Under the lemon laws in Texas, you are required to go through an arbitration procedure conducted by the TX DOT before approaching the court in lemon law cases; here is a look at what you can expect after such an informal hearing:
What can you expect after the hearing?
The decision is released shortly after the hearing by the TX DOT; this includes the reasoning, the summary from the ALJ’s, findings and the facts and conclusions. Based on these, the judge will give one of the following decisions:
* The complaint has no merit and should therefore be dismissed
* The vehicle does indeed have a defect that must be repaired by the manufacturer
* The vehicle can be deemed as a lemon and as such the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement.
What will happen if you win?
Lemon laws in Texas also provide the basic guidelines for compensatory measures in case the consumer wins the hearing, because your situation may be very different from that of another consumer; the judge will review the facts stated above while giving his /her decisions; however, one of the following will be ordered:
A Refund: If a refund is ordered the manufacturer will have to buy back the vehicle at the full purchase price as well as any expenditures that may have been incurred on the vehicle such as registration fees, finance charges, towing and repair expenses etc. However, the manufacturer can deduct some amount for vehicle usage. The amount deducted is not arbitrarily and is calculated based on the number of miles on the car at the time of the hearing
A Replacement: The judge may even order a replacement in which case the manufacturer will have to replace the defective vehicle with a another vehicle that is comparable in value , usually the same model, accessories and make that is acceptable to you. Once again the cost of the replacement vehicle will be the purchase and incidental expenses of the lemon minus the mileage used.
Repair: In this case the manufacturer will be ordered to fix the faults in the car, also the manufacturer will have to reimburse any expenses incurred by the consumer to repair defects covered by the warranty.
Reimbursement of incidental expenses: lemon laws in Texas also allow a provision for the reimbursement of incidental expenses such as the money spent in towing, rentals, meals and lodging if the vehicle broke down out of town, telephone calls, postage and any other expenses incurred.
What if you are not happy with the outcome of the hearing?
The decision of the ALJ’s is not a binding on the consumer or the manufacturer but rather an attempt to resolve the dispute without the hassles of a case, The TX DOT will send you copies f the findings, decision and order by mail. If you are not happy with the outcome, you can always file a motion for rehearing within 20 days of the decisions being mailed to you. You can file the motion with the Motor Vehicle Board or the Motor Vehicle Division; you will them be promptly notified if the motion for rehearing has been granted.
If the Motor Vehicle Division does not grant a rehearing, you can appeal to the State District Court within 30 days f the order denying the motion for rehearing. These provisions are offered to both parties and if the manufacturer has to appeal against the decision at the hearing; the replacement or repurchase order remains in effect even after the appeal is fled. If you intend to approach the court in a matter relating to the TX DOT order, you should hire the services of an attorney promptly.
You can also file a lawsuit against the dealer or manufacturer for breach of the warrant terms or deceptive trade practices or any other issue as long as it is under the applicable statutes of limitations o it is important to get in touch with a private attorney at the earliest.