New Jersey Lemon Law Bill Signed, Protection Increased
Coverage Expands From 2 Years Or 18,000 Miles To 2 Years Or 24,000 Miles With A Provision For Defects That Could Cause Serious Bodily Injury Or Death.
TRENTON, N.J. (October 6, 2009) – A Bill designed to provide additional consumer protection to Garden State drivers was signed late last week by Governor Jon Corzine. The New Jersey Lemon Law has expanded coverage to assist automobile and motorcycle drivers who suffer a defect within the first two years or 24,000 miles which cannot be fixed after three repair attempts, or whose vehicles are in the shop 20 or more days during the 2 year or 24,000 miles period.
Senate Bill 454, sponsored by New Jersey Senators Barbara Buono and Nicholas P. Scutari was written to update the Lemon Law based on the needs of current commuters. "Drivers commute to work much farther than when the laws were enacted 18 years ago," said Senator Buono in an interview with Politickernj.com. "Subsequently, consumers were finding that their Lemon Law rights were being limited to approximately a year of usage."
In addition, if a defect which could cause serious bodily injury or death occurs in the first 2 years or 24,000 miles, the manufacturer has only one repair attempt to fix the problem before a consumer can file a New Jersey Lemon Law claim. There are similar provisions in other state's Lemon Laws, including Ohio.
"This is a giant step in consumer protection," says Cherry Hill-based Lemon Law attorney Robert M. Silverman, Founding Partner of Kimmel & Silverman (www.lemonlaw.com). "Once you combine the State's top-notch judicial system with this powerful statute, car manufacturers better think twice before refusing to voluntarily comply with consumers' rights under the New Jersey Lemon Law."
In the past, the New Jersey Lemon Law received national accolades from the Center for Auto Safety which named the statute the second most effective Lemon Law in the Country. In a congratulatory letter sent to then New Jersey Attorney General David Sampson, the Center for Auto Safety lauded New Jersey for allowing consumers "to go to an attorney immediately to get rid of their lemon rather than waiting for the arbitration process." In addition, Clarence Ditlow, CAS Executive Director, commended the state for providing cost-free legal representation under the Law. If a consumer prevails, the manufacturer is responsible for paying all attorneys fees.
Also in that letter, Mr. Ditlow suggested requiring only one repair attempt if a defect threatens death or serious bodily injury as a way to make the Law even stronger.
The New Jersey Lemon Law protects purchasers and lessees of automobile and motorcycles who purchase, lease or register their vehicle in the State. Maximum remedy under the Law is a complete repurchase of the vehicle, including taxes, tags, finance charges, and down payment minus a mileage offset to reflect when the problem was first addressed by the manufacturer. Consumers who do not fall under the NJ Lemon Law parameters but experience repetitive problems under their manufacturers warranty may be entitled to recourse under the Federal Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.
For more information on NJ Lemon Law rights, visit our page on the NJ Lemon Law, or contact the offices of Kimmel & Silverman at 1-800-LEMON-LAW (1-800-536-6652).
Kimmel and Silverman is the oldest and largest lemon law firm in the Northeast, providing cost-free legal representation to more than 50,000 consumers since its inception in 1991. The Firm has offices in Ambler, PA and Pittsburgh, PA; as well as Cherry Hill, NJ; Wilmington DE; and Dayville, CT. For more information regarding Kimmel and Silverman, please call 1-800-LEMON-LAW or visit www.lemonlaw.com.