In Texas, most car manufacturers participate in the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Lemon Law Arbitration program. Because this arbitration program does not award consumer attorney fees, a car owner may often find himself/herself going through the arbitration process on his or her own. If this is your situation, then below are some helpful suggestions on how to win your lemon law arbitration hearing.
* Please note that the information below and on this website are not legal advice. Contact a lemon law attorney for information that is specific to your situation. These suggestions are based on my experience with the BBB lemon law arbitration program here in Dallas, other locations may vary. If you are in Dallas or anywhere in Texas, then feel free to contact my office.
Tip number 1: Take a deep breathe. Most arbitrations are less formal than a trial. The arbitrator understands that this will be your first time.
Tip number 2: Bring the lemon vehicle to the hearing. The arbitrator will most likely want to test drive it to verify the problems with the vehicle. Make sure that the vehicle is clean so that the arbitrator does not get the impression that you are not following all maintenance schedules for the vehicle.
Tip number 3: During the hearing, focus on repeated repairs. For example, if you have brought the vehicle in fives times for the check engine light and one time for the car veering to the right; then mention the alignment issue, but always go back to the check engine light issue.
Tip number 4: Show how tip number 3’s repeated repair substantially impairs the value of the vehicle. Frame the defect around your safety concerns for you and your family.
Tip number 5: If you have brought the vehicle in and the service center failed to provide you with a repair order evidencing your attempt, then tell the arbitrator the approximate date of when such incidents happen. Some arbitrators will count that as a repair attempt even if there are no repair orders.
Tip number 6: Do not be confrontational. Although you are in a frustrating situation, do understand that the arbitrator participates in this process almost everyday and that he or she will be more sympathetic to your situation if you are pleasant and cooperative.
Tip number 7: Bring repair invoices, your notes, purchase documents, vehicle registration, and all other documents which may be relevant. Prepare a chart summary of your repair history so that the arbitrator can quickly glance at your repair history.