When you think of large purchases, a car is probably one of the first items that comes to mind. It’s something that you depend on to get you to and from work, as well as everywhere in between. With that being said, you want your car to work, especially considering the fact that it’s a large investment. But, what happens when your new-to-you-car suddenly stops working? Or, what happens if it has problem after problem? You may think that there’s nothing you can do, and you just have to deal with it. Luckily, vehicle buyers have the protection of the Connecticut Lemon Law.
Fortunately, you may be wrong. In some cases, there is something that you can do. All 50 states have their own version of a law that protects consumers from this specific situation—they’re called Lemon Laws. The CT Lemon Law provides specific protections for owners of vehicles that are purchased or leased in Connecticut.
One lesser-known fun fact about Connecticut’s Lemon Law statute is that it is formally known as Connecticut General Statute Chapter 743b, “Automotive Warranties”. This statute establishes your rights as an owner or lessee, and details a comprehensive set of regulations designed to deal with lemon cars and protect consumers.
If you didn’t know about the Lemon Law in Connecticut before now, you probably have plenty of questions. This article provides an overview of the CT Lemon Law stipulations, including Connecticut’s definition of a lemon, what the statute covers, how you file a complaint and what the process includes. As always, please contact us for more information about your specific case, as the text below is a general overview.
The law defines a “lemon” as a motor vehicle (meaning a passengercar, combination, or motorcycle) purchased or leased in Connecticutthat does not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty, andcannot be repaired after “a reasonable number of attempts.”
Just because there is a law in place to protect consumers from faulty vehicles doesn’t meant that every vehicle can be considered a lemon. The Lemon Law in Connecticut covers new passenger, combination passenger/commercial vehicles that are leased or purchased in Connecticut. It also covers new motorcycles purchased or leased in Connecticut. It does not cover used vehicles.
As you can imagine, if the lemon law covered every single vehicle, every time an owner has a problem with their car, they’d demand a refund. This would cause dealerships to go out of business left and right. The CT Lemon Law is in place to balance the need for manufacturers and dealerships to remedy a problem situation without putting undue hardships on them. As such, your vehicle must meet specific requirements to qualify for remedy under the CT Lemon Law.
The Lemon Law in Connecticut applies to any car that any of the following applies to:
Under the law, new vehicles that meet the following requirements are covered:
The following list includes what is not covered under the law:
Under the Lemon Law in Connecticut, a “reasonable amount of repairs attempts” must be made before being able to use the Connecticut Lemon Law Arbitration Program. Please note that repair attempts must be within the eligibility period.
Under this law, a “reasonable number” can mean any of the following:
In all cases, the manufacturer or their agent, usually the dealer, must be the only organizations who attempt repairs of the vehicle.
Under the Connecticut Lemon Law, you must immediately notify the dealer or manufacturer of your vehicle’s problems immediately. Check your owner’s manual or warranty booklet for the contact information of the zone office designated to receive your complaint. The warranty booklet should also tell you if the manufacturer requires written notification of a claim requesting a refund or replacement vehicle. If such notification is required, you must write to the manufacturer. Please include a copy of your letter to the manufacturer with your Lemon Law application.
If you lease your vehicle, you must advise the leasing company that you are applying for Lemon Law Arbitration, and if they wish to be a party to the proceedings, they must advise the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) of their intent within ten (10) days of their receipt of your letter. The letter to the leasing company must be sent certified or registered, and a copy of the letter and postal receipt must be included with your application.
As mentioned earlier, just because there is a problem with a new vehicle, it is not automatically classified as a lemon. The dealer or manufacturer must have attempted to fix the issue four or more times, twice if it is an issue that puts the occupants in danger, or it has been off the road for more than thirty days. Proving this is important, and this is where documentation comes in.
If you’ve determined that you would like to apply for Connecticut’s Lemon Law coverage, there are certain steps you must take. First, contact DCP and ask for the “Request for Arbitration” form. Find the eligibility quiz to verify you are eligible by visiting www.ct.gov/DCP/lemon. Once you have determined you are eligible, you may access and print the arbitration form from DCP’s website.
Once you obtain the arbitration form, complete it and send it to DCP as soon as possible with the required $50.00 fee. This fee is refunded in the event that your case doesn’t qualify for arbitration under the Connecticut Lemon Law.
DCP will review your Request for Arbitration to make sure all necessary documents have been submitted. If information has been omitted, your Request for Arbitration will be returned to you along with a list of the information or documents required to complete the submission. If all documents and information have been included, DCP will complete an initial review of your case to determine whether basic eligibility criteria have been met. If the review results in your case going to arbitration, DCP will notify the car’s manufacturer to ask for submission of a manufacturer’s statement and a filing fee of $250. The arbitrator will make the final determination as to the eligibility of your case. It is possible for a case to be deemed ineligible by the arbitrator even though it was initially deemed eligible by DCP.
DCP typically resolves disputes within 60 days from the date the completed form is received to the date a decision is reached. Once the arbitrator renders the decision, it cannot be changed or modified, either by the arbitrator or DCP.
The law provides basic guidelines for refunds and replacements, butthere is no fixed rule. Each case is treated individually by the arbitrator whendetermining an award. If the decision is in your favor, the award willgenerally be:
An arbitrator may or may not award a mileage deduction for the use of thevehicle. Refund or replacement awards may also include reimbursement forother damages or costs. Be advised to keep your receipts.
If the arbitrator finds the defects in question do not substantiallyimpair the use, safety or value of the vehicle, a “no action” decisionwill be made. Your recourse would then be to seek legal counsel forprivate litigation against the manufacturer.
Dealing with the legal complications, the potential issues of arbitration and being faced with expensive legal teams representing the manufacturer, there are many ways to fail to acquire your just remedies even with a proven lemon vehicle.Contact us today to learn how we can help you resolve your lemon law case in Connecticut.