- WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BUY A USED CAR AND IT DOESN’T PASS INSPECTION?
- WHAT IS NEW JERSEY USED CAR INSPECTION LAW?
- DOES A NEW JERSEY USED CAR DEALER HAVE ANY OBLIGATION TO SELL USED CARS THAT MEET INSPECTION STANDARDS?
- NEW JERSEY USED CAR DEALER’S OBLIGATION BEFORE SELLING A CAR
- CAN A CUSTOMER WAIVE THE NEW JERSEY USED CAR DEALER’S OBLIGATION TO SELL USED CARS THAT MEET INSPECTION STANDARDS?
- WHAT HAPPENS IF A USED CAR FAILS INSPECTION AND I DID NOT SIGN A WAIVER OF THE DEALER’S GUARANTEE THAT MY USED CAR WILL PASS INSPECTION?
- WHAT OTHER TYPES OF REMEDIES ARE AVAILABLE IF I AM A VICTIM OF USED CAR SALE FRAUD?
This page discusses New Jersey used car inspection frequently asked questions.
NEW JERSEY USED CAR INSPECTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION #1
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BUY A USED CAR AND IT DOESN’T PASS INSPECTION?
Did you buy a used car from a New Jersey used car dealer and it failed a car inspection? Many used car buyers buy a used car and then try to get it inspected only to learn that the car failed inspection. Repairs to a used car to get it in shape to pass a car Inspection may cost thousands of dollars and time lost while the used car is undergoing repairs. You can’t legally drive a used car that fails a car inspection on the State’s roads for very long!
NEW JERSEY USED CAR INSPECTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION #2
WHAT IS NEW JERSEY USED CAR INSPECTION LAW?
Many cars are sold in New Jersey that can’t pass New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission inspection requirements. If a vehicle can’t pass inspection, it isn’t likely that the owner of the vehicle will be able to drive the vehicle on the State’s roads. To protect consumers from this problem, the New Jersey Legislature passed the New Jersey Used Car Inspection Law. The law provides protections to certain used car buyers.
NEW JERSEY USED CAR INSPECTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION #3
DOES A NEW JERSEY USED CAR DEALER HAVE ANY OBLIGATION TO SELL USED CARS THAT MEET INSPECTION STANDARDS?
Unless otherwise provided in the New Jersey Used Car Inspection Law, no New Jersey used car dealer shall sell at retail any used passenger used car to be registered in State, unless the used car meets the standards for the issuance of a certificate of approval as provided in the State’s Motor Vehicle Statutes.
NEW JERSEY USED CAR INSPECTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION #4
NEW JERSEY USED CAR DEALER’S OBLIGATION BEFORE SELLING A CAR
Prior to entering into any agreement for the retail sale of a used car, the New Jersey used car dealer shall inquire as to whether the used car to be purchased is intended for registration in this in the condition sold and, if so, such fact shall be specified in the written agreement between the New Jersey used car dealer and the used car buyer and the dealer, prior to execution of the used car sale agreement, shall inform the used car buyer of the dealer's responsibilities under the New Jersey Used Car Inspection Law.
NEW JERSEY USED CAR INSPECTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION #5
CAN A CUSTOMER WAIVE THE NEW JERSEY USED CAR DEALER’S OBLIGATION TO SELL USED CARS THAT MEET INSPECTION STANDARDS?
Any used car retail sale agreement may contain a provision whereby the used car buyer waives the New Jersey used car dealer's obligation under section 2 of the Used Car Inspection Law; provided, however, any such waiver must be separately stated in the used car agreement of retail sale and separately signed by the used car buyer. The signing of such a waiver by the used car buyer shall also serve to eliminate any criminal responsibility placed upon THE dealer by the Used Car Inspection Law.
NEW JERSEY USED CAR INSPECTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION #6
WHAT HAPPENS IF A USED CAR FAILS INSPECTION AND I DID NOT SIGN A WAIVER OF THE DEALER’S GUARANTEE THAT MY USED CAR WILL PASS INSPECTION?
If a used car sold at retail and has any defect, which results in its rejection for failure to meet the standards for issuance of such a certificate that it passed NJ State inspection and the buyer never signed any waiver of their inspection guarantee rights, the New Jersey used car dealer shall make, or cause to be made, all the necessary repairs, without charge, or return the full purchase price to the used car buyer. However, if the vehicle’s defects are the result of the used car buyer’s own act, they are not entitled to any relief under the inspection law.
NEW JERSEY USED CAR INSPECTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION #7
WHAT OTHER TYPES OF REMEDIES ARE AVAILABLE IF I AM A VICTIM OF USED CAR SALE FRAUD?
New Jersey used car fraud can take many forms. The inspection law isn’t intended to point out each and every situation that might result in a court finding that a New Jersey used car dealer committed fraud. If a dealer commits fraud involving a customer’s right to repairs or a refund for a used vehicle that fails to pass inspection, the customer may prove that they have a claim separate from or in addition to a used car inspection law claim. For example, any of the following affirmative acts committed by a New Jersey used car dealer might support a New Jersey Consumer Fraud claim or breach of contract claim or breach of warranty claim against the dealer:
- “Unconscionable commercial practice” - an activity which is basically unfair or unjust which materially departs from standards of good faith, honesty in fact and fair dealing in the public marketplace. To be unconscionable, there must be factual dishonesty and a lack of fair dealing.
- “Deception” - conduct or advertisement which is misleading to an average consumer to the extent that it is capable of, and likely to, mislead an average consumer. It does not matter that at a later time it could have been explained to a more knowledgeable and inquisitive consumer. It does not matter whether the conduct or advertisement actually have misled the customer. The fact that the business may have acted in good faith is irrelevant. It is the capacity to mislead that is important.
- “Fraud” - a perversion of the truth, a misstatement or a falsehood communicated to another person creating the possibility that that other person will be cheated.
- “False pretense” - an untruth knowingly expressed by a wrongdoer.
- “False promise” - an untrue commitment or pledge, communicated to another person, to create the possibility that that other person will be misled.
- “Misrepresentation” - an untrue statement made about a fact which is important or significant to the sale/advertisement, communicated to another person to create the possibility that other person will be misled. A “misrepresentation” is a statement made to deceive or mislead.
For any of the above affirmative acts, it is not necessary for liability under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act that a person actually be misled or deceived by another’s conduct. It is not necessary for the customer to show that the business intended to deceive. What is important is that the affirmative act must have had the potential to mislead or deceive when it was performed. The capacity to mislead is the prime ingredient of affirmative consumer fraud claims Proof of intent is not necessary an essential element for these affirmative acts
A business may also be found liable for violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act if the business knowingly concealed, hid/suppressed, kept something from being known/omitted, or left out or did not mention an important or significant fact purposely or with the intent that others would rely on that concealment/suppression/omission in connection with the sale/advertisement of any merchandise. For these acts of omission, a person acts “knowingly” if he/she is aware that his/her conduct is of a nature that it is practically certain that his/her conduct will cause a particular result. He/She acts with knowledge, consciously, intelligently, willfully or intentionally. To “conceal” is to hide, secrete, or withhold something from the knowledge of others or to hide from observation, cover or keep from sight or prevent discovery of. “Concealment” is a withholding of something which one is bound or has a duty to reveal so that the one entitled to be informed will remain in ignorance. To “suppress” is to put a stop to a thing actually existing, to prohibit or put down, or to prevent, subdue, or end by force. “Suppression” is the conscious effort to control or conceal unacceptable impulses, thought, feelings or acts. A person acts “purposely” if it is his/her conscious object to engage in conduct that of a certain nature or cause a particular result and he/she is aware of hopes or believes that the attendant circumstances exist. “Intent” is a design, resolve, or determination with which a person acts. It refers only to the state of mind existing when an act is done or omitted. It is not necessary that any person be, in fact, misled or deceived by another’s conduct. What is important is that the business must have meant to mislead or deceive when he/she/it/they acted. The fact that the business acted knowingly or with intent is an essential element of acts of omission and knowledge or intent must be shown. Where the alleged consumer fraud can be viewed as either an omission or an affirmative act, the business is liable for the conduct as an omission only where defendant committed a consumer fraud by omission and intent is shown.
If a consumer proves that a used car dealer violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the consumer may be able to recover the following remedies against the dealer:
- Treble damages for an ascertainable loss of money or property caused by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
- Attorney’s fee award for prosecuting the claim.
- Cancellation of fraudulent debts.
- Refund of money lost due to the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
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.
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.