A consumer who leased a malfunctioning 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE from a Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Connecticut has been awarded more than $43,000 by the State’s Department of Consumer Protection. This is over and above legal fees, which the manufacturer has to pay separately.
The consumer, represented by Lemberg Law, filed a CT Lemon Law complaint in September 2022 about two years after taking delivery of the vehicle in question. This was after the dealership had failed 12 times to successfully repair numerous recurring failures and defects.
The hearing was held in accordance with the Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection’s (DCP) Automobile Dispute Settlement Program. The arbitrator’s decision is an administrative order and not a settlement of the case. If the manufacturer fails to comply, there may be substantially more fines.
Additionally, the consumer does not have to agree to the release of any other claims to receive the payment ordered by the arbitrator Jerry P. Paula, Esq. on October 7, 2022.
What Was Wrong with the 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport?
Less than three months after taking delivery of the leased vehicle, the consumer was faced with engine belt failure, a coolant system leak and warning, infotainment failure, and a low battery. Then, less than three weeks later, there was a low battery warning message. The lemon issues didn’t stop there.
In September 2020, the vehicle exhibited a loss of power, a malfunction light, infotainment failure (again), and engine noise on start-up. In October 2020, the engine coolant issues began… and they didn’t stop. Jaguar Land Rover technicians simply couldn’t resolve the problems.
By October 2021, the engine was losing power and there were abnormal engine noises and evidence of shaking. The dealership replaced the engine, but the problems continued to recur. Even though the technicians weren’t able to duplicate the engine noises, the manufacturer issued a recall in June 2022 for exactly this issue. Six months later, the vehicle had an oil leak.
At the time of the arbitration hearing, the vehicle was said to be “inoperable.”
What the Arbitrator Decided
Ultimately, the arbitrator decided that the consumer was eligible for a refund of various fees. These include a tire and wheel protection contract of $2,650, an acquisition fee of $895, a dealer documentation/conveyance fee of $499, a disposition fee of $495, a capitalized cost reduction fee of $138.84, vehicle title, registration, Clean Air Act, and Lemon Law fees of $288, and a Lemon Law filing fee of $50.
The total $43K+ award excludes the attorney fees. In terms of CT Lemon Law, the manufacturer must pay these directly.
Additionally, the consumer is no longer liable for taxes due and payable for the vehicle and ownership reverts to the manufacturer.
Importantly, in terms of CT’s lemon law, the arbitrator ruled that all refunds should be made within 30 days of the DCP’s delivery of his decision. This means that sometime early in November 2022, Jaguar Land Rover is going to have to pay the consumer who made the claim.
Connecticut Lemon Law
Connecticut’s lemon law program falls under the CT State Department of Consumer Protection. It was founded on June 4, 1982 and was the first of its kind in the U.S. It covers automotive warranties and is a relatively simple, informal process that may be used to resolve disputes between consumers and automobile manufacturers.
Now, every year, dozens of consumers with defective (lemon) vehicles that are under two years old or with fewer than 24,000 miles on the clock, get reparation. Most commonly they get awarded refunds or new cars. In this case, a full refund plus additional costs was awarded.
In 2021, Connecticut amended its lemon law statute. It now allows the DCP to levy fines up to $1,000 per day against manufacturers who don’t comply with arbitrators’ decisions within specified deadlines. The arbitrator in this case has drawn attention to this clause and warned that if payment is not forthcoming, the DCP has the right to impose an additional fine of up to $10,000.
Automobile Dispute Settlement Program in Connecticut
The heart of CT’s lemon law program is its Automobile Dispute Settlement program. Essentially what it does is to provide a low-cost arbitration process that enables vehicle owners to resolve disputes with manufacturers.
If you have bought a lemon, you may be eligible for the Connecticut’s Lemon Law Arbitration Program that is managed by the DCP. There’s a $50 fee, but if the DCP finds you don’t qualify, you’ll get that back.
What Happens If You Buy a Lemon?
If you think you have bought a lemon, and are eligible to claim via the Connecticut Lemon Law Arbitration Program, they will tell you exactly what you need to do. This includes preparing a list of questions you want to ask the manufacturer’s representative. You will also need a summary of all your factos and a statement that outlines your opinion of a fair resolution to the dispute.
You don’t need an attorney, but many people in this position find it a lot less stressful to use a legal firm. All you have to do is notify the DCP at least 2 days before the hearing that this is your decision.
The Lemberg Law team has been involved in many arbitration hearings. If you’d like us to help you simply contact the Lemberg Law lemon law team on our Helpline. It’s not going to cost you anything because the law says manufacturers, including Jaguar Land Rover, must pay the legal fees for lemon law cases.