What are lemon laws?
Did you buy a new car? Is there something wrong with it that isn’t your fault? Did the problem occur soon after you got the car? The sour taste left by these problems will always overcome the brief pleasure of the low price you paid for your new car. And that’s why these cars are called lemons. Lemon laws were written to protect consumers who just paid for a new car from having to pay for repeated repairs or being stuck with a dangerous or seriously devalued car.
What are your rights under lemon laws?
- The dealer has to pay to repair it if the issue isn’t your fault.
- They have to repair it in one to four tries, depending on the severity of the problem and where you bought the car.
- The car can’t sit in the shop for months on end. They have to fix it or make up for it, generally within 30 days.
- If the car is a lemon and they can’t fix it, they have to give you your money back or give you a car of equal value.
- If you had other expenses like a tow truck bill, repair bill from another shop, car rental fees while in the shop or legal fees suing them, they have to reimburse those costs, too.
- If the car is outright dangerous, they have one try to fix it or they have to give you your money back or a car of equal value. It is your choice which.
When do lemon laws never apply?
- Commercial vehicles aren’t covered under lemon laws. However, a personal car driven for work or services like Uber is a grey area.
- You damage it, you’re liable for the costs. Dealers aren’t liable for damage caused by your drunk driving or installation of after-market parts.
- Used cars typically aren’t covered by lemon laws. They may or may not be covered under separate dealer warranty laws.
- If it isn’t street legal, warranty laws don’t apply. This means ATVs, four-wheeler toys and snow mobiles aren’t under warranty laws. Motorcycles are a maybe.
- If it isn’t a car, lemon laws don’t apply. In general, if it holds more than a dozen people, lemon laws don’t apply.
Your Rights Under New Jersey Lemon Laws
Lemon laws are unique to each state. The main areas where they differ are how long you can own the car before the lemon law no longer applies, how many repair attempts the dealer gets, and when the lemon law applies.
The lemon law in New Jersey has a number of conditions.
- The problem has to be reported within two years or 24,000 miles.
- If there is a prior owner, you don’t get coverage.
- The car had to be worth more than 3000 dollars when you bought it.
Your rights under New Jersey lemon laws:
- If it is a serious issue that affects driveability of car, they get one chance to fix it or have to replace it.
- Three repair attempts or 20 days (total) out of service or the dealer has to replace it or refund your money.
- If the car is used and less than seven years old, they have to repair issues that arise within the first one to three months. The time frame depends on the car’s age.
This makes New Jersey unusual among states with lemon laws – they provide some protection for those with used cars that don’t fall under conventional lemon laws that are limited to new cars in most places.