Could the PA lemon law help you resolve your car issue? If you have purchased or leased a defective new vehicle, understanding if the lemon law of Pennsylvania applies to you could be the first step toward receiving compensation. The term lemon law refers to vehicles that are defective or develop issues even after numerous repair attempts.
The Pennsylvania lemon laws have been created to protect consumers. Different states have different laws pertaining to if a car qualifies as a lemon. Below you’ll find a summary of the PA lemon laws, what you should do if you think your car is a lemon, and lemon law resources.
One of the main things to consider as to whether Pennsylvania’s lemon law applies to your case is whether your vehicle is new vs. used. A majority of lemon law state statutes apply only to new cars. However, some states do have provisions under their used car lemon laws.
The issue is specifically linked to your vehicle’s warranty. New cars are sold with vehicle warranties that specify coverage for a specified number of miles or months. It is under the umbrella of this warranty that the lemon law generally applies. For used cars sold by dealers with warranties, coverage under the Pennsylvania lemon laws may apply. If your state does not have specified lemon laws for used cars and you purchased your used car with a warranty, federal lemon laws may apply.
The following are the key aspects of the PA lemon laws. In order for your vehicle to qualify under the lemon law, the following conditions must be met:
• The law covers vehicles purchased or leased in Pennsylvania, or registered for the first time in PA, used primarily for personal, family or household purposes.
• The vehicle must have had at least3 repair attempts - 30 calendar days out of service.
• The coverage period is 1 year, 12,000 miles, or duration of warranty, whichever occurs first.
If the above conditions are met, under the PA lemon laws the manufacture or dealer is required to do the following:
• If the manufacturer fails to repair or correct the issue after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall, at the option of the purchaser, replace the motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle of equal value or accept return of the vehicle from the purchaser and refund to the purchaser the full purchase price or lease price, including all collateral charges, less a reasonable allowance for the purchaser's use of the vehicle not exceeding 10 per mile driven or 10% of the purchase price or lease price of the vehicle, whichever is less.
• Refunds shall be made to the purchaser and lienholder, if any, as their interests may appear. A reasonable allowance for use shall be that amount directly attributable to use by the purchaser prior to his first report of the nonconformity to the manufacturer. In the event the consumer elects a refund, payment shall be made within 30 days of such election.
First, if you want to possibly make a lemon law claim, you’ll need to keep accurate records. Keep detailed records of all problems, repairs performed, and the amount of time your car is unavailable while repairs are being made. Without these documents, proving that your car qualifies as a lemon will be a challenge. If you did not collect documents when problems first arose, ask the dealer for the repair records.
To help you organize your documentation, click on this link for a repair log: Lemon Law Repair Log
Second, in order to potentially invoke the PA lemon law, you must communicate with the dealer attempting to fix the vehicle that you feel your car qualifies. If the dealer is not complying, contact the manufacturer directly, detailing the problem. When contacting the manufacturer, specifically ask for their procedure for making a lemon law claim.
A final step you can take is to hire a lemon law attorney. The good news is that the attorney fees are generally free to the consumer. If an attorney who specializes in the PA lemon laws loses your case, they don’t get paid. If they win, the manufacturer pays the legal fees. Thus, if you do not feel like the dealer or manufacture has provided sufficient restitution, hiring a lemon law attorney is definitely worth the effort.
If your situation appears not to qualify under the Pennsylvania lemon laws, there may be another option. A potential resource is the federal lemon law. This statute is called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. In general it falls under the breach of warranty (BOW) theory. Restitution under this act is different than under than PA lemon laws.
Instead of a refund for the defective vehicle, restitution is the difference between the Kelly blue book value of the car in excellent conditions vs. good or poor condition. Again, if you are unclear if the PA lemon law applies to your situation, a lemon law attorney can be hired at no cost to you to determine if the federal lemon law applies to your case.
If you have specific questions regarding the lemon laws of Pennsylvania, you can also contact the Attorney General’s Office at the following address:
Attorney General’s Office
Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
16th Floor, Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120
You can also visit their website at: Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
The Better Business Bureau also has a printable summary of the Pennsylvania Lemon Laws: BBB State Lemon Law Statutes