Philadelphia Lemon Law Attorney
Buying a new vehicle is often a serious decision and a significant financial investment. Finding out that you have purchased a vehicle that fails to meet your needs can leave you feeling taken advantage of and incredibly frustrated. You may find yourself without the safe vehicle you need to transport yourself and your family.
When the dealership refuses to make things right after purchasing a vehicle that fails to meet safety or use standards, you may need a Philadelphia lemon law attorney to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact the Levin Firm to learn more about your rights.
How Does Philadelphia Lemon Law Work?
When you purchase a new vehicle in Pennsylvania, you have the right to expect a reasonable standard of capability from that vehicle. If you purchase a lemon or a vehicle that fails to perform according to reasonable expectations, you may have the right to compensation, replacement, or refund for that vehicle. Under Pennsylvania lemon law, you may have the right to replace or repurchase your vehicle when it has severe damage.
If the vehicle meets several criteria, you may have purchased a lemon.
You Purchased the Vehicle New
While Pennsylvania law has laws that can help protect you if you purchase a used vehicle, the lemon law applies primarily to new vehicles. To qualify for compensation or replacement of your vehicle under the provisions of the Pennsylvania lemon law, you will need to have purchased the vehicle new.
A Defect or Condition Impacts the Use, Value, or Safety of the Vehicle
Does the defect prevent you from using the vehicle? For example, if your vehicle has an engine or transmission defect, it may prevent the vehicle from operating while you wait for repairs. Despite having purchased a new vehicle, you may not have the ability to use it for transportation, which can prove both expensive and frustrating.
Some types of defects may cause the value of a vehicle to drop immediately. For example, while defects in optional features on the vehicle, including backup cameras, heated seats, or even the radio, might not impact immediate usability, they may significantly impact resale value and even the owner’s ability to resell the vehicle if needed.
For many vehicle owners, especially those purchasing a new vehicle, safety is a crucial criterion that the vehicle must meet. Some defects, however, may significantly decrease the safety of the vehicle and make it more difficult to operate. A power steering defect or brake problem, for example, could substantially increase the risk of an accident, and an airbag failure could result in more substantial injury to vehicle passengers in an accident.
You Report the Issue within 12 Months or 12,000 Miles
To qualify for compensation under Pennsylvania’s lemon law, you must report the issue within 12 months or 12,000 miles of purchasing the vehicle, whichever comes sooner. You only have to report the first need for a vehicle repair within that time frame. The dealer will not bear responsibility if the issue occurs after that point.
The Issue Requires More Than 3 Repair Attempts, or the Vehicle Remains Out of Service for at Least 30 Days
Multiple repair attempts can leave you without your vehicle when you need it. Even if the dealership makes an effort to reduce your time without a vehicle, you may still experience considerable strain on your time, energy, and resources. If you have to take your vehicle in for service more than three times, or if it requires more than 30 days in the shop, you may have the right to pursue compensation under the Lemon law.
What Compensation Can I Recover if I Purchase a Lemon in Philadelphia?
According to Pennsylvania’s lemon law, you have three choices for compensation for a lemon vehicle.
You can have the dealership provide you with a vehicle comparable to the old one.
You may choose to have the dealership provide the same make and model vehicle in the case that the defects are specific to that vehicle, or you may choose, in some cases, to replace the vehicle with another one of the same general value and design. You should receive a vehicle with comparable features and equipment to replace the lemon.
You can have the dealership repurchase your vehicle from you.
Sometimes, you may no longer trust the dealership to provide any satisfactory vehicle. You might not want to use that make or model any longer, or you might simply want to sever the relationship with the dealership altogether.
If you choose to have the vehicle repurchased, the repurchase amount should include:
- Your down payment
- Any trade-in amounts included in the purchase price of the vehicle
- Any payments made on the vehicle for financing
- The remaining balance on the vehicle car loan
Note, however, that a usage offset may decrease the dealership’s repurchase amount by 10 cents per mile driven before first reporting the issue to the dealership. Since you must report lemon problems to the dealership within 12,000 miles of purchasing the vehicle, this cost should not exceed $1,200.
You may choose to negotiate for a cash settlement.
In some cases, the vehicle defect might not prevent its use but cause a notable decrease in value. You might prefer to keep your vehicle but still want compensation for your losses. In some cases, dealerships will allow the vehicle owner to receive a financial settlement for the losses or damages caused by a lemon purchase while retaining the vehicle. However, you may need a lawyer to help negotiate these settlements.
How Can a Lawyer Help After a Lemon Purchase in Philadelphia?
Dealing with the dealership where you purchased your vehicle can be incredibly difficult. You may find yourself fighting to get the compensation you deserve for your losses, including engaging in an ongoing struggle to convince the dealership that your vehicle does have a serious problem.
At The Levin Firm, we work to help our clients receive the total compensation they deserve for a lemon purchase, including aiding in the pursuit of the compensation best for their needs.
We help our clients understand their options.
After you purchase a vehicle with severe defects or problems, you may question your rights. What options do you have? How can you protect your rights? We help clients examine their options and choose the best option for their specific needs.
We help fight to prove the challenges you have faced from the vehicle and get the compensation you may deserve.
Dealerships often try to reduce the compensation their customers can recover following a lemon purchase. They want to limit what they have to pay out to protect their profits. At The Levin Firm, we fight to help our clients recover the compensation they deserve.
What Tactics will the Dealership Use After a Philadelphia Lemon Purchase?
Dealerships may use a variety of tactics to help reduce the compensation they have to pay out for a lemon purchase claim.
Dealerships may refuse to acknowledge the problem with your vehicle.
Some dealerships will claim that they cannot reproduce the problem you claim, and if they cannot reproduce it, they cannot fix it. In many cases, however, the inability to reproduce or determine the problem results from poor testing, not a lack of a defect. You may need a lawyer to help establish that you reported the problem to the dealership and it should have received immediate attention and repairs. Furthermore, a lawyer can help connect you with an expert witness to establish what damage your vehicle has and the steps the dealership should have taken to repair it.
You may also insist that the dealership thoroughly examine your vehicle, even if the dealership claims that it cannot reproduce or verify the problem with your vehicle. A lawyer can help put added pressure on the dealership and help overcome any challenges to get your vehicle repaired or the problem confirmed.
Dealerships may pressure you to take an unsatisfactory offer.
The dealership may pressure you to take a lower-value or higher-mileage vehicle in exchange for the lemon or refuse to pay out the total compensation you deserve, including paying off a high-interest loan. Often, people give in to the pressure from the dealership because they do not know their rights or how to fight to ensure that they get the value of their vehicle after a lemon purchase.
The dealership may try to claim that you caused the damage to your vehicle.
While the dealership will need to take care of any manufacturer error with a lemon, the dealership may not have to pay if you damaged it through misuse. Some dealerships will try to claim that driver misuse or error led to the incident and that the owner does not deserve compensation for any financial losses. In that case, you could lose money on the vehicle or a trade-in without a lawyer to address these tactics.
What Happens If I Do Not Report the Vehicle Problem Before the 12,000 Mile or 12-Month Mark?
In some cases, you may discover a defect with your new vehicle but fail to report it immediately, or you may discover a problem just after that critical deadline.
As long as you report the damage to your vehicle to the dealership for the first time before you reach the 12-month or 12,000 mile mark, you can still claim compensation under Pennsylvania’s lemon law, even if repairs occur afterward. On the other hand, if you choose to keep driving the vehicle and not report the error or defect, you may not have the right to full compensation you would otherwise deserve.
If you notice a potential problem with your vehicle near the deadline, you may want to stop driving the vehicle and report the defect immediately. If in doubt, get your vehicle to the dealership to have it looked at promptly so that you can protect your right to compensation under Pennsylvania’s lemon law. You may even want to have a vehicle close to the 12,000-mile mark towed to the dealership to help protect your right to compensation.
Do You Need a Philadelphia Lemon Law Attorney?
If you have purchased a lemon vehicle and struggle to get compensation for your losses, a Philadelphia lemon law attorney can help. Contact the Levin Firm online or at (215) 825-5183 to learn more about your right to compensation.
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The Levin Firm
1500 John F Kennedy Blvd #620
Philadelphia, PA 19102