Lemon Law Myths BustedMarch 8th, 2012 | Posted by in Pennsylvania Lemon Law
In my daily practice of law I handle anywhere from 5 to 20 phone calls or emails regarding the Pennsylvania Lemon Law and its application to specific vehicles. I have been amazed at the lack of knowledge out there with the general public, so I am hopeful that this article will dispel many of the myths put out there by those who do not know better.
1. Myth – I cannot afford to pay an attorney to represent me.
The truth is that it does not matter what you can afford to pay. Pennsylvania, and most other states, have provisions in the Lemon Law that allow for recovery of your attorney fees in the event that you have a lemon. In that regard, most reputable lemon law attorneys (myself included) do not charge an up-front retainer of any sort. We rely on the merits of your claim and the applicable laws that we proceed under to account for collection of our attorney fees. In essence, in a lemon law claim, while you have hired an attorney to represent you, you typically will not pay him anything out of your pocket.
2. Myth – The dealer cannot find a problem with my vehicle, so there is no case.
This is absolutely false. Many problems that we encounter in our lemon law cases involve “intermittent” problems, that occur at random. Your duty as a car owner is to notify the manufacturer/dealership whenever these problems occur, and then to give them the opportunity to make a repair. If they cannot properly diagnose the problem, that is their concern, not yours.
3. Myth – The dealer has fixed the defect, so I do not have a case.
The Pennsylvania Lemon Law states that the manufacturer must fix the defect within a reasonable number of attempts. Established case law has held that the number of attempts that are “reasonable” are three (3). If the dealer/manufacturer cannot repair the defect after three tries, then you have a lemon law claim no matter what. If the dealer fixes the defect on the fourth or later attempt, you still have the ability to proceed with your lemon law claim.
4. Myth – I have a used vehicle, so I do not have a case.
This one is both true and false. The Pennsylvania Lemon Law only applies to “new” vehicles, including dealership demonstrators. However, there are other state and federal laws that allow you to bring a claim where the defective vehicle has a warranty on it. If the dealership does not make the repair after a reasonable number of attempts, an attorney can bring a breach of warranty claim under the other state and federal laws.
Greg Artim is an Attorney based in Pittsburgh, PA. He handles Lemon Law and Breach of Warranty matters in all of Pennsylvania. For more answers to your PA Lemon Law questions, please visit his website at Pennsylvania Lemon Law . If you live in a different state, Greg recommends visiting State Lemon Laws
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