Posted On: March 17, 2011

Six Lemon Law Red Flags

There are no written rules regarding what makes a lemon law case in Texas an easy slam dunk or a case that is difficult to litigate. In the eyes of vehicle manufacturers (including cars, trucks, recreational vehicles, trailers), the following are lemon law and warranty guidelines that raises red flags:

1) After-market accessories: the vehicle manufacturer is quick to point the finger at the after-market accessory as being the root cause of the defect; even if the after-market component is not even remotely related to the complained of defect;

2) Tampering: in some cases, manufacturers and car dealerships are quick to blame that the consumers tampered with the vehicle. Avoid self installations!!!

3) Excessive mileage: within the first 24 months of ownership, if the vehicle has excessive mileage, then the manufacturer may flag the vehicle as being used for commercial purposes. I have experienced cases where "hot shot" drivers were denied warranty coverage because there were so many miles on the truck;

4) A messy or unclean car: believe it or not, when manufacturers can not figure out the heart or cause of the defect, they will be quick to look to superficial conditions such as a messy interior or exterior car. For example, one of my clients raised issues of defective paint on the exterior of the car. When my client brought the vehicle in for inspection, the dealership said that it could be the "reflective dirt that is causing the paint to appear defective;"

5) Accidents: if the vehicle has been involved in even a minor accident, the manufacturer may suspect that the causation of the defect is due to the accident (or subsequent repairs of the vehicle) and not the quality control or manufacturing defect of the vehicle;

6) Missed payments: when a vehicle owners has multiple missed payments, the manufacturer has a tendency to think that the owner is opening a lemon law claim in order to return the vehicle or avoid the existing financial obligation to pay for the vehicle.

Although any consumer who has the following above-mentioned issue is not automatically out of luck, it is important to be aware of these potential red flags and adjust expectations accordingly.