WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE NEW JERSEY LEMON LAW?

INTRODUCTION

Many people ask themselves “what is the purpose of the New Jersey Lemon Law”? Why do we need a lemon law in New Jersey? This webpage seeks to answer that important question. This article only discusses New Jersey New Car Lemon Law frequently asked questions. The Used Car Lemon Law is an entirely different Law discussed in a separate article located on this website.

PURPOSE OF THE NEW JERSEY LEMON LAW #1

EASING THE CONSUMER’S BURDENS WHEN THEY BUY LEMON VEHICLES

The purpose of the New Jersey Lemon Law is to solve the problem of buying or leasing a high cost vehicle that becomes a nightmare to the consumer. When the New Jersey Legislature passed the Lemon Law, the Legislature decided that the purchase of a new vehicle is a major, high cost consumer transaction and the inability to correct defects in these vehicles created a major hardship and an unacceptable economic burden on the consumer. By passing the Lemon Law, the Legislature intended to require the manufacturer of a new vehicle, or in the case of a new vehicle that is an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, to correct defects originally covered under the vehicle’s new vehicle warranty which are identified and reported within a specified period.

PURPOSE OF THE NEW JERSEY LEMON LAW #2

PROTECTING BUYERS AND LESSEES OF VEHICLES

The purpose of the New Jersey Lemon Law is also to protect buyers or lessees when they buy or lease a vehicle and the manufacturer cannot correct defects in the vehicle. If a plaintiff reports a nonconformity in a vehicle to the manufacturer or its dealer during the first 18,000 miles of operation, or during the period of two years following the date of the original delivery of the vehicle to the plaintiff, whichever is earlier, the manufacturer is required to make, arrangements with its dealer to make, within a reasonable period of time, all repairs necessary to correct the nonconformity. If the manufacturer fails to do so, the consumer may use the New Jersey Lemon Law to bring a case against the manufacturer.

PURPOSE OF THE NEW JERSEY LEMON LAW #3

MAKING LEMON CASES EASIER TO HANDLE

The purpose of the New Jersey Lemon Law is also to make it easier for consumers to recover remedies when they buy a vehicle covered by a new vehicle warranty and the manufacturer of that vehicle fails to fix the car in a reasonable period of time. The New Jersey Legislature wanted the Lemon Law act to provide procedures to expeditiously resolve disputes between a consumer and a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier when defects in a new vehicle. Consumers should not have to wait endlessly to get their vehicles fixed. Instead, under the Law, the manufacturer and its authorized dealerships is required to act promptly to attempt to fix vehicles. When the manufacturer is unable or unwilling to fix vehicles in a reasonable time, consumers should be able to seek legal help through a fairly straightforward type of legal claim. The Legislature didn’t intend for manufacturers to entangle the consumer in the intricacies of design defects and other complexities of product liability law. The Legislature clearly intended to spare the unfortunate buyer of a "lemon" those hazards and costs. New Jersey Lemon Law cases are very common and with the right set of facts and the right presentation of proofs, those cases are frequently successful.

PURPOSE OF THE NEW JERSEY LEMON LAW #4

ALLOWING CONSUMERS TO RECOVER SPECIFIC REMEDIES

The purpose of the New Jersey Lemon Law is also to allow consumers to recover specific remedies for their defective vehicles. Under the Law, if a consumer proves to a court that the manufacturer or its dealer was unable to repair or correct a defect that substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value or safety within a reasonable time, the consumer is allowed to return the vehicle and receive a full refund, minus a reasonable allowance for vehicle use. The refund claimed by a consumer shall include:

  • The total purchase or lease price of the vehicle including finance charges, sales tax, license fees, registration fees, and any stated credit or allowance for the consumer’s used vehicle, provided that the full refund of purchase price that may be claimed by a consumer shall not include any portion of a stated credit or allowance for the consumer’s used vehicle that grossly exceeds the true value of the consumer’s used vehicle. A manufacturer may challenge the stated credit or allowance for the consumer’s used vehicle. The manufacturer shall bear the burden of proof, and shall provide evidence that the purchase price included a trade-in allowance grossly disproportionate in amount to the true value of the consumer’s used vehicle. Such evidence shall include, but not be limited to, the value of the vehicle as listed in the N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide.
  • The cost of any options or other modification arranged, installed or made by the manufacturer or its dealer within 30 days after the date of original delivery.
  • Other charges or fees, including, but not limited to: i) Reimbursement for towing, if any; ii) Reimbursement for actual expenses incurred by the consumer for the rental of a vehicle equivalent to the consumer’s vehicle for the period during which the consumer’s vehicle was out of service due to a nonconformity; iii) fees for expert witnesses and costs.
  • From the refund, a deduction shall be made, representing an allowance for vehicle use. This deduction shall be calculated as follows: 1) Multiply the mileage at the time the consumer first presented the vehicle to the dealer or manufacturer for correction of the nonconformity(s) in question by the total purchase price of the vehicle (or the total lease price, if applicable), then divide by 100,000 miles.
  • In the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer or postmanufacturing modifier shall provide the consumer with a full refund of the purchase price of the original emergency vehicle, depending on the source of the nonconformity, including any stated credit or allowance for the consumer’s used emergency vehicle, as well as any other charges or fees, including, but not limited to, sales tax, license and registration fees, reimbursement for towing and reimbursement for actual expenses incurred by the consumer for the rental of a substitute emergency vehicle, if applicable, for the period during which the consumer’s emergency vehicle was out of service due to the nonconformity.

PURPOSE OF THE NEW JERSEY LEMON LAW #5

ALLOWING CONSUMERS TO GET AN ATTORNEY WITHOUT HAVING TO REACH INTO THEIR POCKET TO PAY HIGH ATTORNEY’S FEES

The purpose of the New Jersey Lemon Law is also to attract competent lawyers to handle lemon cases for consumers without consumers reaching into their pocket to pay high attorney’s fees to handle the lemon claim. In any action by a consumer against a manufacturer brought in Superior Court of New Jersey, a consumer that wins their lemon case shall be awarded reasonable attorney's fees, fees for expert witnesses and litigation costs.

TO LEARN MORE, GET A NO OBLIGATION CONSULT

Call Perlman DePetris Consumer Law for a no obligation phone consultation. Handling your case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!! Try to do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent lawyer! You might be entitled to be represented on a contingent basis, meaning that the attorney won’t get paid unless the case is successful and that the lawyer gets paid from your recovery instead of requiring you to pay attorney’s fees out of your own pocket up front. Other cases can be handled for a relatively small one-time payment of an up-front fixed attorney’s fee and with a contingent fee at the end of the case. Filing a claim yourself is very risky, since businesses often hire experienced defense attorneys to fight your case. Also, if you try to negotiate a settlement yourself, you may get less money than you deserve. You should always speak with an attorney before coming to any conclusions about your claim. Do not try to interpret the law by reading a website! Even if the facts of your case do not fit the requirements of a Lemon Law, you may be entitled to sue the manufacturer or its selling dealer for a breach of your warranties under other state and federal laws.  If the manufacturer or selling dealer breached the warranties that came with your vehicle, you may be able to recover money damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

DISCLAIMER

While this page gives some general background information, there is the danger that relying on this information alone could lead you to lose your claim. Laws and regulations frequently change and the law may have changed since the posting of this webpage. Factual differences between your case and cases described on this webpage can affect your chance of success. Don’t attempt to rely on the internet as the only source of information for your claim! Instead, get competent legal advice from a New Jersey licensed attorney. Call Perlman DePetris Consumer Law for a no obligation phone consultation.