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Help My New Car is a Lemon

Aug 8, 2018

What is the New Jersey Lemon Law?

We’ve all heard the expression “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. The premise behind it suggests keeping the lemon and burdening yourself to find a way to make something good from a bad situation. This might work with lemonade, but it doesn’t work with brand new cars.

The New Jersey Lemon Law protects owners and lessees of new cars that turned out to be “lemons”. No one expects to have mechanical problems with a brand-new car or truck, but sometimes it happens. Not every new vehicle repair will rise to the level of a lemon law claim, but if your car is constantly experiencing problems with the same item or system, you may be driving a lemon.

Although each state has its own version of the lemon law, New Jersey’s lemon law provides coverage for vehicles during the first two years or 24,000 miles. During that time, the lemon law will protect the vehicle’s owner under the following circumstances:

  • three failed repairs of the same defect or
  • one failed repair of a serious defect or
  • the vehicle is “kept off the road” and out of service for a cumulative total of 20 days.

In a nutshell, the defect must be significant in that it must substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle. Defects that could cause serious bodily harm or death are the ones that dealers only have one chance to repair properly.

Many lemon law claims involve repeated repairs to the same defective system. It’s important to keep all repair bills and invoices, records and receipts for any rental cars or Uber bills, and any other records to substantiate the cost and inconvenience incurred as a result of the vehicle being out of service and unreliable.

If your vehicle falls outside the 24-month timeline, you may still be able to pursue a breach of warranty claim.

The Pennsylvania Lemon Law is a bit more restrictive in that claims must be made within the first year or first 12,000 miles and the out-of-service provision is 30 days. However, the defect must only be reported once within the one-year/12,000-mile period—the vehicle does not have to be brought in for service three times during that period.

If you feel you may be driving a lemon because your new vehicle is constantly in the shop for the same stubborn repair, the Law Offices of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. Depending on the nature of your problem in the state you live in, if your car is found to be a lemon you may be entitled to get a full refund of your down payment, trade-in, monthly payments and taxes, or a brand-new car or a cash settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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