Philadelphia Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Blog

What to do with a financed vehicle

As a general rule, a car sale in Pennsylvania is final once a buyer signs the loan and purchase paperwork. However, it is possible, though rare, that a dealer will decide to take back the car in a process known as "unwinding the deal." In other cases, a dealer will have a specific policy that allows a buyer to return a vehicle under certain conditions.

In the event that a dealer does except a return, it may come with a fee. An exception could be made if a vehicle is defective. Lemon laws protect consumers when they buy vehicles that have mechanical or other dangerous problems that cannot be fixed. Consumers are advised that bringing false claims against a dealer or other seller could come with negative consequences.

Why car dealers sell vehicles they know are damaged

Many car dealerships claim to prioritize customer satisfaction, but what really motivates those sales? Unfortunately, many hard-working people are purchasing vehicles that are not in their best interest. This is a constant problem that leaves buyers seeking legal restitution for a downward investment based on misleading claims. So, why does this continue to happen?

Sales incentives

The rights that you have in a vehicle repossession case

People who are in danger of having their vehicles repossessed in Pennsylvania should understand the rights that they have. There are many things that repossessors are not allowed to do under the law, but they still may do them. If your vehicle has been wrongfully repossessed, you may have legal rights.

Repossessors are not allowed to remove a vehicle if you tell them to leave regardless of where your vehicle is parked. They also are not allowed to damage your property or to enter into an enclosed area without your permission. Repossessors cannot threaten you with force or use force in order to gain possession of your vehicle.

Consumer laws target deception, defects and errors

Buyer beware is a common piece of advice for people in Pennsylvania, but every business transaction depends on some level of trust among parties. To enforce this necessity, consumer laws create a framework for holding people and companies accountable for their actions in the marketplace. These laws seek to maintain standards of truthfulness, product quality and qualifications among professionals and tradespeople.

Someone who was tricked into a deal by deceptive advertising could have a legal right to a refund or other remedy. The classic example here is known as a bait and switch. This tactic lures people to a business with an attractive offer, but then the company attempts to sell a different and more expensive product or service.

How to spot odometer rollback

You have your eye on a low-mileage used car that looks like a great deal. But is it really what they claim it is? The odometer reading has a lot to do with the value of a car, and it says a lot about the life it has had so far. It’s important to check out the story it is telling you.

Many people think that today’s electronic odometers are harder to rollback, but that is simply not true. It some ways, it is even easier than it ever was. And the financial incentive to do so makes it very temping. Here’s how you can tell if it was done to that car you have your eye on.

Lemon laws make car sellers keep their promises

Pennsylvania drivers have probably heard the term "lemon law". These are statutes that protect consumers from costly repairs to cars that don't live up to the promises made about them by car dealers or manufacturers. Though the phrase 'let the buyer beware" always applies, especially when buying used cars, lemon laws make dealers responsible for paying for repairs on certain vehicles for a period of time after the customer has made the purchase.

Most states have lemon laws that apply to new vehicles that have been either purchased or leased. The specifics of lemon laws vary by state. Generally, lemon laws apply during a certain time period after the purchase of the vehicle. The laws mean that car dealers are usually responsible for the cost of repairs to new cars, or in some cases they may be required to offer a replacement or refund the customer's purchase price.

Auto fraud and the law

Pennsylvania residents who purchase a vehicle from a car dealer may have legal recourse if they believe that the dealer was not truthful about the condition of the vehicle. If the dealer withheld information regarding previous accidents that the vehicle had been in or if certain parts of the vehicle do not work as they should, the car dealer may be held financially liable.

Federal and state governments have laws that make misrepresentation and fraud by car dealers illegal, including lemon laws, which pertain to the selling of defective vehicles. Laws that pertain to car dealer fraud are a form of protection for consumers who want to purchase motorcycles, cars, vans or trucks. Some of the legislation was established by the Federal Trade Commission, general state fraud statutes and state consumer protection agencies.

CarFax reports may omit vital information on used cars

Beware, used auto buyers! CarFax reports don’t always tell the complete story. As a result, you just might get duped into buying a lemon from an auto dealer that swears by the authenticity of a clean, “accident-free” CarFax report for the vehicle.

CarFax may be the country’s best-known and most-popular vehicle history reporting service, thanks to its clever and memorable television ads featuring that cute and wily “Car Fox.” In fact, the company has invested millions in a marketing strategy to remain “top of mind” for consumers.

Pennsylvania has 20,000 flood-damaged cars on its roads

There are about 20,000 cars on Pennsylvania roads that were once listed as totaled due to flood damage. Unscrupulous dealers skirt the law by purchasing salvage vehicles in areas ravaged by natural disasters and then registering them in states with less restrictive title laws. Only Texas and Louisiana, which have both been struck by hurricanes and tropical storms in recent years, have more flood-damaged vehicles on their roads than Pennsylvania, according to Carfax.

The vehicle history information company reached this conclusion after scrutinizing insurance company records and data. Carfax says that the number of previously flooded cars on American roads grew by 20 percent ibetween 2016 and 2017 and now stands at around 325,000, and that figure is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as thousands of cars flooded during hurricanes Irma and Harvey are registered.

Fine print can hinder consumers' use of lemon law

Pennsylvania car buyers may worry about their worst nightmare - bringing home a "lemon", a model plagued with a number of defects from the time of purchase. It can be important to review the purchase agreement, as it may affect their rights as consumers.

One Ohio couple decided to buy a recreational vehicle in 2015, but since the purchase, they have dealt with an array of problems. The RV's engine has suddenly lost power, and there have been ongoing issues with water leaks and defrosting inside and outside of the RV. Despite buying the RV for road trips, they and their family members have been left stranded due to ongoing mechanical problems.

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