“When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade.” One could argue that this expression has worn out its welcome in the English language, right alongside half full glasses and all the fish in the sea. However, if that lemon happens to be your new automobile or motorcycle, you may want to give that saying a stay of execution.
The NJ Division of Consumer Affairs has so many requests per year regarding Lemon Law claims that it has established the New Jersey Lemon Law Unit. The unit reviews all claims and determines which ones get hearings. The ones that are accepted will be heard in one of the three locations of the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”): Newark, Trenton or Atlantic City. Like with any hearing, there is a burden of proof. You, the consumer, will be expected to provide evidence supporting your claim that the motor vehicle has a “non-conformity” (a “non-conformity” is any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a motor vehicle). Let us review what the Lemon Law is in the State of New Jersey.
If you buy or lease a motor vehicle, the Lemon Law exists to protect you during the first 24,000 miles of operation or during the period of 2 years following the date of the original delivery, whichever comes first. Here are some possible scenarios:
- a vehicle develops defects that remain unresolved after 3 attempts at repairs;
- a vehicle that has been out of service for 20 days (cumulative); and
- a non-conformity likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the motor vehicle is driven, has been repaired by the dealership and continues to exist.
The most important thing to remember is that a Lemon Law claim is between the consumer and the manufacturer and any of the repairs must be done by the manufacturer or an otherwise authorized party or dealership. The Lemon Law does not cover damage where the consumer is at fault for accidents, abuse or neglect.
If life does hand you a lemon and that lemon is your new mini-van, lemonade might certainly be in your future. The key is knowing what to do and being prepared, knowing your rights and properly filing your claim in the OAL or in the Superior Court of New Jersey. The benefit of filing your claim in the OAL is that it is more cost efficient and is a faster process than in the Superior Court. However, in the OAL, you cannot pursue claims outside of the Lemon Law, while in the Superior Court, you can pursue all claims available under the law (i.e. breach of contract, breach of warranty, consumer fraud etc.) and can name other parties in addition to the manufacturer as defendants.
Why make that lemonade alone? Contact the Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC for an initial free consultation. The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Call (609) 585-0606 or click the button below to schedule an appointment