What to Know About the Texas Lemon Law
A “lemon” is a vehicle found to have one or more manufacturing defects affecting its safety, value or use. If you feel your vehicle fits this description, all is not lost. The good news is that there are “lemon laws” that protect consumers whose purchases go wrong.
In addition to the federal lemon law, called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, states have their own lemon laws that help vehicle owners buy back, replace, or repair defective vehicles.
Since each state’s lemon law is different, our website provides an overview of lemon laws by state. For our larger states, we provide a more in-depth review of the laws and how BBB AUTO LINE can support consumers with lemon law disputes. Previously, we looked at Florida and California. Now let’s look at lemon law in Texas.
What is the Texas Lemon Law?
The Texas Lemon Law is a state law administered by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that helps consumers who purchase or lease new motor vehicles and who have repeated problems getting their vehicles properly repaired (Tex. Occ Ann Code §§ 2301.001 et seq.) .
What vehicles are covered?
The law covers new vehicles, purchased from a Texas dealership or rental company, that develop problems covered by the manufacturer’s written warranty. Specifically:
- Previously titled cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, motor homes, towable recreational vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, neighborhood electric vehicles and demonstration vehicles.
- To note: There are certain cases where a used vehicle is covered (for example, if it is still under the original warranty). However, relief is limited to repairs only.
Who is covered by the Texas Lemon Law?
Texas lemon law covers a motor vehicle owner who is one of the following:
- A purchaser of a retail motor vehicle from a Texas dealership;
- A lessor or lessee (other than a sublessee) who has purchased or leased a motor vehicle from a Texas dealer or lessor;
- A person residing in Texas and having registered the vehicle in Texas;
- A serving member of the United States Armed Forces who purchased or leased the vehicle at retail and is stationed in Texas at the time a claim is filed; Where
- An assignee or assignee of a retail purchaser, lessor, or lessee, so long as the assignee or assignee is a resident of Texas and registered the vehicle in Texas.
How do I know if my vehicle qualifies as a lemon under Texas lemon law requirements?
The consumer must prove all of the following conditions:
- The defect or condition creates a serious safety hazard (a life-threatening malfunction or nonconformity that significantly impairs a person’s ability to control or operate a motor vehicle or poses a risk of fire or explosion) OR materially impairs the use or marketability of the vehicle.
- The serious defect or abnormal condition is not the result of abuse, negligence or unauthorized modifications or alterations to the vehicle.
- The defect or condition is covered by a written manufacturer’s warranty.
- Dealer has received a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defect or condition.
The consumer must also report the defect or condition to the dealer or manufacturer during the warranty period and do so in writing.
What is meant by a “reasonable” number of repair attempts?
The TX Lemon Law assumes that the manufacturer, distributor, or one of their agents or franchisees has been given a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defect if any of the following tests pass:
- Four-step test: The defect continues to exist after having had four repairs for the same defect in the first 24 months or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first).
- Serious danger test: The defect poses a serious safety hazard that is not repaired after the vehicle has been taken for service twice in the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.
- 30 day trial: The defect covered by the original factory warranty still exists after the vehicle has been out of service for repair for 30 or more days – not necessarily all at once – within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles. To note: if a comparable loan vehicle was provided during the repair of the vehicle, this time does not count towards the 30 days.
What is the manufacturer’s obligation to buy back or replace a vehicle?
If, indeed, your motor vehicle is a “lemon” that cannot be repaired under the conditions described, the manufacturer or the distributor must either replace or buy back the vehicle.
- Replacement: The defective vehicle must be replaced by a vehicle comparable to the original vehicle and acceptable to the consumer, less the mileage used.
- Refund: The vehicle must be repurchased for the purchase price less an amount billed for the use of the vehicle, which is calculated according to a formula that takes into account the number of kilometers driven by the vehicle and other factors.
The law requires that before taking legal action to enforce your rights, a consumer must first use the arbitration program operated by the State of Texas.
How can BBB AUTO LINE help you?
In Texas, a Lemon Law complaint must be filed within six months of either (1) the expiration of the express warranty period, or (2) 24 months or 24,000 miles from the date of delivery initial vehicle to a consumer, whichever comes first.
BBB AUTO LINE is a Certified Alternative Mediation and Arbitration Dispute Resolution Program under the Texas Lemon Law and may be able to help you.
To be eligible for BBB AUTO LINE support, your request must involve one of our participating manufacturers and meet the eligibility criteria defined by that manufacturer’s program.
To learn more about BBB AUTO LINE or to open a claim, go to bbbautoline.org, select “FOR CONSUMERS” and submit the form, or call us at 1-800-955-5100.
If you feel like your vehicle is a lemon, all is not lost. “Lemon Laws” protect vehicle owners whose purchases go wrong, both at the federal and state levels. For our larger states, we provide a more in-depth review of the laws and how BBB AUTO LINE can support consumers with lemon law disputes. Previously, we looked at Florida and California. Now let’s look at lemon law in Texas.
Our session at the Direct Selling Legal and Compliance Summit 2022 focused on a topic at the forefront of our work at the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) – how to substantiate and appropriately disseminate product claims. and revenue – a topic that will be the focus of our Direct Selling Summit 2022 on July 27.
The monthly Ad Watchers podcast gives listeners behind-the-scenes access to the details of advertising law. Why? Because advertising law is simple, it is the execution that is difficult. Learn more about Season 1 and upcoming topics for Season 2, such as the effective use of consumer perception surveys, diversity and inclusion in advertising, and demystifying dark patterns.
Demand for breakfast cereals has increased as the COVID pandemic has progressed. People ate at home and didn’t want to venture to the grocery store as often, which meant they turned to easy-to-store staples like cereal. Whether or not this trend continues, there will always be people of all ages who choose to start their day with a bowl of cereal. So pour yourself a bowl, grab a spoon, and join the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) in observing National Cereal Day.