I have been practicing law for about 11 years now, and the last few years have been focused on handling Lemon Law claims. The number one question that I receive at my office is "Does the PA Lemon Law cover used vehicles?" As of the date of this writing, 2008, the answer is no. Fortunately, though, there are several other laws that protect you if you have purchased a defective used vehicle in Pennsylvania.
The first such law is the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, otherwise known as the federal lemon law. The Magnuson Moss Act provides protections that are similar to the PA Lemon Law to any person who purchases a vehicle which comes with a written warranty. If the vehicle exhibits defects or non-conformities, and those defects cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts, the owner may be able to bring a claim under this law, in an attempt to recover cash compensation, a replacement vehicle, or a full refund, depending upon certain circumstances. The Magnuson Moss Act also provides for recovery of Attorney fees if the individual prevails on his claim.
The next law that protects purchasers in Pennsylvania is the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. This law, in a nutshell, provides protections to individuals who have purchased defective vehicles, where the seller has made an affirmative representation about the quality or fitness of the vehicle, or where the seller is in the business of selling automobiles. The Unfair Trade Practices Act is a general law that is not limited to vehicles, but rather, it covers all kinds of products and services that are not up to an expected standard in Pennsylvania. Knowledgeable attorneys use this law every day to assist clients with defective product claims in PA.
Another law that provides protections to Pennsylvania purchasers is the Automotive Industry Trade Practices Act. This law sets forth rules, regulations and mandatory guidelines that automobile dealers must follow in the sale of motor vehicles. This law hits many different issues that can come up with the sale of a motor vehicle, including advertising, servicing, types of contracts and forms, disclosures, warranties and more. In practice, I have found that this law is not taken advantage of by enough of us who are engaged in the legal profession.
While the Pennsylvania Lemon Law does not provide direct coverage for used vehicles here in PA, it should be clear that there are many other laws that do provide protections and remedies in the event that you purchase a defective used car in Pennsylvania.