Consumer Protection Archives

Staying protected from identity theft

Data security is a growing concern among corporations and private individuals in Pennsylvania. This is especially true of consumer credit information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act was passed to standardize the means through which everyday consumers' financial and credit history is stored, collected and distributed.

How the law protects consumers

There are a variety of laws on the books that aim to protect consumers in different ways. For instance, Pennsylvania consumers may be covered by a lemon law that allows them to return a defective vehicle. Other laws prevent businesses from using deceptive advertising to entice consumers to buy a product or service. Furthermore, bait-and-switch tactics are generally prohibited. This occurs when a company advertises a product only to not have it available to consumers. In its place, a company tries to sell another product that is more expensive.

Why dealers treat customers different after a sale

Car buyers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country are generally treated well when they are visiting a dealer to buy a car. However, they tend to find that they aren't given the same treatment when bringing in the vehicle for service. Part of this is because the dealer isn't responsible for replacing a car if it is defective. Instead, it is up to the manufacturer to back them or replace them.

Reliability problems can plague new cars

When Philadelphia drivers head to the dealership to buy a new car, they often expect to receive the best reliability and quality available. In one Consumer Reports survey, car buyers emphasized that reliability was a primary driver of new car purchases. People often expect that when they buy a new car, they'll avoid problems associated with used cars, including maintenance costs and repair downtime. However, many new cars suffer from significant problems, especially newer models.

Avoid buying a hurricane-damaged car

Cars damaged by hurricanes are possibly being sold to car buyers in Pennsylvania. State lemon laws protect consumers from manufacturing defects by requiring manufacturers to buy back cars after a certain number of repairs have been attempted. Consumers should take steps to check for hurricane damage before they purchase a vehicle since lemon law requirements only apply to new vehicles.

How warranty laws protect consumers

The Magnuson-Moss Act and the Federal Trade Commission provide protections to those buying products in Pennsylvania and other states. For example, a copy of the warranty must be made available to buyers prior to making a purchase. It must be written in a manner that is clear and easy to read. Furthermore, the party that is offering the warranty must disclose whether it is a full warranty or if it is limited in any way.

About lemon vehicles

Every year, thousands of defective motor vehicles in Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States are bought back by manufacturers because of repair issues. Despite popular belief, the titles of these vehicles are not marked to indicate that they are lemons. The manufacturers will resell the same vehicles, even if they have not been repaired. These vehicles could then be back on the roads and back in need of repair.

Lemon laws and auto fraud can combine in some cases

When people in Philadelphia buy a car, they could face a range of consumer protection pitfalls. While some defective cars that continue to fail repeatedly despite being sold under warranty are classified as lemons, in other cases, the transaction becomes a matter of auto fraud above and beyond the sale of a car with mechanical defects.

FTC's lemon law gets an update

The Federal Trade Commission established its Used Car Rule in 1985. It places certain requirements on used car dealers operating in Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. Dealers are required to put a Buyers Guide on all of the vehicles they offer for sale. The Buyers Guide includes warranty information and other details that customers can use to make buying decisions. Following a solicitation of public comments, the FTC has amended the Used Car Rule to include new required disclosures.

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