Two new car buyers purchased the same year, make, and model vehicle from Chrysler. The main difference between these two buyers is that one purchased their vehicle in Texas, while the other purchased it in California.
Quiz: in the event that both vehicles are defective lemon cars, which consumer is better off and more likely to get a repurchase or replacement?
Answer: the California car owner is more likely to win their lemon law case. Why, you ask?
The reasoning is because each state has its own version of the “lemon law.” The California Lemon Law has provisions that are much more consumer friendly than Texas Lemon Law. As to why California law is better than Texas law?…my suspicion is that car manufacturers have been more successful in effectuating lemon law legislation by utilizing lobbyists and special interest groups in Texas than in California.
Here are some significant differences between Texas and California lemon law:
1) California lemon law has an automatic attorney fee shifting provision that forces the car manufacturer to pay the consumer’s attorney fee if the consumer wins. Texas only allows consumer attorneys to become involved only if the car manufacturer is represented by an attorney first (otherwise, the consumer will have to pay for their own attorney fee).
2) The mileage deduction for a vehicle repurchase or replacement in Texas assumes that the average lifespan of a vehicle is 120,000, which is an extremely heavy deduction against the consumer, as compared to California.
3) California law covers small business vehicles, while Texas law focuses on personal consumer use.
4) Texas has a “30 day” repair presumption similar to California, but the only way the rebuttable presumption is triggered is only if the dealer or manufacturer failed to provide the consumer with a comparable loaner vehicle.