Are Leased Vehicles Protected By the Lemon Law In New Jersey & Pennsylvania
With cars becoming more and more expensive, leasing has become an increasingly popular option for many individuals. This arrangement typically involves less money upfront and more affordable monthly payments than buying a car. Either way, consumers have a right to expect their vehicles to meet standards of safety, quality, performance and reliability. While it is generally known that car buyers are protected by state Lemon Laws, lessees also have similar protections.
Timothy Abeel & Associates is the premier consumer law firm serving clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We have working knowledge of the applicable Lemon Laws and federal warranty laws and routinely represent vehicle lessees. If your leased vehicle has been in for numerous repairs while under a manufacturer’s warranty, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
What is a Lemon Automobile?
A vehicle with a defect that substantially impairs its use, value or safety and cannot be repaired is considered to be a lemon. Because there is no clear definition of “substantial impairment,” however, Lemon Law claims are handled on a case by case basis. Nonetheless, vehicles that may qualify include those with defects that cause problems with starting, stopping or operating, paint defects, and defects to key electrical components, among others.
New Jersey Lemon Law
The New Jersey Lemon Law applies to vehicles sold, leased or registered in the state, that experience defects within the first two years or 24,000 miles. Moreover, three repair attempts must have been made – or a cumulative total of 20 days. There is a four-year time limit from the date of the third repair. It is important to note that the law does not cover defects caused by repairs attempts made by anyone other than the manufacturer, its agent or authorized dealer.
The Pennsylvania Lemon Law
The Pennsylvania Lemon Law applies to new vehicles that are purchased, leased or registered for the first time in the state that experience defects/warranty problems within the first year or 12,000 miles. The vehicle must also have been subject to an “unreasonable amount” of repairs.
What are the remedies for a Lemon Law Claim?
If the dealer or manufacturer fails to repair a nonconformity after a reasonable number of attempts, the lessee has the option of having the manufacturer replace the vehicle with a comparable one of equal value, or returning the vehicle for a refund of the full lease price. Consumers are also entitled to recover reasonable attorneys fees and costs in addition to any money awarded for repairs and/or the full amount of the vehicle.
Additionally, if the problems with the vehicle started after the applicable time period or mileage limit under each state’s Lemon Laws, and the vehicle is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, it may still be possible to pursue a breach of warranty claim.
How can I protect myself?
In order to pursue a Lemon Law claim, you must do so within the applicable time period and mileage limits. Moreover, Lemon Law procedures are very specific and you must have evidence to support your claim. After you lease a vehicle, it is important to obtain receipts for any periodic maintenance or repairs performed on the vehicle. Get the names and contact information of anyone you dealt with at the manufacturer or dealer, and keep a log of all calls with the dealership.
Additionally, keep track of the number of repair trips and days without the vehicle, and other important information. This includes whether or not a loaner vehicle was provided, costs of alternative transportation (e.g. car rental), and any towing charges. Finally, keep a written checklist of any work to be performed each time it is taken in for service, and review all procedures with a service manager. Ultimately, this information will help your attorney build a successful case.
Why You Should Call Timothy Abeel & Associates
Although leasing may be a more cost-effective option for many consumers, driving a vehicle that is not reliable can be a frustrating experience. Even worse is a safety defect that could lead to an accident and injuries. If you leased a vehicle that has been in for numerous repairs or out of service for an extended period of time, you may have a valid claim.
The experienced Lemon Law attorneys at Timothy Abeel & Associates have a well earned reputation for protecting the rights of automobile lessees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When you work with us there are no upfront costs or “fine print” out-of-pocket expenses. We will work diligently to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Although we prefer to reach negotiated settlements with manufacturers and dealers, we are fully prepared to litigate any matter in court. Call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.