Lemon Laws in Connecticut

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Connecticut’s lemon laws apply to new cars that have been purchased or leased in Connecticut within two years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first). This includes passenger cars, trucks, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles that weigh less than 12,500 pounds.
If your vehicle keeps running into the same problem even after you’ve taken it in for repairs, you may have a lemon. But don’t despair, Connecticut’s lemon laws are there to help you out.
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Continue reading to learn more about lemon laws in Connecticut.
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What is a lemon law?

In general terms, lemon laws are laws designed to protect consumers from defective products. This is especially the case for automobiles, like cars, motorcycles, and trucks.
Fun fact: Connecticut is where the lemon law was born, and now all fifty states and Washington D.C. have their own variation of them.
A vehicle is considered a lemon if it has a manufacturer’s defect that can’t be repaired satisfactorily in a predetermined, “reasonable” period of time. A “reasonable” period of time varies depending on the state.
If the vehicle can’t be fixed, the manufacturer, not the dealership, is required to either buy the car back or to replace the faulty car with a new one at their own expense.

Is there a lemon law in Connecticut?

Yes, Connecticut’s lemon law extends to new cars purchased or leased in Connecticut.

Is my defect covered under the lemon law?

Your new car purchased or leased in the state of Connecticut could be considered a lemon if it’s within 2 years or 24,000 miles of purchasing it (whichever comes first), your car meets the following criteria:
  • You’ve had to bring it in for repairs two to four times at least
  • The defect cannot be repaired in less than thirty days
  • Your vehicle’s problems are all caused by the same defect
  • The defect was not caused by any neglect, abuse, or alterations on your part
  • The defect affects a component that is covered under your vehicle’s express warranty
Connecticut’s lemon laws extend only to new motor vehicles that are purchased or leased within the state. This includes passenger cars, trucks, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles weighing less than 12,500 pounds.
Key Takeaway Connecticut’s lemon laws only apply to brand new cars purchased or leased in Connecticut.

Are used cars covered under the lemon law?

No, Connecticut’s lemon laws do not cover used cars.
For this reason, due diligence is important when it comes to used car shopping. Make sure to test drive the car before you buy it.
Also, purchase a CARFAX report or look into the vehicle’s history, including any recalls for the make, model, and year. Have a mechanic evaluate it, if you can.
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What about new cars?

Yes, new cars are covered under lemon laws for up to two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Your manufacturer has around two to four opportunities to fix the defect in that time frame. If your new car requires the same repair more than four times, e, then your car is considered a lemon.
If you have altered, neglected, or abused your car in any way since you purchased it, your vehicle may no longer qualify for protection under lemon laws.

How to pursue your lemon law rights in Connecticut

Your first step in pursuing your lemon law rights in Connecticut should be to determine whether or not your car is eligible for lemon law protection.
If your car was purchased new in Connecticut, is less than 12,500 tons gross vehicle weight, and the manufacturer has made at least one attempt to repair the defect, you should qualify for a lemon law case.
If you’ve purchased the car, you should contact the manufacturer to officially lodge a complaint (send a certified letter and make sure to keep a copy). If you leased the car, you must alert the leasing company that you intend to file the claim.
The next step is to undergo arbitration. Arbitration is required in the state of Connecticut. After you pay a $50 filing fee and submit a request form, the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) will determine whether or not your car is eligible and if the case should go forward.
If the DCP denies the application, your fee is returned, along with an explanation why. If they accept, the case will be allowed to go forward.
If you are not satisfied with arbitration and want to pursue legal action, it’s highly advised that you find an attorney that specializes in lemon law cases.
The legal process is lengthy and often complex, and the vehicle manufacturers will have legal representation that will help them navigate it. Make sure you have the same.
Diligence is key in getting a satisfactory response to your situation if you should find yourself stuck with a lemon. Keeping good records, including invoices from your repair attempts that are time-stamped with the odometer readings, following the steps as best you can, and getting as much legal help as possible can make all the difference.
Fulfilling all the requirements along the way will significantly strengthen your case.
Keep in mind, however, that just because you’ve followed all the rules does not automatically guarantee that you’ll win your case.
Manufacturers may argue that they were not given “reasonable attempts” to fix the problem. This is also why you need to bring your car to the dealership or manufacturer for repairs rather than an independent mechanic, so that manufacturers cannot dispute the repairs.
Key Takeaway Make sure that you keep diligent records of all of your car repairs and any contact that you have with the manufacturer.

Lemon law tips

A few things to keep in mind:
  • If you modify your vehicle in any way, whether by customization, neglect, abuse, or misuse, lemon laws will no longer apply to your car.
  • All repairs should be made through the manufacturer or dealership, or by repair facilities that the dealer has authorized. Keep all of the records of these repairs.
  • Keep your terminology consistent. If you initially referred to the defect as the car “stalling,” for example, keep referring to it as “stalling.” Don’t change how you refer to the problem, or a manufacturer can argue that the issue does not need to be fixed repeatedly, which is not covered by the lemon law.
  • Lemon laws can vary from state to state, including their requirements. If your situation is not covered by the lemon laws in your state, you may still be protected by the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Talk to an appropriate attorney to find out your options.
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