Lemon Law NJ FAQ
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey’s Lemon Law
We receive countless questions from consumers about the NJ Lemon Law on our 1-800-LEMON-LAW Hotline. That's why we've put together this FAQ to answer the most common questions our clients ask us when filing their claim.
- What is the Lemon Law in NJ (New Jersey), and how does it work?
- Is legal representation really free under the Lemon Law in NJ?
- How is cost-free legal representation possible?
- How does the Lemon Law in NJ work?
- Does a problem always have to occur three times (or more) to be considered a lemon?
- What if my first problem occurs after the 24-month/24,000 mile period covered under the Lemon Law in NJ? Do I still have a claim?
- Does the Lemon Law in New Jersey cover leased vehicles?
- Does the Lemon Law in NJ cover motorcycles?
- My car is brand-new or only a few days old, and I'm already having problems with it. Should I just return it to the dealership?
- What is the proper procedure for opening a Lemon Law claim in New Jersey?
- Does the Lemon Law in NJ cover used vehicles (cars, personal trucks, motorcycles)?
- What is NOT covered by the New Jersey Lemon Law?
- Do I need representation from a Lemon Law attorney to file my claim?
- Where can I find more answers to my questions about the New Jersey State Lemon Law?
If you believe your vehicle is a lemon, you should know that legal representation is completely FREE under the Lemon Law in NJ. Win or lose, you won't pay a cent, with no risk involved whenever you contact our firm.
What is the New Jersey Lemon Law, and how does it work?
The New Jersey Lemon Law protects consumers who purchase vehicles such as cars, personal trucks or motorcycles, with non-conformities (defects that impair the use, value or safety) that a manufacturer-authorized dealership cannot repair within a reasonable number of attempts.
In New Jersey, your car must have been to the shop 3 or more times for the same issue or 20 or more calendar days for one or more issues. New Jersey consumers are protected if the problem occurs in the first two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Outcomes can include a complete repurchase of the defective vehicle, a brand new vehicle, or significant monetary compensation to reflect the diminished value of the vehicle as a result of the problem, plus continued ownership of the vehicle. That means in some cases, you may be able to keep your vehicle and also be compensated for your trouble.
Is legal representation really free under the NJ Lemon Law?
Absolutely! Legal representation under the Lemon Law in New Jersey is 100% cost-free with no risk involved whenever you work with us.
How is cost-free legal representation possible?
We're able to offer cost-free legal representation under the fee-shifting provisions of the Lemon Law in NJ. If you prevail in your case, the manufacturer is required to cover all attorney fees and legal costs, in addition to any remedy you are owed.
If you submit your Lemon Law claim and we accept your case, you won't pay anything out of pocket, win or lose. These fee-shifting provisions give you – the consumer – equal footing when pitted against a multi-billion dollar automobile manufacturer.
There is never a cost. The fee shifting provision enables us to pass the fee to the defendant (the car company or automobile manufacturer), when we prevail. If we do not prevail, there still is no cost to the consumer. We are confident in our efforts to succeed and obtain the best possible result for every one of our clients.
How does the New Jersey Lemon Law Work?
The Lemon Law in New Jersey protects consumers who have purchased a vehicle that suffers a repetitive defect or non-conformity that first occurs within the first two years (24 months) or 24,000 miles spent with that vehicle – whichever comes first.
A manufacturer-authorized dealership only has three attempts to repair the vehicle before the consumer can file a claim.
Does a problem always have to occur three times (or more) to be considered a lemon under the Lemon Law?
Not always. If your vehicle is in the shop for 20 days or more within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles of owning the vehicle, we can file a claim under the Lemon Law in the state of New Jersey. These 20 days do not need to be consecutive, nor for the same problem, so long as they fall within the aforementioned timeframe.
In addition, if your car is not fixed after one repair attempt for a problem that could cause death or serious bodily injury, you may have a potential claim.
If you find yourself in a situation where you think your vehicle may fall under your state's Lemon Law statutes, we welcome you to send us your information for our consideration. We handle each case on an individual basis and have made exceptions in the past.
What if my first problem occurs after the 24-month/24,000 mile period covered under the NJ Lemon Law? Do I still have a claim?
You might. If you're having an ongoing problem with your vehicle, and your car is still under the manufacturer's warranty, we can still help you under the Federal Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act. Under this law, consumers can receive significant monetary compensation to reflect the diminished value of their vehicle as a result of the problem, plus they get to keep the vehicle.
Much like Lemon Law, legal representation is 100% cost-free under the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act.
Does the Lemon Law cover leased vehicles?
Yes. Just like purchased vehicles, leased vehicles are covered under the NJ Lemon Law. One of the potential outcomes could be to be immediately released from your lease agreement while receiving all the monies previously spent, minus a small mileage offset based upon the mileage you first reported your non-conformity.
Does the Lemon Law cover motorcycles?
Yes, the Lemon Law in NJ covers motorcycles with the same degree of protection provided to cars and personal trucks. This includes new purchased or leased motorcycles. The provisions that apply to motorcycles allow for a complete replacement of the motorcycle or a refund of the purchase price.
Similar to the lemon law for cars and trucks, the motorcycle lemon law also has provisions allowing for payment of all attorneys fees making it completely free for consumers to exercise their rights under the law.
The New Jersey motorcycle lemon law calls for 3 unsuccessful repairs or 20 calendar days out of service within 2 years or 24,000 miles.
My car is brand-new or only a few days old, and I'm already having problems with it. Should I just return it to the dealership?
No. While problems can occur immediately, even in brand-new vehicles, you must follow proper procedures if you hope to open a claim under the Lemon Law. The most important thing to do initially is take your vehicle in to a manufacturer's authorized dealership for repairs. Once your car/truck/motorcycle is returned to you, make sure you get and keep a copy of any repair invoices.
These invoices are like gold and will be key in proving your lemon law case. The invoice should note the problems you complained about, the repairs performed, parts replaced, mileage in, mileage out, and days out of service.
What is the proper procedure for opening a Lemon Law claim in New Jersey?
The proper procedure for opening any Lemon Law claim includes:
- Making an appointment with a manufacturer-authorized dealership to have your car examined and repaired.
- Obtaining a repair invoice when you pick up your car, personal truck, or motorcycle.
- Checking the invoice, making sure it properly outlines all problems disclosed to the service manager.
- Maintaining a personal log of all repair visits.
- Please keep a copy of all invoices – this is important and will help your case move along more smoothly.
While we understand that dealing with a defective vehicle can be incredibly frustrating, you should NEVER, under any circumstances, drop your car and keys at a dealer and say, "I don't want this car any more." This can be considered a "voluntary repossession," and it could damage your credit score.
If you are having problems with any vehicle, consult a Lemon Law lawyer immediately.
Does the Lemon Law cover used vehicles (cars, personal trucks, motorcycles)?
While there is a New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law, it only applies to dealerships. The NJ Used Car Lemon Law does not apply to manufacturers or warrantors.
Typically, we prefer to represent consumers under the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act. As mentioned earlier, this law provides the same cost-free representation as the New Jersey Lemon Law, protecting consumers with used cars who have repeated problems under an original or extended manufacturer's warranty.
Additionally, if a dealer misrepresents a car at the time of sale, not disclosing lemon or salvage history and/or lying about accident history, you may have rights under the New Jersey Unfair Trade Practices Act. If this has happened to you, email us as soon as possible and we will be happy to review your claim.
What is NOT covered by the New Jersey Lemon Law?
The Lemon Law in NJ does not cover commercial vehicles and the living facilities of motor homes.
Do I need representation from a Lemon Law attorney to file my claim?
While it's possible to file a claim through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), through the NJ Consumer Affairs office, or on your own, it is strongly recommended that you instead work with an experienced attorney.
In fact, many consumers prefer to pursue their claim with an experienced lawyer, as all fees and legal costs are completely covered under the Lemon Law in New Jersey. There's no risk involved when consulting an attorney regarding your claim, and in many instances, cases can be settled more quickly in pre-litigation, without the need to file a lawsuit.
Both the NJ Consumer Affairs office and the BBB are very selective in the cases they will accept, often turning away strong, legitimate claims. Likewise, the decisions made by the NJ Lemon Law Unit are legally binding – if you lose your case, there may be no way to appeal.
Where can I find more answers to my questions about the New Jersey State Lemon Law?
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 New Jersey consumer can file a 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.