NJ lawmakers are working to pass a new bill (A-1812) that will expand the NJ Lemon Law to include protections for farm equipment, such as plows and tractors, allowing farmers to benefit from the same protections offered for consumer vehicles.
Currently, the New Jersey Lemon Law covers passenger automobiles or motorcycles leased, purchased or registered in The Garden State, with the exception of the living facilities of motor homes. The NJ Lemon Law is effective for the first 2 years or 24,000 miles the buyer or lessee possesses the vehicle – whichever comes first – and works to prevent buyers from purchasing a vehicle with a major defect or non-conformity.
Farm equipment, both new and used, can be quite expensive. Depending on the size and function of the vehicle, prices can run upward of $200,000. Farmers rely heavily on this equipment to make their living, and if a piece of equipment is defective, the farmer is out more than just the cost of the vehicle; they’re losing time and a tool that’s necessary to do their job. A defective plow or tractor can equate to revenue losses in an industry that depends on the weather and seasons to produce and harvest crops.
Hillary Barile, a New Jersey farmer and county board of agriculture member, informed NJ.com that, “Replacement for equipment is not always available… you can’t just go down the street and rent a new tractor to get your work done. Often, there is a really long [wait], from a month to a year…”
Lost revenues aside, another argument could be made for the safety of New Jersey farmers, as defective equipment can pose a serious threat to their well-being. Additional coverage under the state Lemon Law would grant farmers the protections necessary to ensure they are getting equipment that meets or exceeds the standards of quality required for them to complete their work safely and effectively.
“It’s frustrating when there is an engineering flaw, not a lack of maintenance, but in the design,” says farmer Keven Eachus in an interview with NJ.com. “Anything that helps agriculture and the farming community, like this bill, will really help to give that extra protection.”
On January 29, 2015, NJ bill A-1812 was approved by the Senate Economic Growth Committee and has already been approved by the full Assembly. However, the bill still requires final legislative approval. Upon the bill’s approval, the act will take effect on the 180th day following enactment.