New Jersey Lemon Law
The New Jersey lemon law offers consumer protection to buyers of both used and new vehicles purchased, leased and registered in the state from manufacturers and licensed dealers. The Used Car Lemon Law (UCLL) specifically addresses the needs of owners of some classes of used vehicles for a short period of time after purchase. Consumers in New Jersey can use this law to request a refund or a replacement of a qualified vehicle that has shown significant problems and been attempted to be repaired a number of times.
Hiring a lemon law attorney can help consumers understand their rights under New Jersey consumer protection laws, and how to best take advantage of them. While being sold a lemon is uncommon, the NJ car lemon law helps make sure that those unlucky vehicle owners who have been stuck with a lemon have a method of recourse. In New Jersey, the Division of Consumer Affairs oversees all issues related to defective automobiles and mediating lemon refund or replacement agreements. Read on for more information about dealing with lemons in New Jersey.
What is the Lemon Law in New Jersey?
The lemon law definition in New Jersey covers new vehicles and motorcycles that have been bought, leased or registered anywhere in the state. A lemon law buyback can also be carried out in New Jersey for motor homes, apart from the living area, and authorized emergency vehicles. Owners of any of the abovementioned types of automobiles may be able to take advantage of NJ consumer protection laws if the vehicle:
- Has less than 24,000 miles on its odometer.
- Was delivered to the owner less than two years before.
Vehicles which qualify for the 30 day lemon law for used cars or a similar consumer protection category in New Jersey must meet other regulations discussed below. NJ policies are somewhat more helpful to consumers than the basic federal lemon law, allowing vehicle owners to submit lemon complaints after a lower number of repair attempts and time out of service. According to NJ statues, a new car can be deemed a lemon if the experiences one of the following scenarios:
- The car has been through at least two repair attempts for the same warranty covered issue
- The vehicle been out of service for a cumulative 20 days due to one of more covered defect
- The car has a “serious safety defect,” allowing for complaints to be submitted after one failed repair attempt.
The New Jersey new car lemon law can only be invoked when consumers follow all necessary procedures and submit the applicable paperwork, and have it received by the manufacturer before the expiration of the abovementioned periods. Both the manufacturer and the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs should be contacted with necessary information.
Does the New Jersey Lemon Law apply to used cars?
Used car laws in New Jersey include consumer protection for several categories of used vehicle owners, and require that licensed used car dealers offer certain levels of consumer protection with every sale done in the state. To be covered by NJ car lemon law, a used vehicle must be seven years old or less, have cost at least $3,000 and have no more than 100,000 miles on its odometer. Manufacturers are required to fix covered problems under the warranty period and offer specific types of warranties based on the vehicle’s mileage. The following categories of used vehicles are covered under consumer protection laws for used vehicles in New Jersey:
- Vehicles with 24,000 miles or less on the odometer: Warranty for 90 days or 3,000 miles; whichever comes first
- Vehicles with between 24,000 and 60,000 miles on the odometer: Warranty for 60 days, or 2,000 miles; whichever comes first
- Vehicles with between 60,000 and 100,000 miles on the odometer: Warranty for 30 days or 1,000 miles; whichever comes first
Under the NJ state lemon law, different standards are used to deem a used vehicle as a lemon than are used to determine that a new vehicle is a lemon. Importantly, the length of time that the lemon law warranty is valid for used cars also depends on the eligibility category into which the vehicle falls. Consumers can opt out of the typical warranty for a discounted price on used vehicles with over 60,000 miles. A used vehicle may be considered a lemon if one of the following applies:
- It has undergone at least three failed repair attempts
- It been out of service for a cumulative 20 days due to a covered defect
How does the Lemon Law work in New Jersey?
Getting a lemon law buyback in New Jersey begins by contacting the manufacturer or dealer who originally sold the vehicle to the current owner. When submitting the repair request for an issue covered by the lemon law, it is important to go into detail about what is happening with the car, including information like the below:
- The full description of the problem
- The cost for parts and labor
- The odometer reading
- The date the problem started and when the repair was requested
- The date the vehicle was picked up from the mechanic and itemized list of work done
According to the NJ new car lemon law, vehicle owners are required to alert the manufacturer of the vehicle and allow them one more chance to repair the defect before the consumer can file a complaint. In order to initiate a lemon law buyback in New Jersey after at least two failed repair attempts, consumers must first send a letter of intent by certified mail (with a return receipt request) to the manufacturer offering a last opportunity to remedy the situation. Sending the letter by certified mail is necessary to verify that the manufacturer received it, and is aware of the processes against the company.
New Jersey Lemon Law Lawyers
There are many situations in which hiring a lemon law attorney can be very helpful to a vehicle owner dealing with a potential new or used lemon in New Jersey. For many consumers, assuring that they meet the state’s lemon law definition of an eligible buyer and an eligible vehicle can be a challenge from the beginning, if the vehicle was purchased from any company other than the manufacturer. Along the same lines, many vehicle owners struggle with following the correct repair request or reporting procedures, and can sometimes even lose eligibility for coverage under some consumer protection laws, due to errors with their complaints. Hiring an attorney experienced in identifying faulty vehicles and dealing with manufacturer refund or replacement processes can make it much easier for a consumer to take advantage of applicable protection policies.
Lemon law attorneys can also prove instrumental when a vehicle owner is concerned about getting all of the compensation that he or she is due, after a vehicle has been accepted as a lemon. In some cases, vehicle owners find themselves in the position of being offered a lemon law buyback – only to find that the replacement vehicle on offer is of sub-par value, or the refund of the original purchase price has been reduced by too many allowed deductions. Whatever the situation, hiring a lemon law lawyer is the best way that a vehicle owner can make sure that his or her best interests are represented in all negotiations concerning his or her defective vehicle. To search for a suitable lawyer in New Jersey, consumers can look online for local legal representatives with experience in these issues.
How to Tell if Your New Car Is a Lemon
Consumers who suspect they may have a vehicle that falls under the NJ lemon law definition can watch out for a few telltale signs of trouble to help figure out the issue at hand. While owners of new vehicles should look into recent lemon law information about new car recalls to make sure their vehicle has not been recalled by the manufacturer, used car owners must rely on other types of information. The most common problems that result in a vehicle being deemed a lemon that vehicle owners should watch out for include the below:
- Gas and mileage defects
- Electrical system defects
- Engine defects
- Shifting defects
- Steering defects