In the event the lemon law does not apply in your situation, we often turn to the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices–Consumer Protection Act, or “DTPA”, which is located in Chapter 17 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code. A link to the entire statute can be found here under "Chapter 17 Deceptive Trade Practices". The DTPA gives a consumer who purchases a product in Texas the right to recover damages, including attorneys fees, for (1) breach of express warranty; (2) breach of implied warranty; or (3) a misrepresentation or failure to disclose by the seller prior to the purchase.
A breach of express warranty occurs when a manufacturer fails to repair your vehicle pursuant to the written warranty you received, which is known as the bumper to bumper warranty. This occurs when a defect is not repaired after a reasonable number of attempts or within a reasonable amount of time, or when a repair that should be covered is denied.
A warranty denial generally occurs when the dealer or manufacturer refuses to cover the repair because of an exclusion listed in the warranty such as lack of maintenance, modification, neglect, abuse, etc. In such a scenario, the consumer is being blamed for the problem. If this occurs, the manufacturer must prove that the defect was caused by something you did or did not do, such as failure to change the engine oil timely.
In addition to the express warranty, there may also be a breach of the implied warranties. Implied warranties are warranties provided by law and accompany most consumer purchases. The implied warranties are the implied warranty of merchantability and the implied warranty to perform repairs in a good and workmanlike manner.
This warranty applies to new products only and requires that the product be merchantable, or fit for the purpose for which it was intended, at the time you bought it.
If you have a valid claim under the DTPA, then you may be entitled to damages and attorney’s fees. Damages usually are in the form of diminished value, which is the difference between how much you paid for the vehicle and how much the vehicle was worth in its defective condition on the date of purchase. The amount of diminished value damages is a function of the purchase price, the nature of the defects, the days out of service, and the number of repair attempts.
There is a time-limit to file a DTPA claim. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of breach. As a general rule, if the claim is filed within two years of the first reported defect, the claim will be considered timely.
In addition to the DTPA, we will also bring a claim under the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Although both statutes are very similar, there is one key difference: the statute of limitations under the FMMWA is four years from purchase. Thus, if your claim falls outside of the DTPA, we still may have success utilizing the FMMWA. Click here to read pertinent sections of the Federal Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.