Lemon Laws Protect Consumers Against Defective Cars

Purchasing a car is a large, high-cost transaction. As a consumer, you should not be stuck paying for defects if the car you were sold is a "lemon." In New Jersey, there are "Lemon Laws" which cover new cars (including leased cars) as well as used cars.

At the law office of Lawrence N. Lavigne, Esq., L.L.C., we have been protecting consumers who purchased defective cars since 1986. Attorney Lawrence N. Lavigne was one of the first lawyers in the state to litigate a lemon law case. His comprehensive knowledge of New Jersey's lemon laws and his long history of consumer protection work mean results. He will fight to protect your rights as a consumer and make sure you do not pay for the costs of your defective car.

Is My Car A Lemon?

A car is considered a "lemon" if within prescribed time frames and/or mileage it displays significant defects or requires significant repairs. The defect or issue must substantially impair the use, safety or value of the vehicle, and the dealer or manufacturer must have been unable to repair the issue within a certain amount of time.

In New Jersey law, a new car is a "lemon" if it has:

  • Had three repair attempts for the same problem or one repair attempt for a serious defect that could result in death or serious bodily harm
  • Been out of service for more than 20 days
  • The car must be less than two years old or have less than 18,000 miles
  • The law applies to leased cars as well as purchased vehicles

The laws surrounding used cars are a bit more complex. If you purchased a used car, the mileage and time constraints are very short and must be complied with. If you purchased or were given a warranty with your used car and substantial problems occur during this warranty period that are unfixable, you may seek redress under that warranty even if the Used Car Lemon Law does not apply.

Common examples of defects include:

  • Water, oil, antifreeze or brake fluid leaks
  • Brake problems
  • Significant engine noises
  • Sulfur or burning smells
  • Transmission problems
  • Issues that affect drivability, such as a bent frame

What Is The Remedy?

If your new car is found to be a "lemon," you are entitled to a full refund of the purchase price (minus a usage allowance) plus the fees, tax, license and registration fees paid at the time of purchase. The dealer or manufacturer must also reimburse you for any towing expenses or rental car expenses you incurred while attempting to repair your vehicle. Instead of a refund, you can also accept a replacement vehicle. Legal fees and costs are also recoupable.

The laws surrounding recovery under state lemon laws are complex, and you must follow specific notices and processes, and adhere to strict time and mileage restrictions. The best way to protect yourself — and get fully reimbursed — is to contact a lawyer like Lawrence N. Lavigne who is experienced with New Jersey lemon laws. For more information, call us at 908-349-1066, or contact us by email. Our office is in Union. Consultations are free. Se habla español.