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The Connecticut Lemon Law: 5 Things Every Consumer Should Know

Last month, you may have heard about Nick Murray, a Connecticut resident who gained some internet attention from his YouTube videos documenting the unmerchantable condition of his new Porsche 911, as well as his frustration in seeking a refund or replacement under the Connecticut Lemon Law.

Some of his earlier videos describe a series of disputes with Porsche, where Porsche was offering to refund him less than the purchase price of the car, and was not offering him a replacement, but Nick's latest video tells us that Porsche eventually agreed to provide him with his choice of either option.

In light of the recent attention on the subject, here are 5 things we think every consumer should know about lemon cars in Connecticut.

1) The Connecticut Lemon Law applies ONLY to NEW vehicles. That means that the Vehicle's defects must be apparent in the Vehicle's first 24 months or 24,000 miles of operation. Consumers who buy used cars may have other rights if they buy defective cars, but not under the Lemon Law.

2) The Connecticut Lemon Law applies ONLY to passenger cars, combination vehicles and motorcycles. It does not apply to Recreational Vehicles.

3) A consumer may be entitled to a refund or a replacement under the Connecticut Lemon Law when suffers defect persists after 4 repair attempts, or is out of service for more than 30 days, within the first 2 years or 24,000 miles of its life. A vehicle may also qualify when, within the first year or original express warranty term, 2 repair attempts are made relating to a defect that is likely to result in death or serious bodily injury.

4) If a car is considered a lemon, whether the consumer gets a refund or a replacement depends on the agreement of the manufacturer and the consumer. Sometimes, a manufacturer may want to give only a refund, while a consumer may want a replacement. The Connecticut lemon law does not obligate the manufacturer to pick one option over another. Sometimes, the consumer or the manufacturer may chose to submit the claim to arbitration or court. In that case, the arbitrator or the judge will decide what happens.

5) Although a "refund" is defined by the Connecticut lemon law as the full contract price and collateral charges, the lemon law also allows a manufacturer to deduct a "reasonable allowance" for the consumer's use of the car. This means that the manufacturer might be able to return less than the full purchase price to the consumer. The theory is that the manufacturer is entitled to some compensation for the devalued condition of the vehicle-if the consumer has racked up many miles, the car will not be worth as much money. The formula for calculating the mileage deduction is:

( number of miles traveled by consumer before manufacturer's acceptance of return/ 120,000) * The total contract price.

Many manufacturers may refuse to return a consumer's full purchase price, arguing that they are entitled to deduct for mileage. However, the lemon law does not guarantee a manufacturer compensation for a consumer's use. In many cases, a court or an arbitrator may order the return of the FULL purchase price. Many consumers, like Nick, are also able to negotiate full refunds or exchanges without legal action.

We're glad to hear that Nick is going to be getting the refund or replacement he wants. Consumers facing lemon law issues can certainly take advice from Nick's example: document the vehicle's defects when they are happening, keep good records, and be persistent.

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