According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the annual cost to consumers of odometer fraud in the auto industry is between $4 and $10 billion. Odometer fraud is illegal under both federal and Pennsylvania law. When a person buys a vehicle, the seller must provide a disclosure, in writing, of the number of miles registered by the vehicle's odometer. If the mileage displayed by the odometer is not the vehicle's correct mileage, the seller is required to make a statement on the title reflecting the discrepancy.
Vehicle owners in Pennsylvania have lemon laws in place to protect them from products with ongoing automotive defects that cannot be resolved. These consumer protection laws generally apply to hardware issues, such as a faulty transmission that defies repair efforts, but modern vehicles increasingly have software issues. Autonomous and partially autonomous vehicles rely on software to manage their autopilot features. These new technologies might require consumer protection laws to expand their scope.
Car owners in Pennsylvania should be aware that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may recall a vehicle if there is a manufacturing or design issue that makes the vehicle unsafe in some way. When this occurs, owners of the recalled vehicles can go to dealerships and have the defective parts replaced or repaired at no cost.
Used cars often present good value for consumers in Pennsylvania, but people should exercise due diligence when considering the purchase of a used vehicle. A trustworthy private seller or dealership will willingly share information about a vehicle's past. People even have the right to contact a former owner when investigating a used car.
When a potential car buyer goes to a Pennsylvania dealership, the staff will likely do whatever it takes to make a sale. Once the car is sold, however, the dealership can act in an indifferent manner toward the new owner. This is because the manufacturer is responsible for any defective vehicles that it sells. Therefore, while the dealer's service center will attempt to make repairs, it has little to lose if the issue isn't fixed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.