Posted On: February 28, 2010

Toyota's acceleration recall does not automatically make it a Texas Lemon

Toyota's recent recall regarding the uncontrollable acceleration of its vehicles has led many Toyota car owners to contact my Texas Lemon Law office for recourse. Most consumers ask if it is possible for them to get an automatic buyback, due to the recall. The answer is "it depends."

Texas Lemon Law has a set of strict guidelines -- the consumer's situation must fit within those guidelines to be eligible for a potential lemon law buyback. Moreover, the Texas Lemon Law is never definitive because it is subject to an administrative judge's ruling.

In general, the lemon law requires that the consumer have taken the vehicle in at least 4 times unsuccessfully within the first 24,000 miles or 24 months, whichever occurs first. If the problem is considered a serious safety matter, then the law only requires 2 times. Toyota's acceleration problem is arguably a serious safety defect. However and again, it is up to the administrative judge at the lemon law hearing to make that decision.

If a consumer who owns a Toyota wishes to pursue the lemon law route, then here are some helpful tips:
* always keep written records of your repair attempt visits;
* always write down names of each person you have spoken with at Toyota;
* write a written notice letter to Toyota regarding your lemon law concerns;

If you live in California instead of Texas and wish to pursue the California Lemon Law route, then here is an interesting article written by Mark Glover of the Sacramento Bee. Click Download file


Disclaimer: this is NOT legal advice. Each case is different and it is recommended that you contact a lemon law attorney for advice about your specific situation. Keep in mind that each legal claim has a statute of limitation or deadline -- you should act as quickly as possible. Failure to do so may mean that you will lose the right to sue.

Posted On: February 21, 2010

National Car History Report to Combat Texas and California Lemon Vehicles

In 1992, Congress passed a law that requires the implementation of a national database that contains a car history report of every vehicle found in the United States. The database is called the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS).

Eighteen (18) years later in 2008, it looks like the Justice Department finally decided that it will abide by Congress' order (in this case, it took lawsuits from consumer groups to get the Justice Department to finally do its job).

I just received an email update from a California Lemon Law attorney, Craig Patrick, about California being one of the frontier states that is currently participating in this national database program. The NMVTIS will contain information about the whether the vehicle was a lemon law buyback or whether it has been severely wrecked.

Rather than spending more than necessary at private companies such as carfax.com or autocheck.com for this report, car buyers from California can now go to their DMV and order a car history report for less than $5 per search. Albeit, the information found from the California DMV, will not include secondary information, such as intel from car shops, police reports, and etc.

At its current state it looks like Texas is lagging behind in its participation with this national lemon car database. Currently, Texas is only providing data to the NMVTIS, but Texas does not make inquiries into the car's history before issuing titles.

For more information, click this link... Download file

Posted On: February 16, 2010

Ford Lemon Law Buyback and Refund Information

I was researching on Ford's Lemon Law statistics yesterday and stumbled upon an interesting article relating to Ford's Lemon Law buyback and repurchase policies on vehicles. The attached Ford response occurred toward the end of 1995 and was sparked by a petition filed against Ford by consumer groups via the Federal Trade Commission.

In this article, Ford answers some questions regarding its buyback policies and compliance with various state lemon law requirements. The article reveals that in 1994, Ford pays its dealers (including Lincoln-Mercury) approximately $400 to $700 per vehicle repurchase or buyback. Of course, this figure may have increased now since it is currently well over a decade from 1994.

The article further states Ford's denial against claims that it participates in lemon laundering. In the article, Ford admits that approximately 95% of its lemon law buyback or replacement vehicles ends up in auction, whereby it will later be re-introduced back to the stream of commerce and in the hands of consumers in the pre-owned or used car markets.

When asked how many vehicles are refunded or repurchased each year nationally, Ford refuses to disclose such information, citing confidentiality. In my opinion, it looks like Ford has something to hide...if Ford is so proud of the reliability of its products, then why be afraid to share this vital information? I say that the state of California and Texas, two of largest automobile markets in the US, push for stronger disclosure legislation and force Ford to disclose more information.

For the text of the article, go here... Download file