the Lemon Law applies to new vehicles (including cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, motor homes, towable recreational vehicles (TRVs), and neighborhood electric vehicles) purchased or leased from a Texas licensed dealer or lessor. The problems have to be covered by the factory warranty. The law covers demonstrator vehicles but does not cover used vehicles, program vehicles, or boats.
How do I know if I have a lemon law claim?
A motor vehicle may be a lemon if it meets the following conditions:
(1) It was purchased or leased new from a Texas dealer.
(2) It has a serious defect or condition covered by the manufacturer's warranty.
(3) The car is brought to an authorized dealer for the same problem at least twice in the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, and then at least twice more in the 12 months or 12,000 miles after the first repair.
(4) The owner gives the manufacturer notice of the problem via certified mail and one additional attempt to repair the problem.
(5) The problem remains unrepaired and affects the vehicle's use, market value, or creates a serious safety hazard.
(6) The owner timely files a lemon law claim and pays the filing fee.
If you vehicle does not meet the conditions above it may still fall under the Lemon Law if it has been out of service for at least 30 days in the first 24 months and there were at least two repair attempts within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles.
What if my car does not meet the test above?
Even if you car does not meet the conditions above, we may still be able to help. Consumers have other rights outside of the Lemon Law and manufacturers are often willing to negotiate some type of settlement on vehicles that have serious problems but do fall within the test for a true "Lemon". You can still file a lawsuit against a manufacturer or dealer for breach of warranty, deceptive trade practices, or some other reason as long as the statute of limitations has not run.
What is the time limit for filing a Lemon Law claim?
A Lemon Law claim has to be filed within either: (1) 30 months after delivery, (2) six months after the car hits 24,000 miles, or (3) six months of the expiration of the warranty, whichever comes first.
Will I get my car replaced or repurchased?
There is no guaranty that you will get your car replaced or repurchased and it often involves some type of litigation to make that happen. Most of the cases we handle resolve with the consumer keeping the car and accepting a cash settlement. But we do get our share of vehicles replaced or repurchased and you will never be forced to accept a cash settlement if you want to go to trial.
Can I bring a claim if I lease my vehicle?
Yes. Under the Lemon Law a consumer includes people who either purchase or lease a vehicle.
Can I bring a claim on a used car?
Lemon Law statutes typically do not apply to used vehicles and for that reason we do not handle claims involving used vehicles. Unfortunately, we are only able to handle claims involving vehicles that were purchased new from a dealership.
Who pays my attorney fees?
The law provides that if a vehicle does not conform to its express warranty and a consumer obtains a replacement or repurchase the consumer is entitled to reasonable attorney fees. Practically speaking, most of the cases we handle settle without going to court and our fees are paid by the manufacturer. We have never asked a consumer to pay attorney fees out of pocket and we don’t get paid unless we get your vehicle replaced or repurchased or we negotiate a cash settlement that you agree to.
How much do you charge in attorney fees?
We handle most cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you get paid. Attorney fees are typically 1/3 of the total amount recovered or a set amount that we negotiate with the manufacturer. If we go to trial we may bill our time on an hourly basis at $200 per hour. The fee we make at trial will be either 1/3 of the total amount recovered or the amount of fees that the court orders the dealer or manufacturer to pay, whichever is higher.
Who pays for the court costs and other fees?
If we are able to negotiate a resolution to your case without filing suit we will advance all of the costs and fees and will recover those costs when the case settles. If it is necessary to file suit we will advance those costs as well. Most cases resolve without the need to file a law suit.