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What is a Lemon Car Under Pennsylvania Lemon Law?

Pennsylvania Lemon Law covers new passenger cars, SUVs, vans, and trucks that are designed to transport up to 15 people, and that are purchased or leased in Pennsylvania. The law also covers used cars that are sold by dealers within one year or 12,000 miles of the original purchase (whichever comes first). In order to be considered a “lemon,” the vehicle must meet the following requirements:

  • Does not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty
  • Has substantial defects affecting the use, safety or value of the vehicle
  • Has substantial defects affecting the use, safety or value of the vehicle
  • Has been taken in three times for the same problem or if it has been at the dealership for a total of 30 days during the first year or 12,000 miles
  • Is driven for personal use

Under the law, the dealer is required to provide you with a detailed copy of the repair invoice each time you bring your vehicle in for repair. In addition, the dealer must notify the manufacturer of the problem when you bring your vehicle in a second time for the same repair.

If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, you can demand a replacement vehicle or a refund. An amount can be deducted for your use of the vehicle, but it can’t exceed ten percent of the purchase price or ten cents per mile driven before the first repair.

Getting Lemon Justice – Relief Under PA Lemon Law

The law provides several options for a successful Lemon Law claimant. First, you may be awarded a replacement vehicle of the same year, make, and model. You may also qualify for a monetary award, which can include:

  • The full contract price
  • Sales tax
  • Registration fees
  • Finance charges paid on your loan
  • Cost of dealer-installed options
  • Towing and vehicle rental costs
  • Non-dealer added options
  • Incidental costs
  • Attorney’s fees

The amount of the monetary reward may be reduced by no more than 10% of the purchase price or 10 cents for each mile driven before the first reported repair. The award may also be reduced by the total amount of dealer allowances and rebates or settlements.

Hiring a Lemon Law Lawyer in Pennsylvania

Most vehicle manufacturers follow the principle of “No lawyer, no money.” In other words, they count on being able to outmaneuver the consumer who hasn’t retained a Lemon Law attorney. While Pennsylvania Lemon Law may allow consumers to represent themselves in manufacturers’ arbitration hearings, you’ll only be on equal footing if you have an advocate at your side. A lemon lawyer can present your case to the arbitrator or go to court and can call and question witnesses. His or her expertise enables your attorney to easily dispute the manufacturer’s testimony.

But perhaps the most important reason to hire a Lemon Law lawyer is that it sends a clear signal to the manufacturer that you are serious about your claim, and are willing to sue them in order to get justice. Vehicle manufacturers have powerful legal teams that are adept at avoiding or stalling Lemon Law claims, and often only obey the law when they’re faced with the threat of a lawsuit by Lemon Law experts. When they are, they usually settle very quickly, since they know that the cost of going to court will be much higher. For these reasons, it’s in your best interest to have an advocate who knows the law and works on your behalf.

Keep in mind that, if you go to court, you shouldn’t have to pay a lemon lawyer to handle your Lemon Law case. That’s because the law says that the manufacturer is responsible for paying the consumer’s attorney’s fees in successful Lemon Law claims.

What Happens When You Hire a Lemon Law Lawyer?

A good lemon lawyer will work on your behalf to get the compensation to which you’re entitled — typically in the form of a refund, a replacement vehicle, or a cash settlement. Your Lemon Law attorney will ask you for all of your records, such as repair orders and correspondence, that pertain to your lemon. Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of your vehicle’s repair history, then present the manufacturer with a statement outlining your case and demanding full recovery. More often than not, the manufacturer will settle; if not, though, your Lemon Law attorney should be prepared to sue the manufacturer. Your lawyer should be able to resolve your case within one to two months.