You depend on your car for so many things in life – it gets you back and forth to work, it gets you to the grocery store, and it takes you to see the people you love. A vehicle is an important life investment. When it doesn’t function as expected, it can throw a big wrench in your life. If you’ve experienced this with your vehicle, you may have grounds to pursue a lemon law claim in Pennsylvania. We’ll discuss what you need to know about PA lemon law on this page.
If you believe you’ve purchased or leased a lemon, call our lemon law attorney in Pittsburgh, PA at (844) 214-0997 or fill out our convenient and secure online contact form.
Understanding Pittsburgh, PA Lemon Law – Free Information
In Pennsylvania, lemon law protects consumers who have purchased a “new motor vehicle,” which is legally defined as a self-propelled motorized vehicle that is new and unused. Vehicles that meet the following requirements may fall into this category:
- A vehicle that is driven on public roads, streets, or highways;
- A vehicle that is designed to transport not more than 15 persons;
- A vehicle that was (a) purchased or leased and is registered in Pennsylvania, or (b) was purchased or leased in another state and registered for the first time in Pennsylvania; and
- A vehicle that is utilized, leased, or bought for use primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.
This definition includes a demo or dealer car but does not include a motorcycle, motor home, or off-road vehicle. This law protects the “purchaser”, which is legally defined as a party who has acquired ownership of a new motorized vehicle by transfer or purchase, or someone who has entered into an agreement or contract for the purchase of a new motor vehicle, that is used or bought for use primarily for personal, family or household purposes. To be categorized as a “purchaser”, one must hold continued ownership and possession of the vehicle. The “purchaser” also must never have relinquished the vehicle's title.
In February 2002, the “purchaser” definition was broadened to include a person who has obtained possession of a new motor vehicle by lease. The broader definition also includes those who have entered into a contractual agreement to lease a new motorized vehicle that is used, leased, or purchased for primary personal, family, or household use.
The lemon law provides a safeguard for “purchasers” of any vehicle that has a “nonconformity.” A vehicular nonconformity is defined as a defect or condition that substantially impairs the utilization, value, or safety of a new motor vehicle and does not meet the manufacturer’s express warranty.
If the nonconformity does not significantly prohibit the use, value, or security of the vehicle, a consumer is not entitled to a repurchase or replacement via lemon law protections, or the 1 Reeves v. Morelli-Hoskins Ford, Inc., 415 Pa. Super. 431, 609 A.2d 828 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1992); Sinnerard.
- Ford Motor Company, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8735 (E.D. Pa. 1996).
Note that this information is not intended to serve as legal advice. Please direct specific questions to your legal counsel. Reviewed January 2017 © 2017, Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. Pennsylvania.
- Nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect or modification, or alteration of the motor vehicle by the purchaser.
Reasons to Hire a Hire a Pittsburgh Lemon Law Attorney
You’re probably wondering “why should I hire an attorney for my Lemon Law Case?” On paper, lemon law seems to fully favor the consumer, inherently providing protections against vehicle proprietors. However, consumers should be aware that this is not always the case. Corporations and manufacturers will steadfastly challenge a purchaser’s lemon law claim – and utilize their abundant legal resources and financial weight to do so. If you go up against a manufacturer or corporation alone, be prepared to go up against them and their high-paid attorneys who will fight tooth and nail to completely delegitimize your claim and get your case thrown out. At Robison Lemon Law Group, we fight hard to protect consumers’ rights. We won’t stop until we’ve done everything we can to ensure that you’re vindicated.
When you enlist the help of Robison Lemon Law Group, we fight for your case and work to win. For more info, read more here!
Our Lemon Law Claim Process
1.) Client Intake
In the first step, we’ll study your case to ensure it meets all of the requirements to submit a lemon law claim, ensuring that your vehicle is not older than 5 years and that the defect started within the applicable warranty timeline. When we have determined that all requirements are met, validating that you have grounds for a lemon law claim, we will send you a client packet with important information about the process and timeline.
During this step, we will also be working with you to determine that we have all of the documentation we need to pursue your claim to the fullest extent of the law.
2.) Pre-Litigation Claim Resolution
We will work to resolve the claim as soon as possible. Some manufacturers mandate that you submit claims through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the National Center for Dispute Resolution (NCDS). Our firm will take care of the submission process and follow up on the status of your claim. If the submission agency finds that your claim qualifies for lemon law protections, we will work with the manufacturer in an attempt to come to a quick resolution on your claim.
While some cases may be finalized in this stage, it’s important to understand that not all cases will be. The initial decisions of these agencies are not legally binding, which means that the manufacturer could refuse to come to a resolution. This may mean that we move to the next stage and file a lawsuit.
Sometimes, manufacturers have a pre-litigation group, which allows us to submit a claim prior to filing suit. This sometimes offers another effective and efficient route to a quicker resolution. However, if we fail to come to a proper resolution in this phase through the manufacturer’s pre-litigation group, we will proceed to file suit.
3.) Filing the Lawsuit
If the manufacturer does not come to a fair resolution before this point, we are within our legal right to file a lawsuit. Note that the Robison Lemon Law Group will cover the costs associated with filing the lawsuit, as the Lemon Law and Breach of Warranty Statutes include provisions that allow us to recover the costs related to your claim from the manufacturer.
Note that exceptions may apply. One such exception is any claim that falls solely under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). These claims are generally those for commercial vehicles (ie. heavy-duty trucks) that are not manufactured for personal use. In these cases, a contingency agreement is signed with our clients.
With these types of agreements, our firm retains a percentage of any recovery received to recoup these costs and fees. If no recovery is received, our clients are still not responsible for the payment of these costs and fees.
4.) After the Lawsuit Is Filed
Once the lawsuit has been filed, we will collect any documentation that supports your lemon law case to strengthen our legal strategy and pursue your claim to the fullest extent. This phase is called “discovery.”
To ensure that your claim is supported with the proper evidence, we highly recommend that if you are still having problems with your vehicle, you return to the dealership during this time and report the defect. Please be sure to obtain a repair order every time you visit the dealership for a problem – this documentation will help support your claim.
Note that every case is unique and all timelines will not be the same. Some cases take longer to come to a resolution than others. However, we will communicate with you regularly to ensure that you stay up to date on the proceedings.
Pennsylvania employs an arbitration process that helps to resolve lemon law disputes and breach of warranty claims. Arbitration helps both parties come to a timely resolution without having to go to trial. Manufacturers typically will want to avoid costly trials, so arbitration can be an important step. A lemon law attorney from the group will attend the arbitration with you and walk you through every step.
A decision is typically rendered within seven (7) to ten (10) business days. If either party disagrees with the resolution, an appeal may be filed within thirty (30) days of the date of the arbitration.
While it’s not likely that your case will go all the way to trial, if an appropriate resolution is not met before this phase, we will take your case to court. Trials generally last for 2 to 3 days.
What the Law Says About Lemons in Pennsylvania
For a vehicle to meet lemon law requirements in Pennsylvania, it must:
- It must be purchased or leased new, having no prior owners.
- The defect must occur prior to the end of the first year of ownership/lease or 12,000 miles on the odometer.
- It is less than a year old but has more than 12,000 miles when the defect first occurs, you cannot qualify for lemon law and vice versa.
- Both requirements must be present.
- The defect must be unable to be repaired within a reasonable amount of time or a reasonable number of repair attempts.
- It is presumed that it has been an unreasonable amount of time to repair a car if it is out of service for a cumulative total of 30 days or greater.
- An unreasonable number of attempts is three visits to the dealership and the problem continues to exist.
- The safety of the vehicle, its use, or its value must be substantially impaired by the problem.
- All repairs must be performed at an authorized dealership.
Be sure to consult a lemon law attorney early, so that you can ensure that all proper elements are met.
Pittsburgh was established in 1757 and is the county seat of Allegheny county, PA. This city is only second to Philadelphia in terms of population, with over 300,000 residents. Pittsburgh is situated in the southwestern section of Pennsylvania, near the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers. The city has a few nicknames, including “The Steel City,” and “The City of Bridges” for having over 300 steel-associated businesses and over 400 bridges. Pittsburgh is also host to the Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Botanical Gardens. Pittsburgh is also the home of three major professional sports franchises: the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates & Pittsburgh Penguins.
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