LEMON LAW REQUIREMENTS WHEN SELLING YOUR CAR
Everyone has heard of New Jersey’s Lemon Law, very few people truly know the breadth of the law, or how to apply it.
As such, many myths have developed over what is covered and how to apply the law. What follows are a few quotes taken directly from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, from some of their articles titled “Consumer’s Guide to the New Jersey Lemon Law.”
WHAT IS THE LEMON LAW?
“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…[b]e sure to keep accurate written records of all service to your vehicle.”
“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.”
WHAT’S NOT COVERED
“The Lemon Law does not cover commercial vehicles or the living quarters of motor homes.”
“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.”
“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.”
ENFORCING YOUR RIGHTS
“If the manufacturer does not accept your Lemon Law claim and will not refund your money or replace your vehicle, you have three choices.”
“[A]sk for a hearing through the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Automotive Dispute Resolution Program.”
“[S]end your complaint to the manufacturer’s informal dispute settlement program.”
“[F]ile a civil action in court.”
New Jersey’s Lemon Law only covers new cars and cars that are relatively new; this does not mean that you are not covered if you buy an older car.
It is still illegal to sell a car and make erroneous claims as to the condition of the vehicle. For instance, you can’t sell a car, implicitly tell the buyer that the engine has nothing wrong with it, while knowing that there is.
As a buyer, it is imperative that you take care of yourself, please be safe. If something seems fishy, investigate it further, and know your rights.