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.