The current New Jersey Lemon Law applies to new cars, personal trucks, and motorcycles, either purchased and leased, which suffer a nonconformity which is a defect or condition that impairs the use, value or safety of the car and cannot be repaired after three attempts by an authorized manufacturer’s dealership. This nonconformity must first occur within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles of ownership – whichever comes first. The New Jersey Lemon Law also applies to vehicles that are in the shop for repair twenty or more calendar days during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles.
Members of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly recently introduced two bills that would increase consumer protections under the state’s lemon law by allowing consumers to return used – rather than just new – vehicles that are materially defective for full repayment. These bills would allow consumers to walk away from vehicles with major nonconformities or material defects that substantially impair the use, value and safety of the car. This would give consumers them the freedom to request that the dealer immediately re-buy a used vehicle rather than wait for the dealer to attempt to fix the problem.
The measures stated, “If, within the periods specified in section 3 of this act, the consumer requests that the dealer immediately repurchase the used motor vehicle or dealer or his agent fails to correct a material defect of the used motor vehicle, after a reasonable opportunity to repair the used motor vehicle, the dealer shall repurchase the used motor vehicle and refund to the consumer the full purchase price, excluding all sales taxes, title and registration fees, or any similar governmental charges, and less a reasonable allowance for excessive wear and tear and less a deduction for personal use of such vehicle.”
The NJ Lemon Law is currently one of the strongest Lemon Laws in the United States, according to the Center for Auto Safety. The Law provides for completely free legal representation to consumers who suffer with a new defective vehicle.
While NJ Lemon Law currently protects new vehicles, this new proposal could save drivers a large amount of money and frustration by also protecting them from used lemons.