By Jim Carroll, Erie Times-News
A change in the state's Lemon Law, which brands used "lemons" for life, takes effect today.
Until now, if a manufacturer had to take back a car under the Lemon Law in PA, the company had to fix the car, put a sticker in the window to notify the next buyer of its history, and give a free 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty.
But that had loopholes. "What we found was that some dealers would purchase the car from the manufacturer and strip the disclosure and resell the car to an unsuspecting customer," said State Rep. John Evans of Edinboro, who was the prime sponsor of the amendment to the Lemon Law.
As of today, the law requires that anyone who buys or leases a used lemon must sign a paper to show they understand what they are getting. If dealers don't adequately disclose that someone is buying a lemon, they could get hit with a $2,000 fine and have to refund the cost or provide a replacement vehicle of equal value.
"With used car purchases on the upswing, the law did not adequately protect consumers," said Lemon Law lawyer and automobile consumer advocate Craig Thor Kimmel, a legal consultant to the House Consumer Affairs Committee. Used car buyers will have to be told up front that they are getting a former lemon, he said.
The law also requires that the car or truck get a special title from PennDOT that brands the vehicle as a lemon for the life of the vehicle.