Your New Jersey Lemon Law Rights

Who Is Covered Under The New Jersey Lemon Law?

Any consumer who buys, leases or registers a new passenger vehicle, including cars, passenger trucks, motor homes and motorcycles, in the State of New Jersey is covered by the Lemon Law. The consumer is protected if, during the first two years after the original delivery date of the vehicle, OR during the first 18,000 miles, whichever comes first, a substantial defect or condition is reported to the manufacturer or dealer. If the vehicle is transferred to someone else during this two-year/18,000-mile period, that owner or the person leasing the vehicle is also covered under the Lemon Law. The Lemon Law does not cover commercial vehicles or the living quarters of motor homes.

Is Your Vehicle A Lemon?

A new motor vehicle is presumed to be a lemon if it has one or more defects that continue to exist after three attempts at repairs, OR after the vehicle has been out of service for a total of 20 cumulative calendar days. Once this presumption is met, Power & Associates can contact the manufacturer for you giving notification that they have one last chance to repair the defect or condition. The Lemon Law requires that the consumer write to the manufacturer giving notification of one last chance to repair the defect (see page 3 for more information about this process). To qualify under the Lemon Law, the defect must substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle. The Lemon Law does not cover defects caused by an accident, vandalism, abuse or neglect. It also does not cover defects caused by attempts to repair or to modify the vehicle by a person other than the manufacturer, its agent or an authorized dealer.

Getting Your Vehicle Repaired

It is very important that you report any defect or condition directly to the manufacturer or the dealer immediately. It is also important to keep all receipts of repair attempts and a complete record of all contact with the manufacturer and dealer. You have the right to receive a dated, detailed statement each time the vehicle is brought in for repair. This statement should include any charges for parts and labor, a general description of the problem, the odometer reading at the time you brought the vehicle in for repair and also when you pick up the car, as well as a list of all work performed. It should also state the date the vehicle was brought in for repair and the date you picked up the car. Be sure you are given these statements (it’s the law) and that you keep them on file.

Who Pays For The Repairs?

Most manufacturers’ warranties on purchased vehicles cover repairs for at least the first three years following the original delivery date or the first 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. If repairs are needed after your warranty has ended, you must pay for the repairs. Repair costs can be recovered if the vehicle is later proven to be a “lemon” under the law. For this reason, it is important to remember to keep your receipts. If you are leasing a vehicle check your leasing contract to find out who is responsible for repair bills. Check your warranty booklet to find out the details of your particular coverage.

How Long Should The Repair Take?

The New Jersey Lemon Law allows the manufacturer a “reasonable amount of time” to repair or correct the defect. A “reasonable amount of time” is not defined. However, if the dealer makes three repair attempts for the same defect or the vehicle is out of service for a total of 20 cumulative calendar days because of a series of defects or repairs, it is presumed that the manufacturer failed to repair the vehicle within a reasonable period of time.

What Am I Entitled To If My Car Is A Lemon?

If your vehicle is a lemon, you are entitled to have the vehicle “repurchased” or bought back by the manufacturer. The “repurchase price” equals the full purchase price of the vehicle, including sales tax, finance charges, license and registration fees. If you financed your car’s purchase, the repurchase price includes any down payment actually made, any net trade-in allowance you were credited, all installment payments made one vehicle loan and the manufacturer must pay off the balance of the vehicle loan. In addition, you are also entitled to towing costs, the costs of any options or modifications installed by the dealership within 30 days of purchase, and any repair costs you paid out of pocket for the defects and conditions. Lastly the manufacturer is required to pay all of your attorney’s fees and related legal costs! The manufacturer is entitled to a modest mileage offset but that offset is only based on the number of miles you drove the vehicle until you first reported the defect or condition. If you would prefer a replacement vehicle as opposed to a vehicle repurchase, most manufacturers would prefer to accommodate the consumer and replace the lemon with a comparably equipped new vehicle.

Enforcing Your Rights

Power & Associates has been dealing with manufacturers and their legal counsel for nearly 15 years. If the manufacturer does not accept your Lemon Law claim, and will not refund your money or replace your vehicle, you have the right to file suit. Power & Associates will draft the complaint and file it with the court. We will take you through every step of the legal process.

The NJ Lemon Law gives consumers the chance to have their cases heard before an administrative law judge in the Office of Administrative Law. An attorney is not required for this hearing. However, it may be to your advantage to have one present, because the manufacturer will have legal representation. If you are successful in proving your case, you will be awarded any reasonable attorney’s fees. The Lemon Law Unit does not provide legal representation for the consumer. IMPORTANT : To qualify for a hearing before an administrative law judge: You must have allowed the manufacturer three (3) chances to repair substantially the same defect(s) OR your vehicle must have been out of service due to repairs for a total of 20 cumulative calendar days for a single problem or a series of problems. You must have notified the manufacturer in writing of its final chance to repair the defect before the vehicle goes beyond 18,000 miles or two years old, whichever comes first. You must have given the manufacturer that final chance to repair the vehicle. You must have the certified mail receipt proving that you sent the final-chance notification to the manufacturer.

My Car Is A Lemon, What Should I Do?

Power & Associates has represented thousands of clients throughout New Jersey including the cities of Hackensack, New Brunswick, Newark, Freehold, Jersey City, Toms River, Elizabeth, Camden, Paterson, Morristown, and Mount Holly. Visit our Satisfied Clients page to read “real world” testimonials from past satisfied lemon law clients. We can help you with your lemon law issue regardless of where you live in New Jersey.

We Can Help You!

New Jersey Lemon Law “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER” at Power & Associates. Let us evaluate your case and explain your rights. We can help you get a new car, a full refund, or a partial refund for your lemon under the NJ Lemon Law at no cost to you! Call us at 1.866.536.6611 or use the email form on the right to tell us about your lemon and get FREE Lemon Aid.