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Who pays for your rental car when a lemon’s in the shop?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2021 | Consumer Protection

When you buy a new car, you expect it to be in excellent condition. Most car buyers get to enjoy that new car smell and the performance of a brand-new vehicle for months before the thrill wears off entirely. For a tiny fraction of people buying new vehicles, their experience won’t be one of enjoyment but rather frustration and expense.

When someone buys a lemon or a new car with significant defects, they may need to repeatedly bring their vehicle back to the dealership for repairs. Not only is that process inconvenient, but it also leaves those drivers without a vehicle. Is the dealership that sold you a lemon legally obligated to provide you with a rental vehicle?

How Pennsylvania’s Lemon Law works

When you buy or lease a new vehicle with defects, the dealer has the opportunity to repair the issue. However, if there have been a reasonable number of attempts and the issue remains, the owner has the option of either requesting a replacement vehicle or having the dealer repurchase the vehicle from them.

The law aims to protect those buying vehicles from a situation where they have all the expenses related to buying a new vehicle as well as repair expenses and possibly a vehicle they can’t even drive. Unfortunately, the law does not specifically require that dealerships making repairs due to vehicle defects provide that buyer with a rental car.

Thankfully, many dealerships have policies where they furnish a free rental car to those with a vehicle in the shop. Even if that is not the policy of the dealership, you may be able to negotiate a temporary replacement vehicle at their expense when arranging for repairs.

You can claim your losses and costs if you have to file a civil lawsuit against the dealership, which could include the cost of a rental vehicle each time you had to take your lemon back for more work. The dealership may willingly provide you with a free rental or replacement vehicle while fixing your vehicle to reduce the amount of any future claim and to develop some goodwill with you.


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