Lemon Law for the Consumer
A new car is the most expensive purchase many people make. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average price of a new car sold in the United States is about $30,000. That’s why it’s important to know how to get help if your dream car turns out to be a nightmare.
Connecticut was the first state to put a “Lemon Law” in place to help owners of defective new vehicles. Since it began more than twenty-five years ago, the Lemon Law program has returned more than $60 million in refunds and replacement vehicles to Connecticut consumers.
The “Lemon Law” is a nickname for Connecticut General Statute Chapter 743b, “Automobile Warranties.” The law put into place an informal arbitration process to resolve disputes between passenger vehicle owners and manufacturers.
The Lemon Law covers vehicles that are registered as “passenger,” “combination” or “motorcycle” that are bought or leased new in Connecticut.
The law covers those vehicles that do not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty, and have substantial manufacturer's defects affecting the use, safety or value of the vehicle.
The defects must have shown up within the first two years after the original owner took delivery or within the first 24,000 miles on the odometer (whichever comes first). Repairs must have been attempted during a certain time period, but these defects could not be repaired, even after “a reasonable number of attempts."
Frequently Asked Questions
Before applying to the Lemon Law program, you should report the vehicle’s ongoing problems to the manufacturer. Check your owner’s manual/warranty booklet for the address and telephone number of the office designated to receive your complaint. Your manual will also tell you if the manufacturer requires written notice when you file a claim requesting a refund or replacement vehicle. If that notice is required, you must write and inform the manufacturer. Maintain a copy of the letter for potential inclusion with the arbitration hearing.
If you lease your vehicle, you must write and tell the leasing company that you are applying for Lemon Law arbitration. Inform them that if they wish to be a party to the proceedings, they must notify the Department of their intent within ten (10) days of receiving your letter. You must send the letter to the leasing company by certified or registered mail. Maintain a copy of the letter and postal receipt for potential inclusion with the arbitration hearing.
We will review your application. If information is missing, we will return your application and filing fee to you, with a list of the information or documents that are missing.
If your application is complete, we will determine whether your case meets the eligibility criteria.
If we find that your case is not eligible, we will return your filing fee to you with an explanation as to why your case did not qualify.
If your case is eligible, we will contact you and the manufacturer for the next steps.