Jim Griffin from Politicer.com is reporting that the Senate Commerce Committee approved legislation that would better protect consumers under the New Jersey Lemon Law for new car purchases by expanding coverage from 18,000 miles to 24,000 miles. The Bill was sponsored by Senators Barbara Buono and Nicholas Scutari.
The Committee approved Bill S-454, which would amend the Lemon Law, which protects purchasers of new automobiles and motorcycles. The Bill would expand the law from 18,000 miles to 24,000 miles or two years of ownership, whichever comes first. In addition, for those defects that are likely to cause death or serious bodily injury, the manufacturer would have just one chance to fix the defect before the car would have to be replaced. For non-lethal defects, dealers would be held to the current standard which allows three attempts to fix the defect before replacing the vehicle. This is similar in nature to the Maryland Lemon Law, with the exception that Maryland requires four attempts for non-lethal repairs.
“When safety is a concern, three repair attempts are two too many,” explained Senator Scutari to Griffin. “There is a major difference between an inconvenient oversight like a malfunctioning radio and the possibility that your car won’t stop when you hit the brakes. Our drivers shouldn’t have to put themselves at risk two or three times before they get a car that provides the safe transportation we expect when buying a new car.”
The Bill also requires that dealers make sure consumers receive the State’s “Lemon Law” protection Owner’s Warranty Rights Notification booklet. The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 5-0 and now awaits consideration by the full Senate. This is great news for New Jersey consumers, which already has one of the strongest lemon laws in the Nation, according to the Center for Auto Safety. The Center for Auto Safety ranked the NJ Lemon Law as the second most effective lemon law in the Country and in a letter to state legislators, CAS Executive Director Clarence Ditlow specifically said the state could strengthen their Lemon Law provision by requiring only one repair attempt if a defect threatens death or serious bodily injury, covering a vehicle that has many different problems at once, and penalizing auto manufacturers who willfully violate the Lemon Law.
The New Jersey Lemon Law also provides fee-shifting provisions which enable consumers to receive 100% cost-free legal representation. If the consumer prevails, the manufacturer must pay all attorneys fees and legal costs on top of what the consumer receives. For more information regarding the New Jersey Lemon Law, contact the Cherry Hill, NJ-based lemon law firm of Kimmel and Silverman at 1-800-LEMON-LAW (1-800-536-6652) or visit www.lemonlaw.com.