The Law Office of Darin Siefkes Texas Lemon Law

What is the ‘Lemon Law’?

Lemon Laws are consumer protection statutes. These laws are enacted by the states to give legal recourse to purchasers of defective automobiles. Typically, within a short period of time after purchasing or leasing a new automobile, if a consumer has had their vehicle repaired a certain number of times, or if the vehicle has been out of service for repair for a certain amount of time, then the consumer is entitled to have the vehicle repurchased by the manufacturer.

What do I stand to gain by asserting a claim under the Lemon Law?

Depending upon how many repairs you have, or how many days out of service the vehicle has been out for repair, you may be entitled to a repurchase of your vehicle, a brand new replacement vehicle, or monetary compensation. The Texas Lemon Law’s real advantage is that it allows a consumer to potentially get out of a problem vehicle while getting vaule for the vehicle based upon the purchase price. The Texas Lemon Law does not give consumers a full refund, but it does provide compensation well above the current vaule of the vehicle even if it had no repairs (aka the “Blue Book” value).

How many repairs or days out of service do I need to establish a viable Lemon Law case?

Each state Lemon Law has different requirements for the number of repairs or days out of service necessary to establish a claim. In Texas, you would typically need to demonstrate 4 repairs for the same defect to create a presumption that the vehicle is a lemon. There are several other different ways for your vehicle to be presumed a lemon using a lessor number of repairs. For example, if a vehilce has 2 repairs and was out of sevice 30 days, it may also qualify. After an evaluation of your situation, our Texas attorney, Darin Siefkes, will be able to tell you whether your vehicle qualifies. However, even if you do not have sufficient repairs under the Texas Lemon Law, there are other statutes that we can often utilize to address your situation and help provide monetary compensation.

Who is the Defendant in a Lemon Law Case?

Although you have had your vehicle repaired at the dealership, it is actually the manufacturer of your vehicle who is responsible under the Texas Lemon Law. Under some statutes, the dealership can also be a defendant but, for a variety of reasons, we rarely attempt to pursue claims against dealers.

What is the process for asserting  a Lemon Law Claim?

The first step is to determine whether or not you have a viable claim under the Texas Lemon Law. You can click on the Free Case Evaluation on this page, or call us at  1-888-Lemon-TX  so that we can evaluate your case.

If you have a viable case and you agree to allow us to represent you, then our first step against the manufacturer is to issue a demand letter to your vehicle’s manufacturer. Most of our cases are resolved by directly negotiating a settlement in this manner.

If we are unable to negotiate a settlement of your matter, then the next step may be a lawsuit or arbitration. We will discuss these options with you, detailing their pros and cons.

What other laws protect my rights?

Beside the Texas Lemon Law, there is another important law that protects the rights of automobile owners. The Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that applies broadly to most consumer goods that come with an express warranty. This law takes into account repairs that occur throughout the entire period of the manufacturer’s warranty. The various state Lemon Laws, by way of comparison, often take into account repairs that occur within the first 10,000 to 24,000 miles. In many instances where a state lemon law will not apply because of the mileage on the vehicle when the repairs occurred, the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act can be utilized to obtain recourse against the manufacturer. Additionally in Texas, we can pursue a breach of warranty claim under the Texas Deceptive Practices Act (DTPA) for the breach of warranty.

Are there any time limits for bringing a Lemon Law case?

The time limit for bringing a case under the Lemon Law, is known as the ‘statute of limitations.’  In Texas, the statute of limitations is six (6) months after the first of: a) 2 years from original delivery of your vehicle, b) the vehicle is driven 24,000 miles, or c) the warranty expires. Since the statute of limitations is so short and complicated, a timely evaluation of your claim is important. Usually the time limit begins running on the date that you purchase or leased your vehicle, although that can vary. As a practical matter, it is always best to address legal issues sooner rather than later, as evidence can be lost or grow ‘stale’ over time.  Moreover, a claim brought late can give rise to an inference that the problems with your vehicle did not cause undue hardship at the time they were occurring.

What if I do not have enough repairs to have a viable case under the Texas Lemon Law?

You should not assume that you do not have recourse if you are unable to show enough repairs under your reading of the law. First, there are other laws besides the Texas Lemon Law that we rely upon to obtain compensation for you. Second, we find that people often misread the requirements of the law, or can even be looking at an outdated statute which has been amended. Finally, as a practical matter, even if you do not have sufficient repairs to have your vehicle repurchased or replaced under the Texas Lemon Law, often times you can obtain a monetary settlement from your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Who pays your attorney fee?

Many of the consumer protection statutes that we utilize contain ‘fee-shifting provisions’ that allow us to collect an attorney fee directly from the defendant automobile manufacturer. If your case is strong enough, and the manufacturer will not voluntarily repurchase or replace your vehicle, you can sue the manufacturer and we will collect our fees and expenses from it if we win the case or settle it.

How do I get started?

We would be happy to evaluate your case for free, with no obligation. You can either call us at  1-888-Lemon-TX   or you can provide us information by clicking  ” Free Case Evaluation

What type of documentation will I need to proceed?

Initially, we will need your repair invoices to be able to evaluate the case. It tells us what repairs were done when and by whom. Those are key to understanding if the Texas Lemon Law or any other statute can help you. In a pinch, we can use a vehilce history report to review what was done. However, we prefer repair invoices since they cantain what you complained of and more details than a vehicle history can provide. We do not accept cases without first reviewing those documents.

After we are engaged, we will need copies of the buyer’s invoice for the vehicle, current registration and the vehicle payoff for any loan on the vehicle.