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New Jersey Lemon Law (56:12-29 - 56:12-34)

Vehicles Covered

Passenger automobiles and motorcycles. Includes the non-living portions of motor homes.

Repair Interval and Coverage Period

  • 3 repair attempts or 30 calendar days out of service.
  • 2 years or 18,000 miles.

Lemon vehicles in New Jersey can get the squeeze by either the New Jersey Lemon Law, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (the federal lemon law), or both. Lemon-aid may include a refund, replacement or diminished value and/or incidental and consequential damages. Attorneys’ fees are also available meaning qualified consumers may receive New Jersey lemon law attorney representation at no cost.

And even if your vehicle is too old or has too many miles to qualify under either of these lemon laws, the Truth in Lending Act and/or other related car buying laws may provide an avenue to recover cash damages that can help you trade out or pay for repairs.

Connect here for a free, no obligation New Jersey Lemon Law case review. In most instances to qualify under a lemon law your vehicle must only have an unreasonable repair history under the warranty, including (but not limited to) 3-4 repair attempts for the same problem, 6 repairs total on the vehicle, or 30 days out of service by reason of repair.

New Jersey Lemon Law (N.J.S.A. 56:12-29 to N.J.S.A. 56:12-49.1) New Jersey Lemon Law Statutes. N.J.S.A. 56:12-29. Legislative Findings

The Legislature finds that the purchase of a new motor vehicle is a major, high cost consumer transaction and the inability to correct defects in these vehicles creates a major hardship and an unacceptable economic burden on the consumer. It is the intent of this act to require the manufacturer of a new motor vehicle, or, in the case of a new motor vehicle that is an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, to correct defects originally covered under warranty which are identified and reported within a specified period. It is the further intent of this act to provide procedures to expeditiously resolve disputes between a consumer and a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier when defects in a new motor vehicle are not corrected within a reasonable time, and to provide to award specific remedies where the uncorrected defect substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the new motor vehicle.

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New Jersey Lemon Law Rights N.J.S.A. 56:12-30. Definitions

As used in this act:

“Co-manufacturer” means, solely with respect to an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1, any person that fabricates the authorized emergency vehicle utilizing a component or components of a new motor vehicle made by a manufacturer, other than modifying an existing standard model of a vehicle manufactured by a manufacturer, which component or components are obtained by the co-manufacturer from the manufacturer to fabricate the vehicle for use as an authorized emergency vehicle prior to an initial retail sale or lease of the emergency vehicle.

“Consumer” means a buyer or lessee, other than for purposes of resale or sublease, of a motor vehicle; a person to whom a motor vehicle is transferred during the duration of a warranty applicable to the motor vehicle; or any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty.

“Dealer” means a person who is actively engaged in the business of buying, selling or exchanging motor vehicles at retail and who has an established place of business.

“Director” means the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, or his designee.

“Division” means the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

“Informal dispute settlement procedure” means an arbitration process or procedure by which the manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, attempts to resolve disputes with consumers regarding motor vehicle nonconformities and repairs that arise during the vehicle’s warranty period.

“Lease agreement” means a contract or other written agreement in the form of a lease for the use of a motor vehicle by a person for a period of time exceeding 60 days, whether or not the lessee has the option to purchase or otherwise become the owner of the motor vehicle at the expiration of the lease.

“Lessee” means a person who leases a motor vehicle pursuant to a lease agreement.

“Lessor” means a person who holds title to a motor vehicle leased to a lessee under a lease agreement or who holds the lessor’s rights under such an agreement.

“Lien” means a security interest in a motor vehicle.

“Lienholder” means a person with a security interest in a motor vehicle pursuant to a lien.

“Manufacturer” means a person engaged in the business of manufacturing, assembling or distributing motor vehicles, who will, under normal business conditions during the year, manufacture, assemble or distribute to dealers at least 10 new motor vehicles.

“Motor vehicle” means a passenger automobile, farm tractor, authorized emergency vehicle, or motorcycle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 which is purchased or leased in the State of New Jersey or which is registered by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, except the living facilities of motor homes.

“Nonconformity” means a defect or condition which substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a motor vehicle.

“Post-manufacturing modifier” means, solely with respect to an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1, any person who modifies the configuration of an existing standard model of a motor vehicle purchased from a manufacturer to adapt the vehicle for use as an authorized emergency vehicle prior to an initial retail sale or lease of the vehicle.

“Reasonable allowance for vehicle use” means the mileage at the time the consumer first presents the motor vehicle to the dealer, distributor, manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier for correction of a nonconformity times the purchase price, or the lease price if applicable, of the vehicle, divided by one hundred thousand miles.

“Warranty” means any warranty, whether express or implied of the manufacturer of a new motor vehicle, or, in the case of a new motor vehicle that is an authorized emergency vehicle, of the manufacturer, co-manufacturer or post-manufacturing modifier, of the vehicle’s condition and fitness for use, including any terms or conditions precedent to the enforcement of obligations under the warranty.

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New Jersey New Car Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-31. Report of Nonconformity of Motor Vehicle; Repairs; Recovery of Costs

If a consumer reports a nonconformity in a motor vehicle to the manufacturer, or, in the case of a motor vehicle that is an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer or post-manufacturing modifier, or its dealer or distributor, during the first 24,000 miles of operation or during the period of two years following the date of original delivery to the consumer, whichever is earlier, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall make, or arrange with its dealer or distributor to make, within a reasonable time, all repairs necessary to correct the nonconformity. Such repairs if made after the first 12,000 miles of operation or after the period of one year following the date of original delivery to the consumer, whichever is earlier, shall be paid for by the consumer, unless otherwise covered by a warranty of the manufacturer, co-manufacturer or post-manufacturing modifier, and shall be recoverable as a cost under section 14 of P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-42). If a consumer reports a nonconformity in a motor vehicle that is a farm tractor to the manufacturer, or its dealer or distributor, during the period of two years following the date of original delivery to the consumer, the manufacturer shall make, or arrange with the dealer or distributor to make, within a reasonable time, all repairs necessary to correct the nonconformity, and such repairs if made after the period of one year following the date of original delivery to the consumer shall be paid for by the consumer, unless otherwise covered by a warranty of the manufacturer, and shall be recoverable as a cost under section 14 of P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-42).

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New Jersey Automobile Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-32. Inability to Correct Nonconformity Within Reasonable Time; Right to Return Vehicle; Refund to or Replacement for Owner or Lessee
  1. If, during the period specified in section 3 of this act,1 the manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, of that part of the motor vehicle containing the nonconformity, or its dealer or distributor, is unable to repair or correct the nonconformity within a reasonable time, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall accept return of the motor vehicle from the consumer.
    1. In the case of a motor vehicle, other than an authorized emergency vehicle as set forth in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the manufacturer shall provide the consumer with a full refund of the purchase price of the original motor vehicle including any stated credit or allowance for the consumer’s used motor vehicle, the cost of any options or other modifications arranged, installed, or made by the manufacturer or its dealer within 30 days after the date of original delivery, and any other charges or fees including, but not limited to, sales tax, license and registration fees, finance charges, reimbursement for towing and 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 during which the consumer’s motor vehicle was out of service due to the nonconformity, less a reasonable allowance for vehicle use.
    2. In the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall provide the consumer with a full refund of the purchase price of the original emergency vehicle, depending on the source of the nonconformity, including any stated credit or allowance for the consumer’s used emergency vehicle, as well as any other charges or fees, including, but not limited to, sales tax, license and registration fees, reimbursement for towing and reimbursement for actual expenses incurred by the consumer for the rental of a substitute emergency vehicle, if applicable, for the period during which the consumer’s emergency vehicle was out of service due to the nonconformity.
    3. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier from making an offer to replace the vehicle in lieu of a refund; except that the consumer may, in any case, reject an offer of replacement and demand a refund. Refunds shall be made to the consumer and lienholder, if any, as their interests appear on the records of ownership maintained by the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. In the event that the consumer accepts an offer to replace the motor vehicle in lieu of a refund, it shall be the manufacturer’s, co-manufacturer’s, or post-manufacturing modifier’s responsibility to insure that any lien on the returned motor vehicle is transferred to the replacement vehicle.
  2. A consumer who leases a new motor vehicle shall have the same remedies against a manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier under this section as a consumer who purchases a new motor vehicle. If it is determined that the lessee is entitled to a refund pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the consumer shall return the leased vehicle to the lessor or manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, and the consumer’s lease agreement with the motor vehicle lessor shall be terminated and no penalty for early termination shall be assessed. The manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall provide the consumer with a full refund of the amount actually paid by the consumer under the lease agreement, including any additional charges as set forth in subsection a. of this section if actually paid by the consumer, less a reasonable allowance for vehicle use. The manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier shall provide the motor vehicle lessor with a full refund of the vehicle’s original purchase price plus any unrecovered interest expense, less the amount actually paid by the consumer under the agreement. Refunds shall be made to the lessor and lienholder, if any, as their interests appear on the records of ownership maintained by the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission.

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New Jersey Vehicle Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-33. Presumption of Inability to Repair or Correct Nonconformity; Conditions for Application Against Manufacturer
  1. It is presumed that a manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, or its dealer or distributor, is unable to repair or correct a nonconformity within a reasonable time if, within the first 24,000 miles of operation or during the period of two years following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer, whichever is the earlier date, or in the case of a farm tractor, during the period of two years following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer:
    1. Substantially the same nonconformity has been subject to repair three or more times by the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, or its dealer or distributor, other than a nonconformity subject to examination or repair pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection because it is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, and the nonconformity continues to exist;
    2. The motor vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for one or more nonconformities for a cumulative total of 20 or more calendar days, or in the case of a motorhome, 45 or more calendar days, since the original delivery of the motor vehicle and a nonconformity continues to exist; or
    3. A nonconformity which is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven has been subject to examination or repair at least once by the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, or its dealer or distributor, and the nonconformity continues to exist.
  2. The presumption contained in subsection a. of this section shall apply against a manufacturer only if the manufacturer has received written notification, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, and co-manufacturer or post-manufacturing modifier, if known, or the dealer or distributor, has received written notification, by or on behalf of the consumer, by certified mail return receipt requested, of a potential claim pursuant to the provisions of this act and has had one opportunity to repair or correct the defect or condition within 10 calendar days following receipt of the notification. Notification by the consumer shall take place any time after the motor vehicle has had substantially the same nonconformity subject to repair two or more times, or has been out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of 20 or more calendar days, or in the case of a motorhome, 45 or more calendar days, or with respect to a nonconformity which is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven, the nonconformity has been subject to examination or repair at least once by the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, or its dealer or distributor, and the nonconformity continues to exist.
  3. The two-year term and the 20-day period, or 45-day period for motorhomes, specified in this section shall be extended by any period of time during which repair services are not available to the consumer because of a war, invasion or strike, or a fire, flood, or other natural disaster.
    1. In the case of a motorhome where two or more manufacturers contributed to the construction of the motorhome, or in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, it shall not be considered as any examination or repair attempt if the repair facility at which the consumer presented the vehicle is not authorized by the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier to provide service on that vehicle.
    2. It shall be considered as one examination or repair attempt for a motorhome if the same nonconformity is addressed more than once due to the consumer’s decision to continue traveling and to seek the repair of that same nonconformity at another authorized repair facility, rather than wait for the repair to be completed at the initial authorized repair facility.
    3. Days out of service for reason of repair for a motorhome shall be a cumulative total of 45 or more calendar days.

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New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law. N.J.S.A. 56:12-34. Statement to Purchaser or Lessee of Consumer’s Rights and Remedies Available; Provision to Customer of Itemized, Legible Statement of Repair During Period Vehicle Subject to Refund; Violation as Unlawful Practice
  1. At the time of purchase in the State of New Jersey, the manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, through its dealer or distributor, or at the time of lease in the State of New Jersey, the lessor, shall provide directly to the consumer a written statement prescribed by the director, presented in a conspicuous and understandable manner on a separate piece of paper and printed in both the English and Spanish languages, which provides information concerning a consumer’s rights and remedies under P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-29 et seq.), and shall include, but not be limited to, a summary of the provisions of:
    1. section 3 of P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-31), concerning the miles of operation of a motor vehicle and time period within which the consumer may report a nonconformity and seek remedies;
    2. sections 4 and 5 of P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-32 and 56:12-33), concerning a manufacturer’s, co-manufacturer’s, or post-manufacturing modifier’s obligations to a consumer based upon the manufacturer’s, co-manufacturer’s, or post-manufacturing modifier’s, or its dealer’s or distributor’s, inability to repair or correct a nonconformity; and
    3. any other provisions of P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-29 et seq.) the director deems appropriate.
  2. Each time a consumer’s motor vehicle is returned from being examined or repaired during the period specified in section 3 of P.L.1988, c. 123 (C.56:12-31), the manufacturer, or, in the case of an authorized emergency vehicle, the manufacturer, co-manufacturer, or post-manufacturing modifier, through its dealer or distributor, shall provide to the consumer an itemized, legible statement of repair which indicates any diagnosis made and all work performed on the vehicle and provides information including, but not limited to, the following: a general description of the problem reported by the consumer or an identification of the problem reported by the consumer or an identification of the defect or condition and the source of the defect; the amount charged for parts and the amount charged for labor, if paid for by the consumer; the date and the odometer reading when the vehicle was submitted for repair; and the date and odometer reading when the vehicle was made available to the consumer.
  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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Client Reviews
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