Articles Posted in Lemon Law Tips

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Hiring an attorney can be expensive, how do lemon lawyers get paid if I sue the car dealer or manufacturer?

Although the news media paints the picture that we live in a “sue happy” society.  In reality, most families are hard working people who never have the expectation of using the court system to help right a wrong or injustice in their lives.

The most common misconception is that anything that involves hiring an attorney is going to be cost prohibitive or be too expensive.  In fact, most car dealers and vehicle manufacturers want you to believe that.  Luckily, in the case of most lemon law situations, that doesn’t always have to be the case.

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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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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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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.

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Question: I took my vehicle in for repairs once or twice, but feel that the the problem will reoccur soon. Do I have a case?

Answer: Generally, everyone potentially has a case. The real issue is whether the case is strong or not, whether there is likelihood for recovery in the form of any cash settlement, repurchase, or replacement,…or, not.

Under the current Texas Lemon Law, the presumption is either: 2 or more repair attempts for a serious safety issue, or 4 or more attempts for the same non-substantial defect, or the vehicle has been serviced for a cumulative of 30 days or more.

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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.

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Having a strong lemon law case is not as difficult as most people think. Based on my experience over the years handling lemon law cases, the following are 2 items that make a case strong.

Keep in mind that this is not to be considered legal advice, but merely a guideline. Please contact my office or a Texas Lemon Law attorney for legal advice that is specific to your situation.

1) Repeated repair attempts for the same problem. The rule of thumb is at least 3 repair attempts for the same defect. If you have 2 repair attempts, it might be a good idea to begin exploring your optoions.

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Answer: Most people who contact my lemon law office about a problem vehicle are everyday folks who never thought they would need to contact an attorney when they originally bought their new vehicle. Often times, it is their first time contemplating a lawsuit against any company. Suing a car manufacturer such as Kia, Chrysler, Ford, or Mazda can be a daunting task — think David and Goliath. Finding out where to sue and which attorney to contact is also another often asked question.

Some clients find that they have relocated to a different state or county. Others wonder what happens when the car dealership closed down or moved.

The term jurisdiction is a legal term of art that basically means which court has the power to handle or hear your case. For lemon law cases, jurisdiction usually occurs at the county level; typically the county where the vehicle was purchased.

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“After purchasing my new truck at the dealership, I took it into the Chrysler service center. After waiting for over 2 hours, they told me that they could not replicate the problem and to keep my eye out for the problem if it happens again. I noticed that they hardly drove my vehicle because my odometer didn’t change much when I got my truck back. On the repair order that they gave me, it says “NPF.” What does that mean and what can I do? Does the Texas Lemon Law apply? It took me a long time to save for this truck and I am really frustrated.”


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Recognizing what country your vehicle was manufactured at is an important piece of knowledge. Often times, I have potential lemon law clients who contact my office for a free case review, stating to me that they were misled or misinformed by the car salesman or dealership — they were told that the subject vehicle was assembled in the USA or Japan, when in fact, the vehicle originated in Mexico. Under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), this might be a viable plaintiff’s cause of action.

Every vehicle has a unique vehicle identification number, also known as a VIN. The VIN is the “social security” number for vehicles, as no two vehicle can have the same set of numbers. Standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the VIN contains specific characteristics about the specific vehicle and is 17 characters long. Tracking the VIN is the best way to identify cars that may have a history or potential of lemon law-related defects or problems.

To determine where the subject vehicle originates from, check the first digit of the seventeen character VIN. If the number starts with a 1, then it is from the USA (i.e.: General Motors, Chrysler, etc). If it starts with a 2, the it is from Canada…3 is from Mexico,…and, etc.

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