Legislation Would Protect Consumers from Giving Up Their Right to Sue
Can a consumer who bought a defective automobile be required to waive the right to bring a lawsuit under the New Jersey Lemon Law?
All too often, consumer contracts make it hard for purchasers to bring an action for fraud, breach of contract or other wrongdoing by a seller. When buying a new or used automobile, consumers are sometimes required to waive their rights to file a lawsuit and instead must accept provisions forcing them to resolve disputes through arbitration.
A recent New Jersey bill would change that. The proposed amendment to the state’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act would bar consumer contracts from limiting a consumer’s right to sue without the consumer’s permission. Among other rights that could not be waived or limited in a consumer contract under the proposed bill, consumers would retain their right to bring lawsuits under the New Jersey Lemon Law, the Consumer Fraud Act and other federal and state consumer protection statutes.
The new law would penalize stores and dealers that give consumers contracts that obligate the consumer to waive his or her legal rights. The contract could be deemed void and, in addition to damages and lawyers’ fees, the violator would have to pay the consumer $100.
Business groups oppose the bill claiming that it violates the Federal Arbitration Act and is unenforceable. Pro-consumer groups, however, support the bill, noting the growing practice of car dealerships and other companies to force consumers into arbitration to settle claims over defective cars and “lemons.” Consumers who are able to avoid arbitration and avail themselves of the New Jersey Lemon Law may get a more favorable outcome.
A skilled Lemon Law can successfully guide you through lemon law, breach of warranty and fraud cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Contact us today at (888)830-1474 to learn more.