New Jersey Lemon Law Changes: What You Need to Know
When buying a new car, many would expect that their purchase would be completely protected if that vehicle turns out to be a lemon, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Every state’s laws can vary based on the definition of a “lemon,” the conditions covered and the remedies available. Understanding one’s rights can be very confusing and every car buyer should prepare themselves before going to the show room. With the recent changes in the New Jersey Lemon Law, educated car buyers in the state should take a moment to fully understand their rights to ensure that the new car of their dreams does not turn into a nightmare.
What is a Lemon Car?
Generally speaking, a “lemon” is a new vehicle that has been purchased or leased which suffers from a nonconformity. A nonconformity is defined as a defect or condition which substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle.
New Jersey Lemon Law: Already Among the Best
Before the recent changes in the law, New Jersey consumers have traditionally been afforded excellent protection: the Center for Auto Safety named the New Jersey Lemon Law as the second most effective law of its kind in the nation. Among the features that stood out to CAS Director Clarence Ditlow were: the ability to go to an attorney immediately rather than waiting for an arbitration process and the provision that entitles consumers to cost-free legal representation if the consumer prevails in the case. As a result, new car buyers can feel more secure in their purchase.
Improvements in the New Jersey Lemon Law
Just when most would consider the New Jersey Lemon Law an example for the nation, the state has improved it by broadening the law. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey, Assembly Bill 1954 was signed into law by Governor John Corzine in October 2009. The law expands the lemon law parameters to include problems that occur in the first 24,000 miles or 24 months. Furthermore, consumers who suffer a serious defect which is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven would be able to file a lemon law claim if the problem cannot be fixed after one repair attempt.
The New Jersey Lemon Law After the Changes
After recent changes, the New Jersey Lemon Law applies to new cars, both purchased and leased, which suffer a nonconformity; a defect or condition, which substantially impairs the use, value or safety; that cannot be repaired after three attempts by an authorized manufacturer’s dealership. This nonconformity must first occur within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. The New Jersey Lemon Law also applies to vehicles that are in the shop for repair twenty (20) or more calendar days during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first), and those which have a serious defect which could cause bodily harm or death that is not fixed after one repair attempt.
What If a Vehicle Is Not Covered by New Jersey’s Lemon Law?
It’s important to note that even if your car falls outside of the limitations established by the New Jersey’s Lemon Law, Federal breaches of warranty laws may still apply. If your car has an original or extended manufacturer’s warranty and has a problem that can’t be fixed after three repair attempts, chances are you may have some recourse. Therefore, it’s suggested that you contact a qualified attorney familiar with the New Jersey Lemon Law to determine whether you are entitled to compensation.
About the Author
Operated by the law firm of Kimmel and Silverman, LemonLaw.com has more experienced NJ Lemon Law lawyers than any other firm in the State and is the only consumer law firm ever asked by the State to teach arbitrators and mediators the fundamentals of New Jersey Lemon Law and how to hear Lemon Law cases.