pennsylvania lemon law
Pennsylvania’s Lemon Law only applies to new vehicles that are sold. However, if you purchased a used vehicle and are now experiencing problems, you still have a remedy under Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Statute or the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.
Under Pennsylvania’s Lemon Law, the manufacturer of a new motor vehicle sold or leased and registered in Pennsylvania must repair or correct a nonconformity (i.e. a problem with your vehicle) that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle at no cost to the purchaser.
However, in order for the manufacturer’s duty to repair to arise, the nonconformity or problem with your vehicle must occur within the earlier of the following:
One year of the actual delivery of the vehicle to the purchaser;
Within the first 12,000 miles of use; or
During the term of the warranty.
In order to be entitled to a refund or replacement under Pennsylvania’s Lemon Law, the nonconformity must substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle and cannot be the result of abuse, neglect or modification or alteration of the vehicle by the purchaser. For example, if the purchaser of the vehicle modified the vehicle’s engine and the engine fails because of the modifications, the purchaser would not be entitled to relief under the Lemon Law.
If a purchaser has a problem with their vehicle that is covered by the Lemon Law, the purchaser must notify the manufacturer. It is the purchaser’s duty to deliver the vehicle to the manufacturer’s authorized service facility in Pennsylvania. If the purchaser cannot deliver the vehicle because of the nonconformity, the purchaser must notify the manufacturer. Written notice of the nonconformity constitutes return of the vehicle under these circumstances. The manufacturer then has the choice of repairing the vehicle at its location or arranging for the vehicles transportation. All costs of transportation when this occurs are the responsibility of the manufacturer.
The manufacturer gets to make a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle. Generally, a reasonable number of repair attempts is 3 attempts to repair the same defect or if the vehicle is out-of-service because of the nonconformity for a cumulative total of 30 or more days.
After a reasonable number of repair attempts are made, the manufacturer has a duty to refund the price of the vehicle or replace the vehicle. The purchaser gets to choose between a refund of the price of the vehicle or a replacement vehicle. However, the manufacturer is permitted to deduct a reasonable amount of money for depreciation of the vehicle when the purchaser used it. Therefore, if the vehicle has been driven for 10,000 miles before the nonconformity impairs the value, use or safety of the vehicle, the manufacturer can deduct the depreciation for the 10,000 miles the vehicle was driven.
The manufacturer or dealer must provide an itemized statement indicating all work performed on the vehicle to the purchaser every time that the vehicle is returned from being repaired. A consumer should always make sure that they ask for and receive an itemized statement of the work performed on their vehicle every time it is repaired.
A purchaser can bring a civil action if they suffer any loss due to the nonconformity of a vehicle as a result of the manufacturer’s failure to comply with the Lemon Law in a Pennsylvania court. Often, the purchaser is entitled to recover any reasonable attorney’s fees and costs spent prosecuting a claim under the Lemon Law.
If a vehicle is deemed a “lemon” under the Lemon Law, the vehicle may not be resold, transferred or leased at retail or wholesale unless:
The manufacturer provides the same express warranty that it provided to the original purchaser except that the term of the warranty only need to be for 12,000 miles or 12 months after the date of resale.
The manufacturer provides the following written statement to the purchaser on a separate piece of paper:
"IMPORTANT: THIS VEHICLE WAS REPURCHASED BY THE MANUFACTURER BECAUSE IT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE MANUFACTURER'S EXPRESS WARRANTY AND THE NONCONFORMITY WAS NOT CURED WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AS PROVIDED BY PENNSYLVANIA LAW."
The dealer must clearly and conspicuously disclose the manufacturer’s written notification prior to the resale or lease of the vehicle.
The dealer must obtain a signed receipt certifying in a conspicuous and understandable manner that the written statement has been provided; and
The manufacturer or dealer applies for and receives the designation of branded title from the department of transportation.
Consumers should always keep all paperwork that they receive when they purchase a vehicle, any communications (such as letters, emails, or text messages) between the consumer and the car dealer or manufacturer, and any information on the repair attempts made on the vehicle. Without this documentation, it may be difficult to prove your case.
If your new car has a nonconformity or problem or if you believe a manufacturer or dealer is not complying with the Lemon Law, call us today for a free consultation. Also, if you have a used vehicle that is experiencing problems, the Lemon Law will not apply to that vehicle but you may still have a remedy under a different statute. Lampman Law also provides a free consultation to determine if you would have a valid remedy for a problem with a used vehicle.