NON-DISCLOSURE PROVISIONS IN AUTO SALES, LEASING, AND REPAIR CONTRACTS BANNED
A non-disclosure bill, A-4044, passed both houses of the New Jersey Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Christie in a late flurry of legislation before Governor Christie left office. Contracts for the purchase, lease, or repair of a motor vehicle may not include a provision which restricts the consumer’s right to make a statement or penalizes the consumer for doing so. This includes a statement posted on the Internet, regarding the manufacturer, seller or lessor of the motor vehicle, or its employees or agents, or concerning any goods or services rendered pursuant to the contract. The provision shall be void and penalties may be imposed for including the provision. This law impacts all consumer contracts for the purchase, lease, or repair of new vehicles and will become part of the Lemon Law in New Jersey.
Remedies for the violation include a civil penalty imposed by the Attorney General in an amount up to $5,000 for the first violation and up to $10,000 for each and every subsequent violation, collectible in an action brought in the name of the Attorney General pursuant to the provisions of the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, 24 c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.). A separate civil cause of action for consumers is also created permitting a suit for damages.
The legislation is not retroactive and becomes effective April 16, 2018 which is 90 days from the date of enactment.