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New Jersey Pet Lemon Laws for Dogs

Iguana at the vet

Understanding New Jersey’s Pet Purchaser Protection Laws:

New Jersey's pet buyer protection laws safeguard consumers who buy dogs from pet stores, kennels and breeders.

If a consumer purchases a dog that is declared unfit because of disease or a hereditary defect or if the dog dies because of disease or defect, consumers can choose from three recourse options:

  1. Return the animal for a full refund of the purchase price and tax. They are also entitled to reimbursement for veterinary fees associated with treating the dog while it was in their care and the cost of having a veterinarian declare it unfit.
  2. Keep the animal. They are still entitled to be reimbursed for veterinary fees incurred to diagnose and treat the animal, up to double the purchase price, including sales tax.
  3. Exchange the pet for another one of equivalent value. They must be reimbursed for the cost of treating the animal while it was in their care and having a veterinarian certify that it was unfit.

If the animal is sold as a registered or registrable purebred, the seller must provide appropriate registration papers. If they don’t, the consumer is entitled to return the animal for a full refund or keep the animal and receive a 75 percent refund.

What to know about New Jersey’s Pet Purchaser Protection Laws:

Time frame:

  • Consumers have 14 days to document that their pet has a contagious or infectious disease or has died.
  • Consumers have six months to demonstrate a congenital or hereditary disease or defect and are protected if the dog dies due to such a defect within six months of the purchase date.
  • The seller has 120 days to produce advertised registration papers.
  • If a dog dies or is declared unfit by a veterinarian, the seller has 10 days after she or he is notified of the problem to fulfill the buyer’s selected response (refund, exchange and/or reimbursement).
  • If their dog dies or is declared unfit, consumers have seven days to obtain proper documentation from the certifying veterinarian and provide that documentation to the seller.