Seven Tips for a Successful Lemon Law Claim


If you own or lease a new motor vehicle in Connecticut and you find yourself making frequent trips to the dealership for repairs, it is time to consider applying for relief under the lemon law.

Every new vehicle comes with a standard warranty from the manufacturer, which guarantees that the vehicle will be free of mechanical defects for a period of time. If your vehicle suffers from consistent mechanical defects during that time, you may be eligible for a refund or replacement vehicle from the manufacturer under Connecticut’s lemon law.

If you think your vehicle may be a lemon, follow these steps to educate yourself and make your lemon law claim as strong as possible:

1. Read our article to find out more about Connecticut’s lemon law and determine whether you might qualify for relief:

2. Be mindful of the statutory period for relief.

To qualify for a refund or replacement under the lemon law, you must report your vehicle’s defects to an authorized dealership within the earlier of 1) your first two years of owning the vehicle or 2) the vehicle’s first 24,000 miles. If you notice that your vehicle is not functioning properly, do not wait to report its defects to your dealership. Failure to report the defects within the time described above could be detrimental to your lemon law claim.

3. Make sure you ask for a written repair order after every repair attempt.

A strong lemon law claim is supported by evidence 1) that you have reported the vehicle’s defects to an authorized dealership, as described above, and 2) that the dealership has taken steps to repair your vehicle. Each time the dealership services or repairs your vehicle, the law requires that the dealership generate a written repair order detailing the concerns reported and the work completed.

 If the dealership does not provide you with copies of these repair orders, you should make sure to request them and review them carefully before you leave the dealership. If the dealership failed to document any of the concerns you reported, you should request that the dealership immediately correct the repair order to accurately reflect your concerns and the steps that the dealership took to rectify them. Even if the dealership was unable to duplicate a concern, the repair order should state that. Keep all repair orders, as you will need to submit them in support of your lemon law claim.

Lack of documentation can be detrimental to an otherwise strong lemon law claim. In the event that your dealership fails or refuses to generate a repair order for any particular repair attempt, document the date, time, and reason for the repair.

4. Make a written request to the manufacturer for repurchase.

Under Connecticut’s lemon law, the manufacturer must buy back or replace your vehicle if it meets the criteria set forth in the lemon law statute. Specifically, you should request that the manufacturer repurchase your vehicle if 1) your vehicle has been out of service by reason of repair for a total of 30 days or more; 2) your vehicle’s non-safety-related defect has been subject to repair at least four times; or 3) your vehicle’s safety-related defect has been subject to repair at least two times.

If the manufacturer denies your request, you should ask for a written denial. If your vehicle meets the criteria set forth above, it may be against the law for a manufacturer to refuse your request for repurchase. Keep all correspondence and documentation regarding your request(s) for repurchase.

5. Be wary of settlement offers by the manufacturer.

If your vehicle has been subject to multiple repairs within the warranty period, the manufacturer may offer you a monetary settlement or payment for “customer satisfaction.” To obtain the funds, the manufacturer may require you to sign certain documents. Read these documents carefully and, if possible, ask an experienced lemon law attorney to review them before you sign.

Such documents may include provisions which have the effect of releasing the manufacturer from liability under the lemon law. If you sign a document containing such a provision, you may be unable to seek a refund or replacement in connection with your defective vehicle in the event that the defects persist.

6. Get your documents in order.

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection offers a consumer-friendly and informal arbitration process to adjudicate lemon law claims. In order to bring a claim before the Department of Consumer Protection, you will need to submit an application for arbitration along with various documents to support your claim. These documents might include your purchase or lease agreement, finance agreement, repair orders, and more.

Failure to submit the proper documentation with your application for arbitration may result in the automatic denial of your claim, so it is important that you submit all the correct documents.

7. Contact a lemon law attorney.

The lemon law process can be daunting and difficult for consumers to navigate. If you believe your vehicle is a lemon or would like an attorney to represent you in the lemon law arbitration process, please contact one of Cohen and Wolf’s experienced attorneys for assistance.


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