When a Lemon Law Can’t Help You

Posted by sally on March 29th, 2012

Thanks to our friends at Console & Hollawell for this guest blog post.

Ineligible Car Defects

Lemon law regulations don’t cover all vehicle defects – only defects that affect the vehicle’s market value or safety, or that substantially impair use. Additionally, if you believe auto-accident injuries you sustained are the result of manufacturer defect, seeking the services of skilled car accident attorneys in Cherry Hill is essential to uphold your rights.

Laws also assume a manufacturer has a reasonable amount of time – usually 30 days – to repair the vehicle before you can invoke your state’s lemon law. Even if the manufacturer can’t repair the vehicle, the company has the option of providing you with a new car or refunding the purchase price. If the manufacturer selects the latter, you’re going without wheels.

Buyer’s Remorse

Simply hating your new car purchase or wishing you hadn’t spent so much money isn’t a valid reason to invoke a state lemon law. What you’re experiencing is buyer’s remorse. While most states have laws providing consumers with a 72-hour window to return product purchases, automobiles are usually exempt from those rules. Accepting your vehicle as a return is at the discretion of the dealership and most don’t want to retake the inventory. Your best hope is to keep the car in good condition and trade in the vehicle at a later date. Don’t crash your vehicle as a means to get rid of it. You may sustain serious injuries and destroy your vehicle, leaving you with an auto loan to repay and no car.

Mileage Limits

Once your vehicle passes a certain mileage limit, lemon laws in your state no longer apply. For example, in Pennsylvania, any mechanical problem occurring with a vehicle after you drive it 12,000 miles falls under normal wear and tear. Vehicle repairs under state lemon laws can occur after the 12,000-mile benchmark as long as the problem occurred before the benchmark expired.

Used Cars

If you bought a used car, some state’s lemon laws can help you with inherited defects, but other states don’t have used car lemon laws. When that’s the case, you can file a claim under an existing warranty if your vehicle has any coverage remaining. Otherwise, you should assume you’re accepting the vehicle in an “as is” condition. Have a prospective car purchase thoroughly examined by a trusted mechanic before you spend any money.

Suffering injuries in a car accident caused by manufacturer negligence may entitle you to seek damages from the automaker. Compensation can help you replace lost income or pay rising medical costs relating to your injuries and continuing medical care.

New Jersey Lemon Law Expansion Signed into Law

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on October 3rd, 2009

On October 1, New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine signed into law a bill expanding consumers’ lemon law protections in that state. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, the bill extends the period of coverage for new vehicles from the first 18,000 to the first 24,000 miles of operation. In addition, a new provision takes effect that enables consumers to file a lemon law claim after one repair attempt if the defect is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.

According to Jasey, “”When purchasing a factory-new vehicle, a driver has a right to expect it to be free from defects. When it is not, motorists deserve protection under the law to help them recoup their investment.”

New Jersey Legislature Approves Lemon Law Expansion

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 29th, 2009

The New Jersey Legislature approved Senate bill 454 (Buono-D), which would expand the period covered by the state’s lemon law. Under the bill, which awaits the governor’s action, new vehicles would be covered for two years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first). Existing law limits mileage to 18,000 miles.

In addition, the bill enables consumers whose defective vehicles could cause serious injury or death to file a lemon law claim after a single repair attempt, after which the manufacturer would have one attempt to fix the vehicle. Furthermore, the bill mandates that vehicle manufacturers provide consumers with information about lemon law protection separate from other manuals and paperwork, and that the information be provided in both English and Spanish.

According to Senator Buono, “This change is reasonable and sorely needed since current usage patterns and needs have changed considerably. Drivers commute to work much farther than when the law was enacted 18 years ago and subsequently consumers are finding their lemon law rights are limited to approximately a year of usage. In fact, the average consumer reaches the 18,000-mile limit after only 14 months. By broadening the window through which individuals can file claims to 24,000 miles or two years, we will be affording many hardworking New Jerseyans enhanced consumer protection.”

Spotlight: Electronics Lemon Law for New Jersey

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on December 3rd, 2008

Back in August, I wrote a post about New Jersey’s pending lemon law for electronics. The bill, A-1002, passed out of committee, but hasn’t moved since then. New Jersey Assemblymember Paul Moriarty recently released a video about why such a law is necessary. It’s worth watching!

The Political Pulse of North Jersey

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on September 2nd, 2008

In The Alternative Press, Mike Shapiro covers local news in Summit, Berkeley Heights, and New Providence – all in North Jersey. But he also has an insightful blog called ShapTalk where he mixes it up in the political arena and gets people buzzing about local, state, and federal issues.

In a recent column, Mike discussed the Wounded Warrior Workplace Initiative proposed by Bob Straniere, a candidate running for Congress in New York’s 13th District. The proposal encourages members of Congress and congressional candidates to hire wounded veterans or veterans’ family members. Mike writes:

While members of Congress could not possibly employ every injured veteran…they [would be] sending a powerful message to business owners throughout the country that they also need to do their part to create a seamless transition for veterans from military service to employment in the private sector.

Hats off to Mike for bringing this important issue to our attention.