The New Jersey Lemon Law is the second most effective Lemon Law in the nation, according to a recent study by the Center For Auto Safety. CAS recently compared the New Jersey Lemon Law to Lemon Laws in other states and the District of Columbia.
Under the NJ Lemon Law, if a consumer's car suffers a defect which affects the use, value, and safety of the vehicle, within the first 18,000 miles or 24 months, whichever comes first, and the problem can't be fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the car is deemed a lemon and the consumer is entitled to a new car of equal value or all of their monies back, including down payment, taxes and tags, and trade in, minus a small mileage offset.
The New Jersey Lemon Law also covers vehicles that are in the shop for repair 20 or more collective days during the first year. Both purchased and leased vehicles are covered under this statute.
In a congratulatory letter sent to 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." Clarence Ditlow, CAS Executive Director, also 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.
"Many New Jersey consumers don't realize that they have rights if their dream car turns into a nightmare, and that legal representation is cost-free" says nationally-recognized automotive consumer advocate Robert M. Silverman of the Cherry Hill, NJ Lemon Law Firm of Kimmel & Silverman. "The fact is that New Jersey consumers have always had one of the strongest Lemon Law statutes around, and I am pleased that Mr. Ditlow has recognized this."
The Center for Auto Safety feels that New Jersey 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.