SENATE, No. 474

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  RAYMOND J. LESNIAK

District 20 (Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Consumer Electronics Warranty Lemon Law.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning electronics warranties and supplementing P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Consumer Electronics Warranty Lemon Law.”

 

     2.    For the purposes of this act, “electronics” means a product containing technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic or similar capabilities.

 

     3.    No person shall offer a warranty, extended warranty, or service contract for electronics unless it meets the following conditions:

     a.     If any covered electronics cannot be repaired to full working order within three attempts, the electronics shall be replaced by an item:

     (1)   of equal value and condition to the original as it was purchased, if the problem was first brought to the warrantor’s attention during the first third of the entire time period covered by that warranty; or

     (2)   in good working condition, capable of all the functions of the original, if the problem was first brought to the warrantor’s attention after the first third of the entire time period covered by that warranty had passed.

     If the replacement item is also defective, the warranty holder shall be entitled to a full refund of the total purchase price of the original covered electronics;

     b.    Any warranty, extended warranty, or service contract for electronics that advertises in-home service shall provide all repairs to the electronics at the warranty holder’s place of residence or work.  Any service providers for such in-home service shall be deployed to the warranty holder’s residence or work within a maximum of 72 hours of receipt of the service request, unless the warranty holder will not be available during that timeframe;

     c.     Any warranty, extended warranty, or service contract for electronics that requires the covered electronics to be dropped off or mailed away for repairs shall institute a policy requiring both the warranty holder and a retail representative to certify, in writing, the condition of the item prior to being left or mailed.  A copy of this completed document shall be provided to the warranty holder at the time the electronics is left or mailed; and

     d.    A warranty holder shall not be required to pay any fees or charges, for otherwise covered repairs, nor shall an extended warranty, or service contract for electronics become void due to:

     (1)   Scratches, dents, chips, or any other slight cosmetic defects that occur to electronics with regular use; or

     (2)   The cost of repairs exceeding the original purchase price of the product.

 

     4.    No person shall offer an extended warranty or service contract for electronics unless it:

     a.     Runs consecutively with any manufacturer’s warranty for that product; and

     b.    In no way voids, diminishes, or waves any coverage for that product provided under any manufacturer’s warranty.

 

     5.    A violation of any of the provisions of this act shall be an unlawful practice and a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

 

     6.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the thirteenth month after enactment, and shall apply only to warranties, extended warranties, or service contracts for electronics entered into on or after that date.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, the “Consumer Electronics Warranty Lemon Law,” regulates warranties, extended warranties, and service contracts for electronics.

     Under the provisions of the bill, any covered electronics which can not be repaired to full working order within three attempts must be replaced by an item of equal value and condition to the original, or, if the problem was first brought to the warrantor’s attention after the first third of the time period covered by that warranty had passed, by an item in good working condition and capable of all the functions of the original.  If the replacement item is also defective, the warranty holder would be entitled to a full refund of the total purchase price of the original covered electronics.  The bill also requires any warranty, extended warranty, or service contract for electronics that advertises in-home service to deploy within 72 hours of receipt of the service request and to provide all repairs at the warranty holder’s residence or work.  In addition the bill requires that before any electronics are dropped off or mailed away for repairs both the warranty holder and a retail representative must certify, in writing, the condition of the item, and that the warranty holder be provided with a copy of the certification.  The bill further specifies that the cost of repairs exceeding the original price of the product, or the electronics having slight cosmetic defects, may not void the warranty.

     The bill specifies that extended warranties and service contracts must run consecutively with any manufacturer’s warranty and in no way void or diminish any coverage provided under any manufacturer’s warranty.

     Finally, this bill specifies that any violation of its provisions is an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act, P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).  An unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense.  In addition, violations can result in cease and desist orders issued by the Attorney General, the assessment of punitive damages and the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured party.