Buying big ticket appliances, such as washers, dryers, refrigerators and stoves that don't work properly can be a frustrating experience for consumers. Not only can businesses be prosecuted by the attorney general in Texas if to many complaints are issued, but if the business also continues to sell malfunctioning appliances it can lose market value and costumers. In Texas, lemon laws protect consumers who purchase faulty appliances.
Although lemon laws generally refer to new cars, in Texas they apply to new appliances as well. The law applies to new appliances only because they are usually under a manufacturer warranty. If the appliance is not under warranty, it can not be considered a lemon. Warranties are a promise of proper appliance operations. If an appliance does not operate according to the manual that accompanies it, it may be a lemon. The warranty covers the repairs an appliance may need, and the manufacturer is liable for any repairs the appliance may need.
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
In 1975, Congress passed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which protects consumers when they purchase warrantied appliances. The act stipulates that any business that guarantees it's appliance functioning properly is liable for not only repairs, but refunds or replacements as well. The act does not cover any oral misrepresentations or promises made by a retailer. The act enables consumers a way to litigate with manufacturers. It also provides a resolution process that a consumer is required to participate in before a Texas court will hear the case. The resolution process usually requires a mediation between the consumer and the manufacturer. If mediation does not produce results the consumer may continue with the lawsuit.
There is a multitude of steps that the consumer may or may not wish to take if they have a lemon appliance. In order for an appliance to be considered a lemon, at least four attempts to fix it have to be made in Texas. Keep all documentation of repair orders and a record of what the repair man said. Contact the manufacturer by certified mail and send copies of all documentation. The manufacturer should respond within a month. If a resolution can not be found at that time a consumer may wish to hire an attorney. If the consumer wins the suit, the manufacturer will pay the attorney fees, according to the Texas Business and Commerce Code. After a lawsuit is filed, a consumer may wish to settle out of court, but the consumer must do so no later than 60 days after the lawsuit was filed and there was mediation, or 90 days if there was no mediation.