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New Jersey Lemon Law (56:12-35 - 56:12-49.1)

New Jersey Lemon Law Statutes. N.J.S.A. 56:12-35. Resale or Release of Motor Vehicle Returned to Manufacturer or Other Responsible Party; Written Statement to Consumer; Signed Receipt From Consumer; Notification of Sale to Director; Violation as Unlawful Practice
  1. If a motor vehicle is returned to the manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, to the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, under the provisions of this act or a similar statute of another state or as the result of a legal action or an informal dispute settlement procedure, it shall not be resold or re-leased in New Jersey unless:
    1. The manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier provides to the dealer, distributor, or lessor, and the dealer, distributor or lessor provides to the consumer, the following written statement on a separate piece of paper, in 10-point bold-face type: “IMPORTANT: THIS VEHICLE WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER OR OTHER RESPONSIBLE PARTY BECAUSE IT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE MANUFACTURER’S OR OTHER PARTY’S WARRANTY FOR THE VEHICLE AND THE NONCONFORMITY WAS NOT CORRECTED WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AS PROVIDED BY LAW;”
    2. The dealer, distributor, or lessor obtains from the consumer a signed receipt certifying, in a conspicuous and understandable manner, that the written statement required under this subsection has been provided. The director shall prescribe the form of the receipt. The dealer, distributor, or lessor may fulfill his obligation to obtain a signed receipt under this paragraph by making such a notation, in a conspicuous and understandable manner, on the vehicle buyer order form accompanying the sale or lease of that vehicle; and
    3. The dealer, distributor, or lessor, in accordance with the provisions of section 1 of P.L.1993, c. 21 (C.39:10-9.3), notifies the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission of the sale or transfer of ownership of the motor vehicle.
  2. Nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing an obligation on a dealer, distributor, or lessor to determine whether a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier is in compliance with the terms of this section , nor shall it be construed as imposing liability on a dealer, distributor, or lessor for the failure of a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier to comply with the terms of this section.
  3. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section constitutes an unlawful practice pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1960, c. 39 (C.56:8-2).

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New Jersey Lemon Law Rights. N.J.S.A. 56:12-36. Informal Dispute Settlement Procedure
  1. If a manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, has established, or participates in, an informal dispute settlement procedure pursuant to section 110 of Pub.L.93-637 (15 U.S.C. s.2310) and the rules promulgated thereunder, or the requirements of this section, a consumer may submit a dispute regarding motor vehicle nonconformities, including a dispute between a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier regarding the source of nonconformities and resulting liability to the consumer, to the dispute settlement body provided by that procedure, but a consumer shall not be required to first participate in the informal dispute settlement procedure before participating in the division’s summary hearing procedure under this act.
  2. If a consumer chooses to use a manufacturer’s, co-manufacturer’s, or post-manufacturing modifier’s informal dispute settlement procedure established pursuant to this section, the findings and decisions of the dispute settlement body shall state in writing whether the consumer is entitled to a refund under the presumptions and criteria set out in this act and the findings and decisions shall be admissible against the consumer and the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier in any legal action.
  3. If the dispute settlement body determines that a consumer is entitled to relief under this act, the consumer shall be entitled to a refund as authorized by section 4 of this act.1
  4. In any informal dispute settlement procedure established pursuant to this section:
    1. Participating arbitrators shall be trained in arbitration and familiar with the provisions of this act.
    2. Documents shall not be submitted to any dispute settlement body unless the documents have been provided to each of the parties in the dispute at least seven days prior to commencement of the dispute settlement hearing. The parties shall be given the opportunity to comment on the documents in writing or with oral presentation.
    3. No party shall participate in the informal dispute settlement procedure unless all other parties are also present and given an opportunity to be heard, or unless the other parties consent to proceeding without their presence and participation.
    4. A consumer shall be given an adequate opportunity to contest a manufacturer’s, co-manufacturer’s, or post-manufacturing modifier’s assertion that a nonconformity falls within intended specifications for the vehicle by having the basis of this claim appraised by a technical expert selected and paid for by the consumer prior to the informal dispute settlement procedure. If the dispute settlement body rules in favor of the consumer, his costs and reasonable attorney’s fees shall also be awarded.
    5. A dispute shall not be heard if there has been a recent attempt by the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier to repair a consumer’s vehicle, but no response has yet been received by the dispute settlement body from the consumer as to whether the repairs were successfully completed. This provision shall not prejudice a consumer’s right under this section.
    6. The manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall provide, and the dispute settlement body shall consider, any relevant technical service bulletins which have been issued by the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier regarding motor vehicles of the same make and model as the vehicle that is the subject of the dispute.
  5. Any manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier who establishes, or participates in, an informal dispute settlement procedure, whether it meets the requirements of this section or not, shall maintain, and forward to the director at six-month intervals, the following records:
    1. The number of purchase price and lease price refunds requested, the number awarded by the dispute settlement body, the amount of each award and the number of awards satisfied in a timely manner;
    2. The number of awards in which additional repairs or a warranty extension was the most prominent remedy, the amount or value of each award, and the number of awards satisfied in a timely manner;
    3. The number and total dollar amount of awards in which some form of reimbursement for expenses or compensation for losses was the most prominent remedy, the amount or value of each award and the number of awards satisfied in a timely manner; and
    4. The average number of days from the date of a consumer’s initial request to use the manufacturer’s, co-manufacturer’s, or post-manufacturing modifier’s informal dispute settlement procedure until the date of the decision and the average number of days from the date of the decision to the date on which performance of the award was satisfied.

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New Jersey New Car Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-37. Summary Hearing Procedure; Appeal; Report on Implementation and Effectiveness of Act
  1. A consumer shall have the option of submitting any dispute arising under section 4 of this act1 to the division for resolution, including, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, a dispute between a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier regarding the source of nonconformities and resulting liability to the consumer. The director may establish a filing fee, to be paid by the consumer, fixed at a level not to exceed the cost for the proper administration and enforcement of this act. This fee shall be recoverable as a cost under section 14 of this act.2 Upon application by the consumer and payment of any filing fee, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall submit to the State hearing procedure. The filing of the notice in subsection b. of section 5 of P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-33) shall be a prerequisite to the filing of an application under this section.
  2. The director shall review a consumer’s application for dispute resolution and accept eligible disputes for referral to the Office of Administrative Law for a summary hearing to be conducted in accordance with special rules adopted pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c. 410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), by the Office of Administrative Law in consultation with the director. Immediately upon acceptance of a consumer’s application for dispute resolution, the director shall contact the parties and arrange for a hearing date with the Clerk of the Office of Administrative Law. The hearing date shall, to the greatest extent possible, be convenient to all parties, but shall be no later than 20 days from the date the consumer’s application is accepted, unless a later date is agreed upon by the consumer. The Office of Administrative Law shall render a decision, in writing, to the director within 20 days of the conclusion of the summary hearing. The decision shall provide a brief summary of the findings of fact, appropriate remedies pursuant to this act, and a specific date for completion of all awarded remedies. The director, upon a review of the proposed decision submitted by the administrative law judge, shall adopt, reject, or modify the decision no later than 15 days after receipt of the decision. Unless the director modifies or rejects the decision within the 15-day period, the decision of the administrative law judge shall be deemed adopted as the final decision of the director. If the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier unreasonably fails to comply with the decision within the specified time period, that party shall be liable for penalties in the amount of $5,000.00 for each day it unreasonably fails to comply, commencing on the day after the specified date for completion of all awarded remedies.
  3. The Office of Administrative Law is authorized to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents, papers and records relevant to the dispute.
  4. A manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, or a consumer may appeal a final decision to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. An appeal by a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall not be heard unless the petition for the appeal is accompanied by a bond in a principal sum equal to the money award made by the administrative law judge plus $2,500.00 for anticipated attorney’s fees and other costs, secured by cash or its equivalent, payable to the consumer. The liability of the surety of any bond filed pursuant to this section shall be limited to the indemnification of the consumer in the action. The bond shall not limit or impair any right of recovery otherwise available pursuant to law, nor shall the amount of the bond be relevant in determining the amount of recovery to which the consumer shall be entitled. If a final decision resulting in a refund to the consumer is upheld by the court, recovery by the consumer shall include reimbursement for actual expenses incurred by the consumer for the rental of a motor vehicle equivalent to the consumer’s motor vehicle and limited to the period of time after which the consumer’s motor vehicle was offered to the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier for return under this act, except in those cases in which that party made a comparable vehicle available to the consumer free of charge during that period. If the court finds that the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier had no reasonable basis for its appeal or that the appeal was frivolous, the court shall award treble damages to the consumer. Failure of the Office of Administrative Law to render a written decision within 20 days of the conclusion of the summary hearing as required by subsection b. of this section shall not be a basis for appeal.
  5. The Attorney General shall monitor the implementation and effectiveness of this act and report to the Legislature after three years of operation, at which time a recommendation shall be made either to continue under the procedures set forth in this act or to make such modifications as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

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New Jersey Automobile Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-38. Index of Motor Vehicle Disputes by Make and Model; Record of Manufacturer or Responsible Party Compliance; Statistics as Public Record; Information on Private Arbitration and Buy-Back Programs
  1. The Division of Consumer Affairs shall maintain an index of all motor vehicle disputes by make and model. The division shall, at six-month intervals, compile and maintain statistics indicating the record of manufacturer compliance, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier compliance, with any settlement procedure decisions. The statistics shall be public record.
  2. A manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall provide to the division all information on private arbitration or private buy-back programs maintained or instituted by the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier. The information shall include the type and number of vehicles to which these programs apply and the reasons for establishing and maintaining the programs. The manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall provide the division with updated information at six- month intervals.

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New Jersey Vehicle Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-39. Superior Court Filings; Appeals From Summary Hearing Decisions

A consumer shall not be required to participate in a manufacturer’s, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, a manufacturer’s, co-manufacturer’s, or post-manufacturing modifier’s, informal dispute settlement procedure or the division’s summary hearing procedure before filing an action in the Superior Court. However, a decision rendered in a proceeding brought pursuant to the division’s summary hearing procedure shall be binding on the consumer and the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, subject to the right of appeal as set forth in subsection d. of section 9 of this act,1 and shall preclude the institution of any other action in the Superior Court under this act.

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New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-40. Affirmative Defenses to Claim of Alleged Nonconformity

It shall be an affirmative defense to a claim under this act that the alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the new motor vehicle or that the nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the motor vehicle by anyone other than the manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, or its dealer or distributor.

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New Jersey Lemon Law Statutes. N.J.S.A. 56:12-41. Notice by Party to Action Asserting Claim, Counterclaim or Defense Based on Violations to and Intervention or Appearance by Attorney General

Any party to an action in the Superior Court of this State asserting a claim, counterclaim or defense based upon violations of this act shall mail a copy of the initial or responsive pleading containing the claim, counterclaim or defense to the Attorney General within 10 days after filing the pleading with the court. Upon application to the court in which the matter is pending, the Attorney General may intervene or appear in any status appropriate to this matter.

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New Jersey Lemon Law Rights. N.J.S.A. 56:12-42. Award of Reasonable Attorney’s Fees, Expert Witness Fees and Costs

In any action by a consumer against a manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, brought in Superior Court or in the division pursuant to the provisions of this act, a prevailing consumer shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees, fees for expert witnesses and costs.

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New Jersey New Car Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-43. Appropriation of Fees, Penalties and Costs

All fees, penalties and costs collected by the division pursuant to this act shall be appropriated for purposes of offsetting costs associated with the handling and resolution of consumer automotive complaints.

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New Jersey Automobile Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-44. Certification of Existence of Inherent Design Defect Within one Year of Discovery

A manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, shall certify to the division, within one year of discovery, the existence of any inherent design defect common to all motor vehicles of a particular model or make. Failure to comply with this constitutes an unlawful practice pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1960, c. 39 (C. 56:8-2).

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New Jersey Vehicle Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-45. Institution of Proceedings Against Manufacturer or Responsible Party Who Fails to Comply With Act

The director may institute proceedings against any manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, any manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, who fails to comply with any of the provisions of this act.

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New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-46. Limitations on and Exclusion From Liability of Dealer or Distributor; Joint and Several Liability
  1. Nothing in this act shall be construed as imposing any liability on a dealer or distributor, or creating a cause of action by a manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, against a dealer or distributor, and nothing shall be construed as imposing any liability on a dealer or distributor, or creating a cause of action by a consumer against a dealer or distributor under section 4 of this act.1
  2. Nothing in this act, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle and notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, shall be construed as creating, establishing or otherwise imposing joint and several liability for any action under P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-29 et seq.), and a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall only be liable for that percentage of negligence or fault in that action directly attributable to its respective degree of liability.

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New Jersey Lemon Law Statutes. N.J.S.A. 56:12-47. Rights or Remedies of Consumer Under any Other Law

Nothing in this act shall in any way limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law.

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New Jersey New Car Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-48. Consumer Motor Vehicle Agreements Which Waive, Limit or Disclaim Certain Rights, or Penalize a Consumer for Making Certain Statements as Void

Any agreement entered into by a consumer for the purchase or lease of a new motor vehicle, or subsequent repair of a nonconformity in relation thereto, which waives, limits or disclaims the rights set forth in P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-29 et seq.), or which penalizes a consumer for making any statement, including a statement posted on the Internet, regarding the manufacturer, dealer or lessor of the new motor vehicle, or its employees or agents, or concerning any goods or services rendered pursuant to the agreement, shall be void as contrary to public policy.

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New Jersey Automobile Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-49. Rules and Regulations

Within 120 days following enactment, the director shall, subject to approval by the Attorney General and pursuant to the provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L. 1968, c. 410 (C. 52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

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New Jersey Vehicle Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-49.1. Agreements for the Purchase or Lease of a new Motor Vehicle, or Subsequent Repair of a Nonconformity; Prohibition on Provisions Waiving Consumer’s Right to Make Certain Statements, or Penalizing Consumer for Such Statements; Violations; Penalties; Private Right of Action
  1. Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-29 et seq.) or any other law to the contrary, and in addition to any other remedy available under law, an agreement for the purchase or lease of a new motor vehicle, or subsequent repair of a nonconformity in relation thereto, shall not contain any provision which waives a consumer’s right to make any statement, or penalizes a consumer for making any statement, including a statement posted on the Internet, regarding the manufacturer, dealer or lessor of the motor vehicle, or its employees or agents, or concerning any goods or services rendered pursuant to the agreement.
  2. If the Attorney General determines that a manufacturer, dealer or lessor is in violation of this section, the Attorney General may impose upon that manufacturer, dealer or lessor a civil penalty in an amount up to $5,000 for the first violation and up to $10,000 for each and every subsequent violation, collectible in an action brought in the name of the Attorney General pursuant to the provisions of the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c. 274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).
  3. In addition to the penalties described in subsection b. of this section, or any other remedy available under law, any person aggrieved by a violation of this section may bring an action in Superior Court to recover damages.

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  • Justin Auslaender, N.J. Bar 033222013
  • Thompson Consumer Law Group PLLC (Managing Attorney Russell S. Thompson IV, Arizona Bar No: 029098)
  • Andrew M. Carroll, Attorney at Law New Jersey Bar 028602003
  • Co-counsel, Weisberg Consumer Law Group PA (Managing Attorney Alex Weisberg, Florida Bar No: 0566551)

To connect with these law firms for a FREE CASE REVIEW or more information:
Call: Toll Free (888) 565-3666
Email: Help@CarLemon.com

In New Jersey and through this site, Daniel N. Ruggiero, Attorney at Law provides Lemon Law representation with Weisberg Consumer Law Group PA and litigates claims under state and federal consumer financial protection laws dealing with vehicles with Thompson Consumer Law Group. Click here for more information about these law firms and how they may be able to help you.

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