Do You Have a Lemon?
If you own or lease a brand new vehicle, yet, continue to invest time and energy in repairing defects, you may be entitled to a refund, replacement, or settlement award.
Pursuant to New Jersey Lemon law, a persistent and substantial flaw that requires multiple attempts at maintenance may demonstrate that you have a lemon.
Beware—you may not qualify for any legal recourse if you allow a party, other than an authorized dealer, the manufacturer, or an agent of the manufacturer, to make or attempt to rectify the problem. Likewise, there is also a limited term of protection. If your car has been inoperative for a cumulative term of twenty or more days during the initial two years from the vehicle’s delivery, you may have a valid claim. Similarly, if your vehicle has been inoperative during the first twenty-four thousand miles due to various deficiencies, your original warranty may place responsibility on the manufacturer.
Most importantly, the defect must still be present to bring a claim. You are not eligible for a remedy under New Jersey Lemon Law if the defects are the result of vandalism, an accident, or your own neglect to take proper care of the vehicle.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BRINGING YOUR CLAIM
Individuals anticipating a future claim would be well advised to record all correspondences with parties involved and any financial costs resulting from the lemon. The issues with your vehicle should be reported to the manufacturer as soon as possible to ensure that the time limitation does not lapse.
In order to pursue a case before an administrative law judge, a final notification to the manufacturer must be included in your application to the Lemon Law Unit, among other requirements. This particular document must afford the manufacturer an opportunity to resolve the issue and alert the entity that legal action will be pursued if nothing is rectified. The Lemon Law Unit for the Division of Consumer Affairs can supply you with the address of your manufacturer’s office in your designated region. Typically, this letter may be sent after two or more attempts to fix the particular defect or after only one attempt if the defect is “serious”—an attorney can help you make that determination.
The above mentioned correspondence should be conducted via certified mail and return receipt requested. Moreover, your claim can only be filed if the manufacturer does not repair your device within ten days. Although settlement agreements are the classic result of lemon law disputes, an attorney can advise you of all legal remedies available under New Jersey Lemon Law.