Important Lessons about Buying a Used Car

Posted by sally on March 29th, 2012

The Hartford Courant ran a great story about a local FOX News investigation into a young woman’s bad experience in buying a used car. The 18-year-old purchased a 1996 Corsica for around $1,000, only to find that it wasn’t road-worthy. Although the vehicle failed its Massachusetts state inspection, and although the used car dealer had 17 DMV complaints filed against him, he’s still in business. He did, however, refund the buyer’s money.

The article also has excellent tips on what to do when considering the purchase of a used car, including checking the vehicle’s history, having a mechanic check it out, researching the car’s value, and asking for service records.

Connecticut’s Lemon Law Arbitration Program Examined

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on March 7th, 2010

Connecticut’s Lemon Law Arbitration Program

Unlike in many other states, Connecticut residents who have defective cars have the opportunity to enter into a state-run arbitration program rather than simply taking auto manufacturers to court. The problem is that, while on the surface arbitration programs look like a good deal for consumers, many people don’t realize how complicated the process is. Let’s take a look at what’s involved.

First, according to lemon law rules, you need to file a request for arbitration. Your application and filing fee may be accepted or rejected. If your application is accepted, it is next reviewed by an arbitration panel, which consists of an arbitrator and a technical expert. There, it may again be accepted or rejected.

For many people, even filling out the application form can be confusing. For example, you need to choose between what’s called a “documentary hearing” or an “oral hearing.” In a documentary hearing, both you and the auto manufacturer have to turn in sworn statements and other evidence and documentation. The arbitration panel will only consider this written material when deciding your case. This process becomes daunting when you realize that the car manufacturer has a team of legal eagles at its disposal to poke holes in your written argument. It’s a bit like a Sampson and Goliath situation.

The same is really true for an oral hearing. As the name implies, you get to make your case verbally before the arbitration panel. But that doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook for written documentation. Indeed, you have to bring all sorts of written material to an oral hearing, including warranties, correspondence, work orders, and so forth. You’ll need to communicate all the conversations you’ve had with the dealer or manufacturer, have a list of questions to ask the manufacturer’s representatives, and prepare a closing argument.

That’s why it makes sense to have a lemon law attorney by your side. Most consumers aren’t Perry Mason, and shouldn’t be expected to go toe-to-toe with a carmaker’s legal team. A good lemon lawyer, like those at LemonJustice.com, is experienced in litigation and can prepare a case that will pave the way for a lemon buyback. Plus, at attorney can give you sound lemon law advice so that you have a strong case when going into arbitration. Alternately, he can approach the automaker directly, and reach a settlement without ever having to enter state-run arbitration.

Lemon Law Rules: Connecticut’s Arbitration Program

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on March 7th, 2010

Connecticut’s Arbitration Program

According to many states’  lemon laws, having a defective car means taking an automobile manufacturer to court. But in CT, lemon law rules provide for what’s known as an arbitration program. Administered by the Department of Consumer Protection, the arbitration program decides whether or not your vehicle meets the criteria of Connecticut lemon laws, and whether you’re eligible for arbitration. Ultimately, the arbitration program decides whether or not you’re eligible for a lemon buyback.

In order to take advantage of the state’s arbitration program, you need to file an application and documents, as well as pay a fee. First, the Department of Consumer Protection will review your application and determine whether or not you’re eligible for arbitration. If so, your application goes on to an arbitrator and an automotive technical expert. These two people will also review your application, and can determine that you’re ineligible for arbitration – even if the Department of Consumer Protection said that you are.

While Connecticut lemon law supposedly designed the lemon law arbitration process so that consumers don’t have to hire an attorney, the reality is that it’s a very complex and intimidating process. It doesn’t help that auto manufacturers show up for arbitration with or submit documents from teams of attorneys who do nothing but fight lemon law claims. One slip-up by the consumer – either in terms of the paperwork filed or in not countering the arguments of the manufacturer’s legal team, and the idea of justice is out the window.

Whether you live in Connecticut –  or any other state with an arbitration program – it’s important to have an attorney by your side. The right lawyer can give you lemon law advice, and can often get you a settlement or a lemon buy back without ever going through the arbitration process. Often, an auto manufacturer will back down because having a lemon law lawyer sends the message that you’re serious about your claim, and that you’re not willing to put up with a defective car.

If you think you have a lemon vehicle, it’s important to contact an attorney early. In lemon law cases, timing is everything. A lemon law lawyer will consult with you and guide you through the process of substantiating your claim, collecting the proper documentation, and bringing the auto manufacturer to justice. 

An Overview of Connecticut Lemon Law

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on March 7th, 2010

Most people don’t realize that Connecticut was the first state in the nation to adopt lemon law rules. That was back in 1982, and since then, every state in the nation has passed its own set of lemon laws. Connecticut was a leader then, and it still has some of the most robust lemon laws in the nation. Still, many CT residents don’t fully understand the lemon law and how it might apply to them. Here’s an overview.

A new car lemon is essentially a defective vehicle. However, CT lemon law doesn’t cover every single defect. It only covers defects that affect the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. So, for example, if the seat’s fabric were defective, the car wouldn’t be considered a lemon. On the other hand, if the vehicle had faulty brakes, that defect would be covered under the lemon law.

Connecticut’s lemon law rules also outline a timeframe during which a vehicle is covered. The defects have to show up within the first two years of the day you (or the original owner) took receipt of the vehicle, or the first 24,000 miles on the odometer – whichever comes first.

Just because a vehicle has a defect doesn’t automatically make it a lemon. What makes a car a lemon is when the defect can’t be or hasn’t been repaired. While CT lemon law says that a “reasonable” number of repair attempts must be made, which is defined as four repair attempts. This means that, if you’ve taken the vehicle in for service four times and the problem isn’t fixed, and if the problem is one that affects the use, value, or safety of the vehicle, you likely have a lemon on your hands.

There are a couple of other ways to meet the criteria for Connecticut lemon laws. For example, even if you haven’t taken your vehicle in four times for repair, it can still be considered a lemon if it’s been out of service for a cumulative total of 30 days for a number of unrelated problems. Likewise, if the defect is one that might cause serious injury or death if you drive the car, you have lemon law rights after two or more repair attempts during the first year you own the car.

Dealing with lemon law issues can be daunting for consumers, most of whom have never had to navigate the legal maze involved with a lemon buyback. That’s why it’s in your best interest to get lemon law advice from at attorney who specializes in lemon law. The attorneys at LemonJustice.com are standing by, ready to assist you. Call today for a free case evaluation.

Lemon Law Helps with Assistive Technologies

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on January 22nd, 2009

Recently, when I was browsing an article at examiner.com, I was reminded about an important Connecticut Lemon Law that’s often overlooked: Connecticut’s Assistive Technology Lemon Law. In a nutshell, if you buy or lease an assistive device, it’s covered for the length of the manufacturer’s warranty term or two years from the date of delivery – whichever is longer. Similar to auto lemon laws, the AT Lemon Law states that the defect has to impair the safety, use, or value of the assistive device.

The law says that, when there’s a defect, the manufacturer or dealer has to repair it within 10 days. If it takes longer to repair it, or if it’s the third repair attempt, the manufacturer has to reimburse you for the cost of an alternative AT device. After three repair attempts or after the AT device has been out of service for 30 days, you have the right to ask for a comparable replacement or a refund (including interest and finance charges). If you’ve leased the device, you can request either a replacement or early termination of the lease and a refund of monies paid. Similar to auto lemon laws, the amount refunded can be reduced an amount in alignment with how long you’ve used the device.