Used car dealers in Pennsylvania can be fined or lose their business licenses for violating the state's consumer protection laws, and they may also face federal prosecutions when their illegal behavior is orchestrated using wire communications or conducted over state lines. This is the predicament that a former used car dealer in Wisconsin recently found himself in. The man was originally being investigated for fraud by the Brown County Sheriff's Office, but U.S. attorneys became involved when the scope of his activities became clear.
A study ranking state lemon laws showed that Pennsylvania came in at 35. This may be interesting to consumers, especially since new vehicles cost about $36,000. With this amount of money on the line, consumers want to feel confident that they are able to return a vehicle that has major issues without being put through a frustrating process.
Many Philadelphia consumers struggle to make ends meet. If they are unable to pay credit card bills or loans on time, they may face calls and letters from debt collectors. Collection agencies can be very aggressive in seeking payment. In 2017 alone, 70 million people across the United States had some kind of contact with a debt collector, reported the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the National Consumer Law Center. Around one-third of all American adults with credit of any kind also had some kind of debt in collection.
In Pennsylvania and across the United States, victims of auto dealer fraud and misrepresentation can take action to protect their legal rights. Consumers can take three different steps: contacting the dealer in writing; filing a legal complaint with the appropriate state agency or district attorney's office; and seeking legal advice from a lawyer. The first thing to do when faced with car dealer fraud is to ask the dealer to correct the situation. Contacting the dealer before filing a legal claim is mandatory in many states.
Each year, thousands of cars are damaged by hurricanes and floods across the U.S. While many of these vehicles are totaled and destroyed after their owners receive their insurance settlement, a significant portion are resold at used car lots and auto auctions in Pennsylvania and across the country. Worse, some sellers attempt to hide a vehicle's flood history from potential buyers.
The Pennsylvania Automobile Lemon Law provides consumers with legal remedies if they purchase unsafe or defective new cars, but the legislation does not apply to new motorcycles. Rep. Pam Snyder thinks that this situation needs to be addressed, and she has co-sponsored a bill that would give motorcyclists in Pennsylvania the same legal protections that drivers enjoy.
Many people living in Pennsylvania and around the country are not aware of how their credit score and history can impact their day-to-day lives. Credit card companies, bank lenders, insurance companies, employers and landlords regularly check credit scores before deciding to work with an applicant.
Pennsylvania residents who are struggling with overwhelming debt will likely know that debt collectors can be extremely persistent and aggressive. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act places strict rules on lenders and prohibits unfair, deceptive or abusive collection practices, but finance companies often skirt these rules and seek to insulate themselves from the consequences by engaging the services of third parties to pursue unpaid debts on their behalf. This was the conclusion reached by the Securities and Exchange Commission after reviewing consumer complaints submitted about bill collectors.
Many Pennsylvania residents may be surprised to learn that repossession of property is entirely legal under certain conditions. Even if the debtor faces financial difficulties, the creditor can assert its rights to payment. This could lead to a vehicle or another piece of property that hasn't been paid for being lawfully taken.
Car buyers in Pennsylvania may pursue remedies under the state's lemon law if their vehicle develops a problem during the first year of ownership or 12,000 miles that dealers are unable to repair. The issue must affect the vehicle's value or operation, and dealers are given three opportunities to remedy the problem. Automobile manufacturers often mount vigorous defenses in these cases and may deny that a problem exists when a consumer's claims are not backed up by expert testimony. However, an appeals judge in Massachusetts recently said that a stack of repair bills was evidence enough.