Pennsylvania Lemon Law
Pennsylvania’s lemon law only refers to eligible vehicles exhibiting warranty defects. The law protects consumers from having to keep recently purchased faulty automobiles. Consumers must report and attempt to repair defects within a limited time frame and at certified repair shops. If a defect cannot be repaired and the claim is valid, the manufacturer must issue a full refund or a comparable replacement. Pennsylvania does have a used car lemon law. However, certain out-of-state cars may be protected by the state. Further restrictions may apply.
What is the Lemon Law in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania lemon law protects residents who have bought defective vehicles. Purchased and leased vehicles are both covered under the law. In addition to the above, the lemon law definition states that a vehicle must:
- Be used for personal purposes, including family or household reasons.
- Be registered in the state.
- Be considered new and not used.
The vehicle must be exhibiting a serious defect to be considered for a replacement or refund. The defect must occur within 12 months or 12,000 miles of the vehicle being purchased or leased to qualify. Furthermore, the defect must hinder the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle safely. The lemon law also protects vehicles with defects that significantly lower the market value of the car.
Note: Out-of-state vehicles that are bought elsewhere but registered for the first time within the state are eligible under the law. Used cars are not eligible for lemon law benefits. When buying a car, drivers should make sure to research purchases and confirm if the vehicles will be covered under this law.
How does the Lemon Law work in Pennsylvania?
In order to receive state lemon law benefits, you must attempt to repair the defect first. Depending on the filing category, you may need to complete multiple repair attempts before submitting a claim. There are two repair procedures that you must follow before you can request a refund or replacement vehicle. Depending on the situation, the vehicle must:
- Have at least three attempts made to repair the defect through the dealer or certified third party. The repair attempts must be for the same defect. However, this does not mean that more than one defect cannot be recorded. In all cases, the first attempt must be made within the lemon law warranty period mentioned in the previous section; or
- Be out-of-service for at least 30 days due to a defect. The days do not have to be consecutive to qualify. However, the entire 30 days must be recorded during the vehicle warranty period mentioned above. 30-day lemon laws for used cars are not applicable.
It is important to remember that all invoices and reports must be collected at the time of the repair. If you do not have proof or confirmation that the defect was unresolved, your case may be rejected. It is the dealer’s responsibility to inform the manufacturer of each repair attempt.
If the attempts to repair the defects are unsuccessful, you may request a refund or replacement vehicle from the manufacturer. Under the lemon law buyback policy, manufacturers must refund the consumer in full for the purchase price of the car. A reasonable deduction may be applied to your refund. This deduction is the result of an offset allowed to the manufacturer for your use of the vehicle. The deduction is based on miles driven and cannot exceed certain limits. A replacement vehicle must be issued if the refund option is not selected. However, the manufacturer may issue a comparable vehicle if the exact make and model is not available.
In some cases, the manufacturer will have a settlement procedure that must be exhausted before further action can be taken. However, the law protects consumers from being bound by this ruling. If you are unsatisfied with the settlement, you may file an action against the manufacturer. If the manufacturer does not have a settlement procedure in place, consumers can take legal action immediately.
Pennsylvania Lemon Law Lawyers
Although a vehicle’s manual may have details on your rights, an experienced lemon law attorney will help you better understand your options. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to defend yourself in an arbitration hearing or bring a civil action lawsuit against the manufacturer. Hiring a lawyer will help you navigate the court proceedings and organize your case with greater precision. In some cases, your attorney fees may be covered if the case is successful.
Additional New and Used Car Laws in Pennsylvania
There are several elements to the car lemon law that require a consumer’s attention and compliance. Consumers must bring the vehicle to the repair site, unless it is impossible to do so. If you need the vehicle to be collected, you must request the transport yourself. Repairs and transport costs shall not be the responsibility of the consumer.
If a vehicle has been returned to the manufacturer, it cannot be resold or leased without a written statement detailing the reason why it was returned given to the buyer or lessee. In addition, the law’s warranty period must be adjusted to reflect the new purchase date and a signed certification stating that the new owner has received all of the above information must be collected. Furthermore, the manufacturer must apply for a new car lemon law branded title that reflects the vehicle’s history.
In extreme cases, a returned vehicle with a defect that involves steering and breaking defects cannot be resold in Pennsylvania. State and federal lemon law policies differ, so make sure you are aware of your rights in the state that the vehicle is registered.
How to Tell if Your New Car Is a Lemon in Pennsylvania
If you believe that your vehicle may be eligible for benefits under the law, check that all of the state’s eligibility requirements are met before you submit a claim. In particular, make sure that the defect is not the result of modifications, accidents or abuses. Read the warranty carefully and check that the defect is covered under the law. If you vehicle meets all of the above requirements, it may be classified as a lemon.