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In the automotive world, a lemon is a vehicle fraught with mechanical problems. The lemon law in Texas is designed to protect consumers from such defective products, providing them with guidelines on how to seek redress and, if necessary, authorization to take the matter to court. In legal terminology, a defect is known as a nonconformity and can be anything that is covered under a warranty specified by the manufacturer that manufactured, distributed or converted a vehicle. This defect may create a safety hazard, such as the risk of a fire or an explosion, and in any event will prevent someone from successfully operating the vehicle while also reducing its market value.
The lemon law in Texas covers every vehicle that has at least two wheels, is self-propelled and is designed to carry people or property on or off the road. The law also extends to vehicles with a weight rating of more than 16,000 pounds and which have an engine, a transmission or a rear axle, as well as to recreational vehicles that can be towed. Protections under the law are guaranteed to those who purchase vehicles from licensed dealers in Texas or those who leased them to or from other parties and are residents of the state, or who are members of the U.S. armed forces and were stationed in Texas when the situation arose.
The proceedings in a Texas lemon law case begin with a complaint that must be made in writing by the owner of the vehicle or by someone representing that party. The letter has to be sent directly to the party that made, sold or converted the vehicle, although the complaining party may also want to send a copy of the correspondence to the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission. Under the law, the responsible party will be given the opportunity to make the necessary repairs that will allow the vehicle to be operated properly and will also restore its value. Provided that the initial complaint is made during the warranty period, the repairs will have to be completed whether or not that period of time has expired.
In the event that the problem is not resolved, the responsible party will have to provide the owner with another vehicle or at least offer a reimbursement. Owners may initiate civil lawsuits when responsible parties fail to meet their legal obligations. The court will thus be the final arbiter in resolving such disputes.