The Pennsylvania Lemon Law does not cover used cars. Fortunately, there are other laws that can protect you if you have purchased a defective used vehicle.
The first such law is called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. This Act is sometimes referred to as the “Federal Lemon Law”. This Law is similar to the Pennsylvania Lemon Law in many respects, but it does not have the same restrictions in place…so it’s a broader law that covers more vehicles. Many used car claims are filed under the Mag Moss Act.
The differences in the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act and PA Lemon Law are two fold. First, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act does not have a mileage restriction like our state Lemon Law. As you may know, the Lemon Law requires that the first occurrence of the defect must happen before 12,000 miles have been driven. The Magnuson Moss Act does not have that mileage restriction.
The second difference is that the PA Lemon Law only applies to New motor vehicles, while the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act can apply to used vehicles. The only qualifier is that the defect must have first occurred while under the Manufacturer’s Original Warranty or while under a dealer’s written warranty. It should be noted that these are typically the only types of used vehicle cases that we accept, that is, those that have a defect that first occurred while the vehicle was within the original manufacturer’s warranty period or those where a dealer offered a warranty. We also do take other used vehicle cases, but we are very selective in choosing which claims to handle.
The Mag Moss Act provides that the purchaser of a defective consumer product is entitled to cash compensation for the decreased value of the vehicle, a free replacement vehicle or a full refund of the purchase price, if that product is defective and the Manufacturer cannot repair it after a reasonable number of attempts. The Act also provides that the consumer is entitled to recovery of his reasonable Attorney fees. Those provisions are nearly identical to the PA Lemon Law. While the law does say that a replacement vehicle is an option, in our experience that rarely occurs. The more likely result for a defective used car claim is cash compensation to the buyer (you).
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The next law that may provide protection to the purchaser of a defective used vehicle is the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. This Law provides, in essence, that the vehicle which you purchased should operate as the Dealer suggested it would. This law also provides for the recovery of Attorney fees.
Finally, we pursue many used vehicle claims because of breach of an Implied Warranty, or breach of an Express Warranty. An Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose occurs where the dealer makes a representation that the vehicle can be used for a particular purpose, and the Buyer relies on that representation.
An Implied Warranty of Merchantability is based upon the general premise that a vehicle should operate as one would expect it to. If the vehicle does not, then it was not fit for sale, and the Dealer has breached his warranty. An Express Warranty arises where the Seller has made a certain representation about the vehicle. For instance, if the Dealer makes a representation that a certain model “is better than the new model”, he is making an express warranty.
There are other issues that can arise with a defective used car that would give rise to a claim. These can include an odometer rollback, a failure to disclose a rental or a transmission problem, failure to disclose that the vehicle is a lemon, failure to use proper AS IS notices.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have about the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, Breach of Warranty, or any other defective automobile related issues at 412-348-8600 or 1-888-LEMON-44 or via email to Attorney Greg Artim
Please further note that we only handle vehicle cases in Southwestern PA. We do not take on any used car cases where the vehicle is older than 5 years or if the purchase price was less than $10,000.