Every year, countless numbers of drivers purchase or lease cars and trucks that have serious issues that are discovered shortly after the sale is finalized. Buying or leasing a new or used vehicle is a significant financial investment, and consumers are rightfully upset and concerned when a vehicle for which they paid hard-earned money does not function as intended or promised.
Fortunately for consumers, New Jersey’s Lemon Law provides buyers with strong protections and often can help them obtain compensation for the losses they have incurred as a result of purchasing a defective vehicle. Additionally, the law allows attorney fees to be paid by auto manufactures.This means that that if we accept your case, you will never have to pay attorney fees.
If you are entitled to money back, or a new vehicle, or are let out of your purchase completely, the attorney fees are separate from any award you receive. The following information details can help determine what to do if you think you bought a lemon. For more specific information, call me today for a free consultation at (973) 686-9787.
The defect to your vehicle under the Lemon Law must substantially impair the use, value or safety of your vehicle, or be a “serious safety defect” that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle is driven.
New Vehicles-A new vehicle must have less than 24,000 miles or have been purchased less than two years ago, whichever comes first, in order to get protection under the Lemon Law Statute.
Used Vehicles -If your motor vehicle was purchased with 24,000 miles or less on its odometer, you would have protection under the Lemon Law Statute for 90 days or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.
If your motor vehicle was purchased with between 24,000 miles and 60,000 miles on its odometer, you would have protection under the Lemon Law Statute for 60 days or 2,000 miles, whichever comes first.
If your motor vehicle was purchased with between 60,000 miles and 100,000 miles on its odometer, you will have protection under the Lemon Law Statute for 30 days or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, if you buy a Vehicle “AS IS” your protection might be waived.
The Lemon Law does not apply to Commercial Vehicles and the living quarters of motor homes. The Lemon Law does not cover defects caused by an accident, vandalism, abuse or neglect. It also does not cover defects caused by attempts to repair or modify the vehicle by a person other than the manufacturer or authorized dealer.
What Is My First Step?
The first thing that you must do if you think you may have purchased a “lemon” is to contact the dealer you bought the vehicle from and inform them the issues you are having with the vehicle. Sometimes these kinds of issues are resolved informally, as dealers and manufacturers are aware of their legal obligations and want to maintain the goodwill of the general public. Even if you would rather not deal directly with the dealer, you still must bring it to their attention and give them a chance to fix the problem, or you will be barred from any further action.
In order to qualify for relief under the Lemon Law, there must have been a certain number of unsuccessful repair attempts or the vehicle must have been out of service for a certain number of days. As a result, it is critical that you keep copies of any and all records you have regarding problems with the vehicle and any attempts at repairing those problems with the dealer.
What Is My Second Step?
Filing a Lemon Law claim can be an extremely complicated process. Many procedural requirements must occur before a claim is filed, and once a claim is accepted, you may be required to present evidence at a hearing conducted by an Administrative Law Judge. For this reason, consumers that retain legal counsel often obtain much more favorable results more quickly than those who choose to pursue a Lemon Law claim on their own.
Are Our Legal Fees Really Free?
YES! The law recognizes that a consumer who has spent their hard earned money to purchase or lease a vehicle should not be penalized with large legal fees when they have done nothing wrong other then to buy a vehicle that turns out to be a lemon. In New Jersey, legal fees are shifted under the Lemon Law Statute, so if we accept your case, you will never pay any legal fees (even if you lose), and the legal fees awarded will never reduce your settlement.These legal fees are then paid by the manufacturer. This is one of the few times in your life when an attorney will be 100% free. The legal fees are separate, and do not come out of any award you receive.
If you believe that you have purchased or leased a new or used vehicle that is a “lemon”, give me a call today. Often without you having to physically come to my office, I will be able to review the facts of your case to determine whether you have a valid case and if we can pursue compensation on your behalf. To schedule a free case evaluation, call my office today at (973) 686-9787.