The 411 about the Lemon Law
An estimated 1% of new cars manufactured today are lemons. Our definition of a lemon car is a vehicle that cannot be fixed after multiple attempts or a specific period of time, both of which are determined by the state. Every state has its own version and definition of “lemon law” to help protect consumers who just got stuck with a defective new car. In this blog we will cover “lemon law” as it pertains to the state of Connecticut. Although lemon laws do vary state to state, there are many commonalities. This should give you a better understanding of what to expect.
The “Lemon Law” is a nickname for Connecticut General Statute Chapter 743b, “Automotive Warranties.” It establishes arbitration as an informal process for resolving disputes between consumers and automobile manufacturers. The law defines a lemon as a new motor vehicle (passenger car, combination or motorcycle) purchased or leased in Connecticut which does not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty and which, after “a reasonable number of attempts” cannot be repaired. The Lemon Law covers all new passenger, combination passenger/ commercial vehicles and motorcycles purchased or leased in the state of Connecticut.
In order to qualify as a lemon under CT state law, the car must (1) have a substantial defect covered by the warranty that occurred within a certain period of time or number of miles after you bought the car, and (2) not be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts. In most states, the lemon law only applies to new cars.
A “substantial defect” is a problem covered by the warranty that impairs the car’s use, value, or safety, such as faulty brakes or steering. Minor defects such as loose radio knobs and door handles do not meet the legal definition of “substantial defect.”
As with most legal definitions, the line between a “minor” and a “substantial” defect is not always clear. Some not-so-obvious conditions, such as defective paint jobs or horrible smells, have been found to be substantial defects.
The substantial defect must occur within a certain period of time, two years or within a certain number of miles (24,000). The defect must not be caused by abuse.
Reasonable Repair Attempts
You must allow the dealer or manufacturer to make a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix a substantial problem before your car is considered to be a lemon. Usually, you must meet one of the following standards to be protected under your state’s lemon law:
•If the defect is a serious safety defect (for example, involving brakes or steering), it must remain unfixed after one repair attempt.
•If the defect is not a serious safety defect, it must remain unfixed after three or four repair attempts (the number varies by state).
•If the vehicle is in the shop a certain number of days (usually 30 days in a one-year period) to fix one or more substantial warranty defects, it may fit the definition of a lemon.
In short, if you think your car qualifies under the Lemon Law information above feel free to contact us for some assistance. We would be more than happy to help you get out of your Lemon and into a perfectly brand new car. It’s how we make Lemon’s into Lemonade here at Tristate Auto Champs.