New Jersey Lemon Law, already one of the best in the nation, may be getting even better.

Senate Bill S-454, sponsored by Senators Barbara Buono and Nicholas Scutari, would add several provisions to further strengthen NJ car buyers’ protections under the law, including:

  • extended coverage from 18,000 to 24,000 miles (the current time limit of two-years would remain the same).
  • a distinction between general defects and those “likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.” For potentially lethal defects, S-454 would allow the dealer only one chance to make the fix, as opposed to the current three chances.
  • a requirement that dealers provide car buyers with an “Owner’s Warranty Rights Notification” booklet to ensure that consumers are made aware of the state’s Lemon-Law protections.

New Jersey legislators have felt that the law law requires updating since it was enacted more than 15 years ago. Commenting on the “one-chance” provision, Sen. Scutari said, “When safety is a concern, three repair attempts are two too many. There is a major difference between an inconvenient oversight like a malfunctioning radio and the possibility that your car won’t stop when you hit the brakes. Our drivers shouldn’t have to put themselves at risk two or three times before they get a car that provides the safe transportation we expect…”

Other protections under New Jersey’s current Lemon Law would remain in effect. For example, in addition to a refund of the purchase price or replacement of the vehicle, consumers can still recover such expenses as attorney fees, sales tax, license and registration fees, and finance charges.

Bill S-454 passed the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 5-0 and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.