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.