If the recent purchase of your dream car is turning into your worst nightmare, you might have a lemon on your hands. A lemon is a car that the consumer finds to be defective after they have made the purchase, and because there is such a wealth of misinformation out there about state and federal lemon laws, we figured we would set the record straight. We have put together some myths and their corresponding facts regarding New Jersey and Pennsylvania state Lemon Laws to help you understand the legal parts of the process.
Myth: Your car is not protected under the Lemon Law
The facts: For Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Lemon Law covers vehicles purchased, leased or registered for the first time (in PA and NJ) that experience defects and/or warranty problems. The law covers vehicles that have been subject to an unreasonable amount of repairs and/or vehicles with problems that significantly impair their use, value or safety.
There are multiple lemon laws available ̶ federal or state lemon laws, as well as provisions ̶ that can help you recover money spent on repairs, and sometimes the full amount you paid for the car, truck, motorcycle, or SUV. Like many aspects of life and the law, this situation is not black and white, as there aren't specific qualifications under lemon law that outright prevent you from collecting the thousands you spent on your vehicle and repairs.
Myth: You have a very narrow time window to file your Lemon Law claim.
The facts: The Lemon Law covers vehicles with defects or warranty problems within the time frames outlined below. Time and mileage limits vary state by state.
New Jersey Lemon Law: First two years or 24,000 miles, but if you purchased a car in New Jersey with problems that occurred after 2 years or 24,000 miles, you may still be protected under consumer protection laws.
Pennsylvania Lemon Law: First year or 12,000 miles, but if you purchased a used car in Pennsylvania or your problems occurred after the first year or 12,000 miles, you may still be protected under consumer protection laws.
Myth: The law requires that you bring your lemon in for repairs a certain number of times before you can file a claim.
The facts: If the manufacturer fails to repair or correct a malfunctioning part after a "reasonable number of attempts," or if your car is out of service due to repairs for 30 business days, you have the option to either have the manufacturer replace the vehicle with a similar one of equal value or take the vehicle back so you can collect a refund on the full purchase or lease price of the vehicle, including all collateral charges.
In the consumer chooses a refund or replacement, they must be reimbursed within 30 days of the decision. However, the consumer does not qualify for a refund or replacement if the problem does not significantly impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle, or if the issue is a result of abuse, neglect or modification on the part of the purchaser.