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.
People in Pennsylvania may be aware of lawsuits, injuries and deaths involving defective Takata air bags. There are a number of product liability lawsuits involving the bags pending in the Southern District of Florida.
Car buyers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country may rely on CarFax vehicle history reports when purchasing a used car. However, the information on a given report may not always be accurate. In some cases, the reports may neglect to make note of serious accidents or significant repairs made to a vehicle. In others, a report overstates the damage caused in an accident, which can reduce a car's value.
Pennsylvania residents may have legal recourse if they have purchased a used vehicle with defects that were not previously disclosed. What steps they should take, whom they should pursue for compensation and whether to seek legal action will depend on certain factors.
When people in Pennsylvania and around the country buy new cars, they have legal protections if the vehicle is defective. The federal government and the states have lemon laws, which provide protection for customers who have purchased defective vehicles that continue to fail despite multiple repairs within the warranty period. In one recent Wisconsin case, auto manufacturer Mercedes-Benz was ordered to pay over $400,000 to a woman after it refused to refund her when she made a claim under the Lemon Law.
People in Philadelphia may see auto repossession as one of their worst nightmares, leaving them without the car that is so critical to work, education or family life. Some people dealing with the threat of repossession may feel as if they have no rights at all to hold on to their vehicles. However, you do have rights, and legal support can help you to protect your rights in these cases, before your car is taken away.
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.