New Philadelphia lemon law

July 1, 2008 4:06:38 PM PDT
Buying a used car in Philadelphia is about to get safer thanks to a new lemon law. Right now, the state of Pennsylvania has a lemon law but it only protects new car sales. Used car purchases were made under the buyer-beware philosophy. But a measure that's waiting for the mayor's signature could change that.

Once this bill is signed into law if you buy a used car in Philadelphia that vehicle has to be road-worthy. If it's not, in other words, if it's a lemon you can return it and get your money back within three days.

Booker Clark of South Philadelphia is buying a used Honda.

"Better gas mileage and I think it's the way to go since the economy is down."

He is buying a certified pre-owned car with a manufacturer's warranty, but soon, thanks to Philadelphia's lemon law bill, buyers of any used car can have extra piece of mind.

"This is the first time in Pennsylvania history that people who buy used cars have any protection under the law," said Lance Haver of the Office of Consumer Affairs.

What it means for used car buyers is this: if you get your used vehicle inspected by a licensed mechanic you can return the vehicle within 72 hours after purchase if the vehicle fails the safety or emission inspection or if the seller failed to disclose a major structural defect.

District Councilman Darrel Clark sponsored the bill.

"The licensor or the retailer has 10 days to either correct the damage or give the individual their money back."

The lemon law bill also says dealers must provide a copy of any written warranty to the buyer within fifteen days of payment for the warranty.

The office of consumer affiars will take complaints.

Violators will get a notice for their first offense but repeat offenders will have their business license suspended or revoked.

Reputable used car dealers sa

id they think the law is a plus for all parties involved.

"It's a win for the consumer but it's also a plus for the dealership. We're a reputable dealership. We've been in business for over 25 years so it protects us as well. The disclosure that goes to the consumer is excellent," said Matthew Vance of Piazza Honda.

But no one is more pleased with the lemon law bill than consumers who don't want to get stuck with someone else's repair bill or someone else's junk.

"You want to get the best bang for your buck. I don't want to be driving for two weeks and then my car is parked on the street. So I think it's good," said Booker.

Mayor Nutter's office told Action News he does indeed plan to sign the bill.

Councilman Clarke Passes Lemon Law Bill for Philadelphia

Councilman Darrell L. Clarke sponsored and recently passed Philadelphia's first Lemon Law. The law, which the Councilman says is a major consumer protection issue, ensures that purchasers of used cars in Philadelphia have the opportunity to have the vehicle inspected by a licensed mechanic within 72 hours of purchase, and the ability to either return the vehicle for repair or full refund if a major structural defect is found.

It is important that consumers are aware of their new rights. The particulars of the new law are as follows:

**A purchaser of a used vehicle may return the vehicle within 72 hours after purchase if it is: 1. Unable to pass safety or emission inspection; or 2. Is found by a certified inspection mechanic to have an undisclosed major structural defect. *mechanic must do so in writing.

**Upon return of any such vehicle the dealer shall within 10 days either repair the vehicle; or refund all moneys paid for such vehicle. *all repairs must be done at dealers expense.

**Dealers must also provide a copy of any written warranty to the purchaser within fifteen (15) days of payment for the warranty, and shall perform the undertakings set forth in the warranty promptly upon presentation of the warrantied vehicle for repair. At the time of purchase, the dealer shall disclose to the purchaser, in writing in large capital letters, whether the warranty is provided by the dealer, the manufacturer or a third party.

**Office of Consumer Affairs will take complaints and determine their merit. L&I will thereafter issue citations and enforce.

**1st offense ? Code Violation Notice (CVN). (accrues each day issue not rectified); Repeat offense: possible suspension or revocation or Automobile Sales License and/or Business Privilege License.

Councilman Clarke believes that this will be a tremendous help to the thousands of Philadelphian's who purchase used cars every year. "This will help to crack down on any unscrupulous auto dealers and give our consumers some peace of mind in making their automobile purchase."

The State of Pennsylvania currently has a Lemon Law, however this law only affects new car buyers, not used car consumers.