"Reasonable Opportunity to Repair"

The Texas Department of Transportation has just released its 2008 Lemon Law Report, showing that consumers purchasing or leasing defective new vehicles received $7.6 million in relief through the Texas Lemon Law in 2008, and more than $101.6 million in relief since 1993. Of the 629 Texas lemon law complaints closed last year, 57.7 percent were satisfied with some form of relief for defective vehicles; 29.6 percent had their vehicles repurchased, replaced or traded by the manufacturer and an additional 28.1 percent received repairs, extended service contracts or other remedies.

A key advantage in a lemon law case in California lies in a legal point known as “the lemon law presumption.” In law, a “presumption” is a provision that allows for a party to prove certain facts, with a jury then being able to presume that some conclusion follows from those facts. The lemon law presumption allows the jury to assume the manufacturer had reasonable opportunity to repair a defective vehicle.

“Consumers often have several ways to establish the presumption that the manufacturer had a reasonable number of repair attempts,” said Norman Taylor, leading California lemon law attorney. “In California, for example, the presumption is established if any of the following occurs within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles: The same defect is subject to repair four or more times; the same defect is subject to repair two or more times, and is a serious safety defect that is likely to cause death or bodily injury; or the vehicle is out of service for repairs for a cumulative total of more than thirty days, for any combination of defects.”

Taylor knows the details of this law well. He has been a lemon law specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor and Associates, have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98 percent success rate. He is one of the leading lemon law attorneys in southern and all of California.

“If a California consumer establishes any of these three points, the consumer has met his or her burden of proving that the manufacturer has had a reasonable number of repair attempts,” Taylor said.

It is extremely important to understand that the lemon law presumption is not the only test for whether a consumer qualifies for a vehicle replacement or refund. In fact many manufacturers have misled consumers for years to believe that they did not qualify for a lemon law buyback if they did not meet the presumption. In many states, a vehicle can still be a lemon even if no repairs occurred during the “lemon period” (the time and mileage limit on the lemon law presumption). Hence, if you think you may be driving a lemon, it is vital that you contact a qualified lemon law attorney right away.

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