New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law Claims

The New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law, is a law that protects consumers who are victims of deception or purchased used cars with substantial defects.  Below is an overview of the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law, its key provisions, and what consumers should know if they believe they’ve purchased a defective used car.

Key Provisions of the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law:

  1. Coverage: The UCLL covers used passenger vehicles purchased in New Jersey from licensed dealers. These vehicles must be seven years old or less and have less than 100,000 miles on the odometer at the time of purchase.
  2. Eligibility: To qualify for protection under the UCLL, a vehicle must meet specific criteria, including a substantial defect that impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. The defect must occur within 24,000 miles or two years from the date of delivery, whichever comes first.
  3. Required Repairs: If a vehicle has a substantial defect within the specified mileage and time frame, the dealer is obligated to make a reasonable number of repair attempts to correct the problem.
  4. Refund or Replacement: If the dealer cannot repair the defect after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer is entitled to a refund or a replacement vehicle, as per their preference.
  5. Consumer’s Rights: The UCLL grants consumers the right to pursue legal action to enforce their rights. This includes filing a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and potentially taking the dealer to court if necessary.
  6. Out-of-Pocket Costs: The law requires the dealer to reimburse the consumer for any reasonable out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the defect, such as towing, rental cars, and other necessary expenses incurred during repair attempts.
  7. Attorney Fees: If a consumer successfully sues the dealer under the UCLL, the court may award reasonable attorney fees and costs.

Consumer’s Responsibilities:

To benefit from the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law, consumers should follow these steps:

  1. Keep all repair records, invoices, and correspondence related to the vehicle’s defect.
  2. Document all communication with the dealer, including repair requests and responses.
  3. Report the defect to the dealer within the warranty period and allow them a reasonable number of repair attempts to fix the issue.
  4. If the problem persists and the dealer is unable to repair the defect, notify the dealer in writing, requesting a refund or replacement vehicle.

Enforcement:

If a consumer’s rights under the UCLL are violated, they can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. The Division will investigate the complaint and mediate disputes between consumers and dealers. If necessary, consumers can pursue legal action in court to enforce their rights.

It’s important to note that the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law primarily applies to transactions involving licensed dealers. Private sales, as well as sales from auctions and certain other sales, are not covered.

Before purchasing a used car, consumers are advised to thoroughly research the vehicle’s history, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic, and carefully review the warranty and return policies offered by the dealer.

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For information on the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law and to learn more about your rights, contact our office at (973) 598-1980.