Lemon Law in Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania Lemon Law
Pennsylvania's automobile lemon law is designed to protect you from being financially burdened by a dud vehicle. If you suspect you may have been sold a lemon, regardless of whether it was intentional or unintentional, make sure you understand what the law covers before threatening the seller or manufacturer with legal action.
Basically, the Pennsylvania lemon law allows manufacturers a number of attempts to repair a defective new vehicle before they need to either replace the vehicle or refund your purchase.
On this page you'll find an overview of some of your rights and protections under the PA lemon law and the steps you may need to take if you end up buying a lemon.
Vehicles Covered in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania automobile lemon law covers most new vehicles purchased or leased―in- or out-of-state―and registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
Motorcycles, motorhomes, and off-road vehicles are not protected by the Pennsylvania lemon law.
Lemon Law Protection
The law states that the manufacturer must correct any flaw, at no cost to you, that occurs under any of the following conditions:
- Within 1 year of the vehicle ownership.
- Before the vehicle's odometer clicks out 12,000 miles.
- While the express warranty is still valid.
By definition, the defect must be something so substantial that it either:
- Significantly decreases the car's resale value.
- Makes the car unsafe to drive and likely to cause a serious injury or death.
- Impacts the normal functions of the car.
Minor defects are generally not covered by the lemon law. Additionally, defects caused by abuse, misuse, neglect, or unauthorized modification are not covered by the lemon law.
Lemon Law Documentation
To assure that the Pennsylvania automobile lemon law works in your favor, begin maintaining detailed records the moment you start having problems with your car. These documents will serve as your star witnesses should you go to court. To prove you've been sold a lemon, have ready:
- Sale or lease documents.
- Maintenance records, including receipts for maintenance supplies.
- Repair statements.
- All documents pertaining to the flaw.
Filing a Lemon Law Claim in PA
If the defect in your car has not been rectified after a reasonable number of attempts to repair, or if your vehicle slumbers out of service for a total of 30 days or more, you may be eligible for a replacement vehicle of the same value or a full refund.
The vehicle manufacturer is able to deduct a portion of the vehicle's value depending on how much you used the car before the defect put it out of service. Additionally, if the manufacturer cannot replace the exact model or year of your defective car, they will need to replace it with one of equal value.
To initiate compensation, you need to alert the manufacturer of your intentions and allow them to attempt to repair your vehicle. If you are met with indifference or are completely brushed off, the Pennsylvania automobile lemon law―under the backing of the state's attorney general―gives you the green light to launch arbitration or a lawsuit.
If your vehicle is not repaired after a reasonable amount of attempts and time to repair, contact the manufacturer's zone representative at the telephone number listed in the owner's manual of your vehicle.
If the representative is unable to rectify the defect, you may request an arbitration through the manufacturer's dispute settlement program. If the manufacturer does not offer an arbitration program there are other third party options.
The arbitration decision is binding on the manufacturer, but not on you. That means if you're unsatisfied with the decision, you may proceed further with a lawsuit.
In the case that you're entering arbitration or a lawsuit, an attorney with lemon law experience can work with you to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.
Hiring a PA Lemon Law Attorney
The idea of going against a major corporation, such as an automobile manufacturer, can be quite intimidating. That's why obtaining the services of a lawyer may be beneficial to you. When you set out to find an attorney, be sure to look for someone who has experience with lemon law cases.
You'll want to ask about his or her:
- Case track record.
- Lemon law experience.
- Fee policy.
In addition, it's also important to remember to trust your intuition. With tens of thousands of dollars on the line, you'll want a lawyer you trust to successfully resolve your case.
Pennsylvania Lemon Law Assistance
If you have questions or concerns, call the Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection at (800) 441-2555. The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides details of the lemon law.
If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney.