If you have a new vehicle that you purchased in the state of Pennsylvania and it has had repeated defects that have not been able to be repaired, you may be able to benefit from the protection afforded by the Pennsylvania Lemon Law and/or the federal Lemon Law known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
What is the Pennsylvania Lemon Law and how does it apply to you? We’ll cover the basics here. For more specific information, see the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General.
Pennsylvania Lemon Law
The Pennsylvania Lemon Law is known in the state as the Pennsylvania Automobile Lemon Law. It applies to any new vehicle that is purchased and registered in the state of Pennsylvania for the personal or family use and designed to transport up to 15 persons. It is important to note that the following are not included: motorhomes, off-road vehicles, and motorcycles.
Under the terms of the law, the manufacturer must repair or correct any defect that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle and which occurs within one year after the date of delivery or 12,000 miles of use, or the term of the manufacturer’s express warranty, whichever comes first. The repairs must be made at no cost to you.
If the vehicle cannot be repaired after three attempts, or if the vehicle remains out of service for 30 calendar days in total for repair, you generally may be eligible for a replacement vehicle or a refund of your purchase price, less a limited allowance for use.
What you should do if you believe you have a lemon
Your first step should be to contact the manufacturer’s zone representative at the number listed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
If the manufacturer’s zone representative is unable to have your vehicle successfully repaired at the manufacturer’s authorized agent, the dealer, under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, you can request arbitration of your case through the dispute settlement program of the manufacturer, if one exists. An arbitration decision is binding on the manufacturer, but not on the consumer. You may also proceed further to bring a private lawsuit.
If the manufacturer does not have an arbitration program already set up, you may immediately proceed to initiate legal action.
Requirements of the Pennsylvania Lemon Law
There are certain important requirements of the Pennsylvania Lemon Law that you need to keep in mind and take action as appropriate.
- You are responsible to transport or deliver your vehicle to the dealer for repairs, unless it is unreasonably difficult to do so. If that is the case, you are required to give the manufacturer written notice so that arrangements can be made to transport the vehicle to a repair site, at no charge to you.
- Each time your vehicle is repaired, the dealer’s repair facility must provide you with a detailed statement describing repairs made, as well as the cost of parts and labor.
- Protection under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law will not apply if the defect is the result of your abuse, neglect or alteration of the vehicle.
In addition, under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, a vehicle that has been returned to the manufacturer may not be resold in Pennsylvania unless the manufacturer provides the consumer with a written statement that the vehicle was returned because of a defect that was not fixed within a reasonable period of time, and the same express warranty provided originally, except that it may last only for 12,000 miles or 12 months after the resale date.