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Satisfaction surveys or questionnaires is the manufacturer’s method of receiving feedback from consumers. The car dealearship sometimes cash rebates and incentives from the manufacturer when they recieve consistent positive feedback from the manufacturer.

In addition, arguably most important, the vehicle manufacturer may use this information as evidence against the consumer during lemon law litigation. I handled a case where the client was a really nice guy, but honestly dissatified with the dealer’s handling of his defective car. He wrote a positive review (without conferring with me beforehand) because it was against his nature to be negative or critical of anyone. During the discovery phase of our lemon law suit, opposing counsel used this as one of the arguments and key evidence to try and prove that the dealer did everything right.

The important thing when answering these surveys is to be objective and honest. Extract your emotions; be professional. If the dealer was neglient or careless, state it in specificity. If you have any doubts, contact a lemon law attorney as soon as possible. Thanks to the attorney fee shifting position, the consumer usually does not have to pay the attorney fees for representation.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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(What if the dealer doesn’t issue a repair order for my visit/multiple visits?)

At my lemon law office, I get asked this question the most from frustrated consumers. It is important for the client to gather all documents and paperwork, including repair invoices (even those that are designated as “NPF” (no problem found); as such paperwork serves as evidence when our office discuss the claim with opposing counsel or manufacturer representative.

Without documents, it would be difficult for any attorney to accept the case. Does that mean you have no options or no case if you trashed all of your paperwork? The answer fortunately is no.

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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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Often times, when our office files a lawsuit against a car manufacturer (such as Chrysler, Ford, or General Motors) and/or dealerships; we cite to both state and federal lemon laws. Both laws provide consumers with limited protection and recourse against the wrongdoer. The federal lemon law applies to all 50 states and the District of Columbia; while the Texas lemon law only applies to vehicles that generally has been purchased in the state of Texas.

One key difference between the federal Magnuson Moss Act and the Texas Lemon Law (found in the Texas Occupations Code and Texas Transportation Code) is the attorney fee shifting provision.

The federal law allows the prevailing consumer’s attorney to recover attorney fees and costs from the defendant (vehicle manufacturer/dealer). In other words, if your new car, truck, boat, motorhome, or recreational vehicle fails you multiple times and you win or settle your case, then manufacturers (such as Honda, Chrysler, Toyota, Kia, Coachmen, Gulfstream, Newmar, or Vogue) will have to pay for your attorney fees.

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Buying a new vehicle is statistically the second largest purchase that most consumers partake in their lifetime, behind purchasing a new home. Often times, the negotiation process itself is stressful enough. To avoid owning a lemon vehicle that will inconvenience and acquiring a headache down the road, it is important to be mindful of the following red flags… In the vehicle manufacturing business, there will be a small percentage of defects. Your goal is to avoid owning a lemon car in that small percentage; because taking a new Ford vehicle in the service center for warranty work is not the ideal situation to be in.

1) If the vehicle already has high mileages on it. A new car should not have over 300 miles on it. High mileage vehicles mean that other potential buyers test drove the vehicle and passed up on it, for a reason.

2) If the vehicle has visual defects or dings. Decline the vehicle and pick another vehicle from the lot, or go to a different dealership — even if the salesperson (who wants you to buy the vehicle to earn a commission so he/she can quickly work on another deal with another consumer) promises you that the dealership will repair it before they hand it to you.

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Question:

“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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