New Jersey Lemon Law Explained
New Jersey’s Lemon Law is a consumer protection law that helps people who buy or lease new vehicles, motorcycles, or motor homes that have major defects that cannot be repaired during the first 24 months of ownership or the first 24,000 miles the vehicle is driven (whichever happens first).
There are a few requirements that determine whether your new vehicle is covered by New Jersey Lemon Law:
- The vehicle must be a car, SUV, truck, passenger van, motorcycle or motor home.
- The vehicle cannot be registered in New Jersey as a commercial vehicle.
- The vehicle must be purchased or leased from a licensed dealer in New Jersey, or registered in New Jersey at the time the Lemon Law claim is made.
No, boats do not qualify as a vehicle under New Jersey’s Lemon Law but there are other laws that can help boat owners if they buy or lease one that’s defective.
Not every vehicle defect or problem qualifies you for a Lemon Law claim (although there may be other laws available to make a claim and get compensation).
New Jersey’s Lemon Law requires:
- A defect or problem that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle.
- The defect or problem does not involve the living quarters part of a motor home.
- The defect or problem has not been repaired or corrected by the car dealer after three attempts (in other words, you need to give the car dealership at least three chances to repair or correct the defect before you file a Lemon Law claim), BUT if the defect or problem is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, the dealer has only one chance to correct the defect.
- BUT if the vehicle has been out-of-service because of the defect--or any other problem or malfunction--for a cumulative total of 20 or more days (for a motor home, 45 or more days), you can file a Lemon Law claim EVEN IF the dealer hasn’t had three chances to fix the defect.
- A dealer to give you a fully itemized statement of the work each time you take the vehicle in for repair or service, including information about any parts installed and labor performed.
New Jersey’s Lemon Law provides for two remedies – you choose the one you want:
- A refund of the purchase price: If the owner or lessee chooses to receive a refund, the vehicle’s manufacturer is required to pay back:
- The vehicle’s purchase price (not the market price, or its current value, but the purchase price you paid according to the original invoice or lease contract, including any credit your received for the trade-in of your old vehicle).
- The sales tax, license/registration fees, and finance charges you paid.
- The down payment, loan and lease payments you’ve made.
- The cost of any options or other modifications installed in the vehicle by the manufacturer or dealer within 30 days after the date you took delivery.
- The cost of any rental car you needed while the vehicle was being repaired.
- Repair costs, attorneys’ fees, expert fees and court costs.
- A replacement vehicle: If you’d rather get a brand-new vehicle that operates correctly, you have the option of receiving a comparable vehicle (same make, model and trim level) with credit for all of your payments as if you still owned the original vehicle. In other words:
- Your loan or lease continues at its current unpaid balance and will still run for the original term (it is not extended).
- Your prior payments are counted toward the loan or lease as if you still owned the defective vehicle.
- In other words, if you were in month six of a four-year car loan or lease when the defective vehicle was replaced, your next payment with the new car counts as payment number seven under your loan or lease.
- If you choose the replacement vehicle remedy, the manufacturer also pays your rental car expenses, repair costs, attorneys’ fees, expert fees and court costs.
If the problems with your new car started after the second year or 24,000 miles, you may still be protected under other consumer protection laws. For example, if the vehicle is still covered by the manufacturer's warranty, you may have a Breach of Warranty claim or a Fraud Claim.
The Lemon Law is designed so that the owner of a defective vehicle is fully reimbursed and not stuck paying additional expenses or costs. The law includes a fee-shifting provision that requires the vehicle manufacturer to pay all attorneys’ fees and other legal costs if the consumer wins the case IN ADDITION TO reimbursement for all repairs and service visits at the dealer.
All your expenses are paid whether you choose the refund remedy or replacement vehicle remedy.
Yes, we file Lemon Law claims for vehicle owners throughout New Jersey no matter where they live in the state. If we need to have an expert inspect your vehicle and write a report, we will send that person to you.
We work tirelessly to get our clients back on the road and with money back in their pockets as soon as possible, with a goal of settling each case within the first 30 to 90 days. We’re also not afraid to file suit against the manufacturer if they refuse to give our clients everything they're legally entitled to.
Even if the repairs and issues with your vehicle don’t fit within the parameters of Lemon Law, they may qualify as unreasonable under other state or federal consumer protection laws. Call Timothy Abell & Associates at 888.611.5481 or contact us online to find out if you have a breach of warranty or loss in value claim.
Timothy Abeel & Associates, P.C. works to get the owners of defective or malfunctioning vehicles the settlement they deserve as fast as possible. Give our firm a call at 888.611.5481 to find out what you are entitled to as a consumer.