Under NJ Lemon Law, Consumer Gets Full Refund for Car With Faulty Airbag

What happens when a new car’s engine works well, but its airbag warning light doesn’t?

That defect may entitle a consumer to a full refund, as a New Jersey family has discovered, after a long battle.

Consumers who buy new cars that prove defective may be able to receive a refund or replacement car under New Jersey’s “Lemon Law.” The law applies to vehicles with defects that are still unresolved after several attempts at repair or that are out of service for twenty (20) days or more. A wide range of mechanical and structural problems can also qualify a car as a lemon.

After purchasing a new 2013 Nissan Sentra for his family, James Staszak kept noticing that the warning light for the passenger side airbag stayed on. When passengers are in the passenger seat, the car is supposed to detect their presence and the airbag is supposed to be operational. In the Staszak’s car, the constant warning light raised the possibility that the passenger airbag was not operational and would not deploy in an accident.

When he looked further into the problem, Staszak discovered that Nissan had recalled a number of 2013 Nissan Sentras because of issues involving passenger side airbags. Two Nissan dealerships were unable to fix the problem with his car, but refused to take the car back. For a year, the Staszak family worried about the air bag whenever they drove the car.

With the help of a local ABC news program, the Staszaks were able to motivate Nissan to take a closer look at their case. Nissan repurchased the car and gave them a complete refund—their down payment plus their entire year of car payments. The company specifically acknowledged New Jersey’s Lemon Law in its resolution of the dispute.

The dispute and its resolution illustrate two important points. First, that even if a car runs smoothly, it may be a “lemon” for other reasons. Second, that it helps to have a vigorous advocate when dealing with recalcitrant automobile dealers and manufacturers.

Not everyone has the benefit of a television news show’s intervention. Fortunately, there are other ways to get results that can be just as effective, if not more so. A knowledgeable attorney can help consumers determine whether the lemon law applies and whether there are other legal grounds for a claim, such as breach of warranty.

If you believe that your automobile is a lemon, don’t hesitate to contact a reputable lemon law attorney for a consultation today!

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