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Texas Celebrates 30 Years of Lemon Law Relief

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Texas celebrates three decades of Lemon Law relief for new car buyers

AUSTIN—November 3, 2013: Don't let the stress of having problems with a new vehicle put the squeeze on you. Today the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) is celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the state's Lemon Law. To mark the occasion, Governor Rick Perry has proclaimed today "Texas Lemon Law Day."

Through this law, consumers buying or leasing defective new vehicles have filed more than 16,000 complaints and received more than $113 million in relief.

"Buying a new car or truck is a big decision for many families," said TxDMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster. "If your new vehicle has unresolved problems, we're here to help. In many cases, the TxDMV can work directly with the consumer and manufacturer to reach an amicable resolution." Texas was one of the first states to pass a Lemon Law to assist buyers and manufacturers with new vehicle warranty performance.

"The Lemon Law is a true case where we took lemons and turned them into lemonade," said former Senator R.E. – Buster' Brown who authored the bill during the 68th Texas Legislature in 1983. "As a state senator, I heard about so many cases where an individual purchased a vehicle and spent years trying to get an incurable flaw fixed. This law provides real relief for the innocent car owner."

The TxDMV provides a wealth of consumer protection resources to assist Texans before they even begin the process of buying a vehicle. Once the purchase is complete, if you have repeated problems getting the vehicle to operate the way it should, the TxDMV may be able to provide "Lemon-Aid."

The first step for consumers is to file a Lemon Law complaint form with a $35 fee and provide notice of the complaint to the manufacturer with a final opportunity to fix the problem.

Lemon Law program staff will review the complaint and attempt to resolve it through mediation between both parties. If unresolved, the complaint will be referred for a hearing before an administrative law judge at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). (Note: Beginning in January 2014, the hearing process will transfer from SOAH to the TxDMV.) Resolution options include repurchase, repair or refund depending on the facts of the case.

The Texas Lemon Law applies to new or leased cars, trucks, motorcycles, motor homes and titled/registered travel trailers. Used vehicles may be covered under laws related to warranty performance if they are still covered by the manufacturer's original warranty.

---- The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) is charged with overseeing the state's motor vehicle services that provide consumer protection, assist motor vehicle-related businesses and raise revenue for the state. For every $1 it spends, the TxDMV returns $10 to build and maintain highways, roads and bridges and provide needed services to Texans. Each year the agency registers more than 23 million vehicles; regulates more than 23,000 vehicle dealers; credentials buses and big trucks for intrastate and interstate commerce; and awards grants to law enforcement agencies to reduce vehicle burglaries and thefts. Learn more at Texas DMV.