Lemon Law / House Bill 767
HARRISBURG, Pa. (December 2, 2002) – A new change to the Pennsylvania Lemon Law to help used car consumers takes place today.
House Bill 767, a measure to protect used car buyers from purchasing lemon buybacks without full disclosure, was signed by Governor Mark Schweiker in October and goes into effect today.
The change marks the second major amendment to the Pennsylvania Lemon Law Statute in the past year; the first being the expansion of the Law to include leased cars. Pennsylvania is the first state to take this type of action.
Until now, if a car was bought back by the manufacturer under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, the manufacturer must fix the car, and place a sticker on the window notifying the next purchaser of its history. The manufacturer must also provide a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for the vehicle at no charge.
Representative John R. Evans (R-District 5, Erie and Crawford Counties), the prime sponsor of HB 767, says the Law didn't do enough to ensure that consumers would actually receive the notice. "What we found as that some dealers would purchase the car from the manufacturer and strip the disclosure and resell the car to an unsuspecting customer."
With the provisions of HB 767 added, the PA Lemon Law now requires all dealers and other classified sellers, to disclose the "lemon" history of a used car and also to obtain a signature from the buyer or lessee before the sale/lease.
"Requiring a written disclosure from each purchaser, lessee and transferee for the life of the vehicle, ensures that all parties know exactly what they are doing before the sale is finalized." says Evans. Lemon Law Attorney and Automobile Consumer Advocate Craig Thor Kimmel, a legal consultant to the House Consumer Affairs Committee, says the change will provide immediate benefits to used car purchasers.
"The amendment clearly spells out the responsibilities of anyone selling a lemon buy-back in Pennsylvania," says Kimmel, adding, "With used cars purchases on the upswing, the law did not adequately protect consumers. Now the consumer will be told what they are buying before the sale, and dealers and other sellers are held accountable if they don't do what they are required to."
If a manufacturer or dealer fails to comply with the disclosure requirements and/or the consumer is not notified in the way specified, the dealer or seller faces stiff civil penalties of $2,000 per car and must offer the purchaser or lessee their choice of a refund or a comparable vehicle without charge.
As added protection, the amendment mandates that manufacturers apply for a branded lemon title from PennDOT before the car can be resold, leased, or transferred in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The title branding then remains throughout the life of the vehicle and cannot be removed.
Is your pristine pre-owned car a lemon in disguise? Kimmel & Silverman has teamed up with CarDetective.com to provide a FREE lemon check. You can enter the VIN# of your used car to find out if it has a lemon history.