Posted On: July 28, 2012

Question: How long does it take to get results from a lemon law claim filed in Texas?

Answer: I will hedge a bit and use an attorney-like response on this question. The answer to this question is "it really depends." Some factors involved consists of: the facts of each case, what time of year it is, who the defendant car manufacturer is, who opposing counsel is, client expectations, and sometimes luck.

Each case, although similar on some level, is different. Cases that are filed near the holidays (for example, Thanksgiving or Christmas season) understandably takes longer, as employees of involved parties are more difficult to contact, interview, and obtain evidence.

Some vehicle manufacturers drag their feet and purposely take forever to respond to a claim -- they have very little to lose by taking their time, their goal is to take advantange of an impatient and frustrated consumer. After a demand letter has been sent and a law suit is filed, the claim gets forwarded to an opposing attorney for the vehicle manufacturer and car dealership. Some attorneys are professional, while others like to play bulldog.

Sometimes, clients are patient, while others are uneasy and are ready to move on with their life. Clients have to ask themself what the value of stress in litigation is worth to them.

Believe it or not, luck plays an important role in litigation. Often times, I handle two lemon law cases that are very similar in fact pattern; one gets a repurchase settlement while the other takes up to 4 to 5 months and gets close to trial.

Having discussed these variables, the average timeframe is anywhere from 1 month to 5 months. Cases that go to trial may take longer.

Posted On: July 13, 2012

Extended warranty information on new vehicles as it relates to the Texas Lemon Law

Most new vehicles come with a standard 36,000 miles/36 months warranty, whichever occurs first. An extended warranty is intended to cover repairs beyond the standard warranty. Some extended warranty gives you coverage beyond what the standard warranty doesn't cover; usually, coverage you most likely do not need.

In addition, if you have a new lemon vehicle, having an extended warranty is quite useless. If the service center can not fix the vehicle, then the issue is moot. Your best course of action is to contact a texas lemon law attorney as soon as possible.

If you plan on putting a lot of miles on your vehicle, so as to trigger the 36,000 mileage coverage quickly, then it might be a good idea to opt for the extended warranty.

On the other hand, if you plan on using the vehicle as a second car or leisure vehicle, then the 36 month threshold will give you three years to drive. After 3 years when the standard warranty expires, as statistic shows, you would likely trade your car in for a more modern model vehicle; making the extended warranty useless.

The most important aspect of an extended warranty is what it covers and excludes. The normal exclusion includes normal wear and tear; and negligence. However, I have reviewed an extended warranty for a client once and it was virtually useless coverage because there were so many exclusions in it.

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Remember to go by what is written in the warranty and not what the finance guy/gal says. It doesn't matter what they say, don't trust them; their goal is to earn a commission, they are not your advocate.

Mathematically, you might be better off setting aside a rainy day car repair fund than to purchase the extended warranty.

If you decide on purchasing, it is vital that you negotiate the price of the extended warranty. Start with 50 percent from the asking price, you have little to lose, because you can purchase the extended warranty from a private vender after the purchase transaction. Remember, the pushy finance person is just another sales person. They will likely agree to a 20 to 30 percent off reduction from the original asking price.

Posted On: July 3, 2012

Three things to expect from a lemon law attorney/lawyer

Expectations are important. It is vital to any good relationship; especially between an attorney and a client in a lemon law case. Below are three things I tell clients to expect from me.

1) Expect attorney-client privilege. Under the attorney code of ethics, as an attorney, I have an obligation to keep your information from being shared to others without your authorization. Information will be kept confidential.

2) Expect to be kept up to date on the status of your case. Although our office cannot guarantee outcomes in a lemon law case, we will do our best to contact our client (usually by email, phone, or mail) and keep them posted on the status of their case. Communication is key and we will do our best to answer any questions our client has. We have almost posted a frequently asked and answered page on our website as well.

3) Expect advocacy. We will represent your best interest against the car dealership and/or vehicle manufacturer at all times. Sometimes, this means being honest with our professional opinion, which the client may or may not like.