Why are NJ car dealerships closed on Sundays?
🚘 NJ's blue law dates back several decades.
🚘 Online shopping isn't off-limits on Sundays.
🚘 It doesn't appear that NJ's rule will change any time soon.
If you're looking for time to head to the dealer and find a new car, half of the weekend is off limits.
In New Jersey, it is illegal for vehicle dealerships to sell cars on Sundays ... and it's been that way for close to 90 years.
The rule falls under the umbrella of so-called blue laws, an idea dating back to colonial times that revolves around banning certain activities on certain days. The laws were initially crafted to allow for more focus on religious observances.
The last year you could legally purchase a car at a dealership on a Sunday in the Garden State was 1936.
According to New Jersey law, it's a disorderly persons offense to "engage in the business of buying, selling, or exchanging motor vehicles, or open a place of business and attempt to engage in such conduct on a Sunday."
A first offense can result in a fine of $100 or a 10-day jail sentence, or both. Penalties worsen for subsequent offenses. Dealers can also lose their license to operate.
More than a dozen other U.S. states prohibit auto sales at dealerships on Sundays.
Blue laws impact more than dealerships in Bergen County on Sundays. In Bergen County, the sale of many common goods is prohibited on Sunday, so you'll rarely see a retail store in operation on that day of the week.
Will New Jersey's Sunday ban change?
There have been attempts to legislatively overturn New Jersey's decades-old prohibition.
But many automobile dealerships themselves like things the way they are. For one, physical locations can trim expenses by keeping the lights off for a day. Also, workers have known for as long as they've been in the business that they can count on Sunday as a day off.
A proposed law in 2013 would have given New Jersey dealers the option to operate on Sundays.
According to the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services website, there are no current proposals to lift the Sunday car-sale ban.
How do I buy a car on Sunday in New Jersey?
It's 2023. You're not as inconvenienced as you would have been in, say, the 1990s.
While it may not be the same as feeling and seeing vehicles in person, you can still browse a dealer's inventory — and beyond — from the comfort of your own home, or just from your phone, wherever you may be.
You can purchase a vehicle online and have it delivered to your home.
And private sellers, such as your neighbor or someone on Craigslist, can operate on Sundays.
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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