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Looking for a New Jersey Lemon lawyer and lemon law information?
- The Lemon
The Lemon Law is a consumer protection law
enacted by the New Jersey Legislature to assist consumers when they
purchase a new motor vehicle that develops repeated defects or
lengthy unusable periods during the first two years or 18,000 miles
(whichever comes first) . The intent of the law is to require the
manufacturer of a new motor vehicle to correct defects that are
originally covered under the manufacturer's warranty and are
identified and reported within a specific time period. The law also
provides procedures to quickly resolve disputes between a consumer
and a manufacturer and specific remedies when the uncorrected defect
substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the new vehicle.
Lemon Law procedures are very specific. Please read this information
carefully and keep it in your files. Be sure to keep accurate
written records of all service to your vehicle. When corresponding
with the dealer, the manufacturer or the Division's Lemon Law Unit
concerning problems, send all mail by certified mail with a return
receipt requested. The Division of Consumer Affairs' Lemon Law Unit
offers information and application processing only. The Division
does not hear cases directly; that is the responsibility of the
Office of Administrative Law.
- Who is covered under the
Any consumer who buys, leases or
registers a new passenger vehicle or motorcycle in the State of New
Jersey is covered by the Lemon Law.* The consumer is protected for
two years after the original delivery date of the vehicle, OR for
the first 18,000 miles, whichever comes first. 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. Important: The Lemon Law does not cover
commercial vehicles or the living quarters of motor homes. *Note:
The Lemon Law became effective on March 14, 1989, for all new
vehicles registered in the State of New Jersey. As of August 4,
1991, the law covers vehicles purchased or leased in New Jersey,
regardless of the state where the vehicle is registered.
However, this change is not retroactive.
- What constitutes a
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. 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. However, 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
* Contact a New Jersey
lemon lawyer to find out all your legal
options and rights *
- 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
- Who pays for the repairs
Most manufacturers' warranties on purchased vehicles cover repairs
for at least the first year following the original delivery date or
the first 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. If repairs are needed
after your warranty has ended, you must pay for the repairs.
Check your warranty booklet to find out the details of your
particular coverage. 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.
- How long the repair should take
The Lemon Law allows the manufacturer a " reasonable amount of time"
to repair or correct the defect. A "reasonable amount of time" means
three repair attempts for the same defect or a total of 20
cumulative calendar days out of service because of a series of
defects or repairs. Final Repair Attempt: Before you can file a
claim under the Lemon Law with the Division of Consumer Affairs, you
must give the manufacturer one final chance repair the
defect. You must send a letter to the manufacturer (not the
dealer) by certified mail, return receipt requested, stating that
you may have a claim and that you are giving the manufacturer one
last chance to repair the defect. (A sample letter is shown on page
5.) This letter should be mailed after the second
unsuccessful repair attempt or after the 20-cumulative-calendar-day
period. Contact the Division of Consumer Affairs' Lemon Law Unit for
the address of the manufacturer's regional office. Keep a photocopy
of the letter for your records and send the original to the
manufacturer by certified mail, return receipt requested. This
receipt is proof that the letter was received by the manufacturer.
Keep it with your records. After receiving your letter, the
manufacturer has 10 calendar days to attempt a final repair. If the
defect is not repaired within this time, you have the right to
demand a refund. You must provide a copy of your 10-day demand
letter, the return receipt verification and the final repair attempt
invoice before you can file a claim under the Lemon Law.
- Getting Your Refund or Replacement
Replacement - The manufacturer may offer to replace your original
vehicle; however, you do not have to accept the offer. You may
refuse the offer of a replacement vehicle and demand a refund. If
the manufacturer refuses to give you a refund, you can pursue the
matter through a hearing or in court. If you do accept a replacement
vehicle, and the original vehicle was financed, the manufacturer
must make sure the financing is transferred from the original
vehicle to the replacement vehicle. It is your responsibility to
have the title and registration transferred to your new vehicle.
Refund for Purchased Vehicles - If you choose to receive a refund,
you will receive the full purchase price of your original motor
vehicle, minus a "reasonable allowance for vehicle use." The full
refund can include, but is notlimited to:
- credits and allowances for any trade-in vehicles;
- costs of any options and other modifications added by the
manufacturer or its authorized dealer within 30 days after the
original delivery date;
- cost of sales tax, license and registration fees, and
- cost of vehicle repairs paid for by you;
- charges for renting a similar vehicle while the original
vehicle was out of service because of the defect;
- attorney's fees;
- expert witness fees; and
- the Lemon Law filing fee.
* Contact a New Jersey
lemon lawyer to find out all your legal
options and rights *
- Reasonable Allowance for Vehicle Use
" The reasonable allowance for vehicle use" equals the purchase
price multiplied by the mileage at the time the vehicle was first
brought to the dealer or manufacturer for repair of the defect
divided by 100,000 miles. For example, the reasonable allowance for
a $12,000 vehicle with 10,000 miles on the odometer would be
calculated as follows: 12,000 x 10,000 miles = 120,000,000
120,000,000 divided by 100,000 =1,200 The reasonable allowance for
vehicle use in this case is $1,200.
The purchase price can include finance charges, license and
registration fees, sales tax, towing charges and other costs. See
N.J.S.A. 56:12-32(a) of the New Jersey Lemon Law for a detailed
list of costs included in the vehicle purchase price. You may be
eligible to receive a refund for a leased vehicle. You can receive a
full refund for any leasing fees you have already paid and certain
other fees (see page 4), less a reasonable allowance for vehicle
use. Under the Lemon Law, your lease agreement ends when you return
the leased vehicle. You cannot be charged any penalties for ending
the lease early.
- Enforcing Your Rights
the manufacturer does not accept your Lemon Law claim and will not
refund your money or replace your vehicle, you have three choices.
Resolution through the Division - The 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:
- ask for a hearing through the Division of Consumer Affairs's
Automotive Dispute Resolution Program; or
- send your complaint to the manufacturer's informal dispute
settlement program; or
- file a civil action in court.
- 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
- 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.
- The Lemon Law Hearing Process
If the matter is resolved, you should inform the Lemon Law Unit of
the disposition. If the matter is not resolved after the final
repair attempt has been completed, follow the steps below.
If the administrative law judge decides in your favor and the
Director of Consumer Affairs agrees, you will receive a refund plus
other costs. You may only use the Lemon Law hearing process once for
a motor vehicle.
- Fill out a Lemon Law application and send it to the Lemon
Law Unit along with a legible photocopy of your vehicle
registration, certified letter to the manufacturer, certified
mail return receipt, all repair invoices, towing or rental car
receipts, vehicle purchase order, retail installment contract or
lease agreement. Do Not Send Original Documents.
- After receiving your application package, the Lemon Law Unit
will review your case to see if it meets the requirements for a
Lemon Law hearing at the Office of Administrative Law. If so,
the Lemon Law Unit will approve your application and ask you to
send a check or money order for the $50 application fee. This
fee cannot be refunded. If you win your case, the fee will be
returned to you as part of the amount awarded.
- Once payment is received and the application is accepted,
the Lemon Law Unit will contact you and the manufacturer to
arrange a hearing date. The hearing will be set no later than 20
days from that date, unless you agree to a later date.
- Once the case has been heard, a decision will be issued
within 20 days after the hearing ends.
- The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs can accept,
modify or reject the decision within 15 days. If no action is
taken by the Director, the decision of the administrative law
judge becomes final.
New Jersey Lemon law lawyer
for further legal advice.