Texas Lemmon Law

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The Texas “Lemmon Law” was enacted by Texas Legislation in 1983 and upheld in 1985 by the federal appeals court, and is administrated by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The law assists consumers who buy or lease new motor vehicles and have repeated problems getting their vehicles properly repaired, repurchased, or replaced.

WHAT DOES THE “LEMMON LAW” COVER?

New Vehicles: Cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, motor homes, towable recreational vehicles (TRVs) and neighborhood electric vehicles. The new vehicle has to be purchased or leased from a Texas licensed dealer or lessor that develop problems covered by a written factory warranty.

WHAT DOES IT NOT COVER?

The law does not cover used, repossessed vehicles, non-travel trailers, boats, or farm equipment. It does not cover problems that were caused by the owner’s abuse, neglect or unauthorized changes to the vehicle. Also, the problem has to substantially impair the use or market value of the vehicle (for example: it does not cover stereo problems, window tints, etc…). The relief to used motor vehicles buyers is limited to repairs only and that is if the vehicle is still under the original factory warranty.

WHAT DOES “REPEATED PROBLEMS” MEAN?

The problem is a defect or a condition covered under the written manufacture warranty and is reported to the dealer or manufacturer within the warranty time. Once reported, the owner has to give the dealer or manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defects or conditions.

WHAT IS A “REASONABLE NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS”?

There are three different tests that are used to determine how many chances a dealer has to fix a defect.

FOUR-TIMES TEST

If you take the vehicle to the dealership for repairs:
2 times for the same problem or defect within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first, and;
2 times more during the 12 months or 12,000 miles following the first repair attempt and
The problem is still not repaired.

SERIOUS SAFETY-HAZARD TEST

If you take the vehicle to the dealership for repairs:
1 time the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first, and;
1 more during the 12 months or 12,000 miles following the first repair attempt and;
The problem is still not repaired.

30-DAY TEST

If the vehicle, covered by the original factory warranty, has been out of service for repair because of problems for a total of 30 days or more, not necessarily all at one time, during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, and you were not provided with a comparable loaner vehicle and;
The were 2 repairs during the first 12 months or 12,000 miles immediately after delivery and;
A substantial problem still exists.

WHAT IS THE DEADLINE TO FILE A COMPLAINT?

The complaint must be Filed within (6) months following the EARLIER of:
Expiration of the express warranty term;
24 months; or
24,000 miles following the date of delivery of the vehicle.

WHERE AND HOW TO FILE?

You can visit http://www.dmv.org/tx-texas/automotive-law/lemon-law.php to obtain additional information.

You can mail your complaint to:

  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
  • PO Box 13044
  • Austin, TX. 78768

You have to provide the manufacturer, converter, or distributor with a 30 day notice via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested prior to you submitting a complain form.

BEST PRACTICES:

Keep all your purchase documents in a folder and maintain all your repair paper works. Take pictures and videos of the problem to evidence an ongoing issue. Provide the pictures and videos to the dealership in order for them to regenerate the problem. Communicate in writing with the dealership if you feel like the issue is going to be an ongoing problem. File a complaint as soon as you think the matter might escalate however; before you do inform the dealership of your intentions. Lemmoning a vehicle could be a lengthy and difficult process, thus try to resolve the problem with the manufacturer or dealership prior to filing a complaint.

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