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A “demonstrator” vehicle, also known as a demo vehicle is a vehicle that has anywhere from 1,000 to 6,000 miles on the speedomoter and has been used by customers for test drives, or has been driven by employees of car dealerships or manufacturers for a short or limited amount of time.  I know many owners and managers of car dealerships who would drive cars and later pass these cars back to the car lot for sale.

A demo vehicle is not the same as a pre-owned or used car and the law protects a demo car owner more so than a pre-owned or used car.

Under the Texas Lemon Law, a demo is covered and the consumer is protected, on a limited basis.  The consumer still needs to take the vehicle in for multiple repair attempts or at least two times if it is considered a serious safety defect.  Feel free to contact my office regarding potential lemon law cases for pre-owned vehicles.

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It’s heartbreaking to me every time a client contacts my office and doesn’t have a strong case due to the fact that their paperwork or evidence is not in order.  For example, the client may have taken the new car in on numerous occasions because of a defect, but there are no repair invoices to substantiate the repair visit.

When someone buys a new vehicle, no one thinks that a new car, truck, or motor home needs to be taken in for repairs.  But just like life, nothing is perfect, and thank goodness there is the Texas Lemon Law to protect consumers.  When there isn’t perfection and you must waste an afternoon taking your new vehicle in and wait for it to be repaired, remember to make each visit count and worth something.  Under the Texas Lemon Law, documentation is very important.

Here are a list of “make sures” I always ask the client to be mindful of:

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Every state law pertaining to the Lemon Law has a guideline as to how many times the vehicle must be taken in for repairs in order to meet the “reasonable attempt” presumption.  Some states require a lighter burden while other states, like Texas, has a slightly heavier attempt requirement.

Under Texas Lemon Law, a reasonable attempt of four times usually trigger that the car, truck, van, SUV is most likely a lemon.  Remember that this “Four Times Test” does not apply to conditions that are inherently a serious or substantial safety hazard, such as safety belt or airbag defects.

A component to consider is that Texas Lemon Law looks to the four times defect occurring within the first 24,000 miles, or first 2 years, whichever occurs first.  This mileage requirement is not applicable to travel trailers, which has a more lax component.

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Often times, potential clients would call my office asking if the Texas Lemon Law applies to motorhomes or recreational vehicles. Under the Texas Lemon Law, the term “vehicle” includes: “Cars, trucks, motorcycles, motor homes and all terrain vehicles.” Travel trailers are also included, but must be titled and registered in Texas to be eligible.

In short, yes, motor-homes and recreational vehicles are protected under the Texas Lemon Law. Be caution that strict guidelines apply and it is important to contact a Texas Lemon Law attorney as soon as the consumer has encountered numerous repair attempts.

Also, keep in mind that written documentation of all repair work is absolutely essential to have a strong case against the dealer/manufacturer. Therefore, be organized and keep all paperwork handy and available when you contact an attorney who handles Texas lemon law related claims.

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Many clients call my law office asking about the 30 day Texas Lemon Law test. Little do they know that when the law was drafted, it was heavily lobbied by car manufacturers and dealers to work against many consumers. Here’s why:

Imagine a very narrow law that only applies to a very small percentage of people, if any. That’s the realistic outcome of the 30 day provision of the Texas Lemon Law. The 30 day test first requires that no loaner car was provided to the consumer during the period of repair. If you pass that requirement, then the law requires that your new vehicle be out of service for repair (this is where you want to make sure your repair invoices have the correct dates on it) for 30 or more days.

But hold on, the repair must be considered a “substantial” impairment, or it must “substantially” affect the market value of your new vehicle. Well, that’s easy, right?

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Lemon law litigation may be complex and there are many important things you should do to preserve a strong case against the car manufacturer. The first thing you should do is to obtain, gather, and compile all paperwork relating to your case.

Most car manufacturers will need to review your paperwork to assess your claim. Without paperwork, it will be your word against theirs. Some of my clients contest that the car dealership and service center should have the paperwork, since they issued the repair orders and invoices,…Right? The answer is yes, but getting them to relinquish a second copy of the paperwork if they know you are planning on opening a lemon law claim may be difficult.

After you have your paperwork in order, you may contact the vehicle manufacturer directly or contact attorney with experience handling lemon law cases. Having a lemon law attorney represent your cause may help you obtain a better settlement.

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The following link is from our’s testimonial page. It is a testimonial (positive review) of a client of ours. In the excerpt, there is a reference to “lemon law mills.” Most people are unfamiliar with the phrase, so I thought I would write a brief blog article about it.

A “lemon law mill” is a phrase that describes a law office that concentrates its practice specifically on lemon law cases in a factory-like, volume-based, automated manner. At first thought, this isn’t such a bad thing, since experience is helpful in handling lemon law cases.

The issue is when the law office focuses its attention on the number of cases settled in order to produce profit for the firm, rather than the quality of its legal

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It’s hard to believe that seven years ago, I started this blog to provide a forum to discuss information to the public about the Texas Lemon Law. As the years past, I was hoping the lemon law will adapt and change in a way that will help consumers for the better. Unfortunately, not much, in the Texas Lemon Law, has changed. Hopefully, the lemon law for the state of Texas will be more favorable in the next seven years.

A change to the Texas Lemon Law I would like to see happen in the near future include an attorney fee shifting provision that forces the manufacturer to pay for the consumer’s attorney fee. Currently, the Texas Lemon Law program provides consumers with a chance to participate in an arbitration/hearing, the attorney fee shifting provision only applies if the car manufacturer first hires an attorney to attend the hearing.

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Every state has different laws as it relates to lemon laws and defective new vehicles. Some states’ lemon law are more favorable to consumer than others. Unfortunately, in Texas, the lemon law has been heavily lobbied by care manufacturers and dealerships; and therefore, is not very favorable to consumers.

A sign that a state lemon law is helpful to consumers is if it contains an attorney fee shifting provision. An attorney fee shifting provision requires a manufacturer to pay for the consumer’s attorney fees, in the event the consumer wins the case. Often times, after buying a vehicle (the second largest purchase behind a house), most consumers do not have excessive funds to hire an attorney to seek recourse against car manufacturers.

The Texas lemon law has a “pseudo” attorney fee shifting provision. The provision is triggered during the arbitration and only if the car manufacturers hire an attorney. Unfortunately, car manufacturers abuse this provision and never obtains an attorney, instead, they bring car experts who have received legal training to the arbitration instead. Hence, the “pseudo” attorney fee shifting provision is rendered useless and if often never triggered.

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Often times, many Texas lemon law clients want to know how long a typical lemon law claim takes to adjudicate. The answer is that it varies. Sometimes, it can drag on longer than the consumer anticipates. Click here for a brief overview of the answer to this question.

There are many factors involved in determining how long a lemon law claim will take. Such factors include: (1) the facts of the case, (2) who the defendant car manufacturer is, (3) who the representing opposing counsel is, (4) the time of the year, and (5) how responsive the client/consumer is.

Next week, I will highlight the first factor involved in determining the time-frame of a typical lemon law case.