It is so frustrating when some of my clients learn that they just missed meeting the requirements for a new car or refund of all their money under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law. If a client comes to me while there is still time left under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, I can advise steps they should take, but if the Lemon time and mileage limits have passed, then I may be able to get money but not a new car or buyback.
The Pennsylvania Lemon Law has a few hard and fast rules that anyone with a potential Lemon Law case should be aware of in order to have a chance at getting a vehicle replaced or bought back. The time period under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law when you have to have at least one repair attempt is the first 12 months after purchase OR 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. This is sometimes referred to as the "Lemon period." Even if you only have 8,000 miles on your car but it is 14 months old or you have 17,000 miles, but your car is only 6 months old, your vehicle is no longer in the Pennsylvania Lemon Law time and mileage limits.
The significance of the first 12 month or 12,000 mile period under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law is that a vehicle must be presented to a dealership for repair of the problem at least once during this time. The dealership does not have to actually fix the car or even verify the problem, just as long as you took the car into the dealership and reported the problem during the first 12,000 miles and 12 months. If you are having problems with your car, such as transmission, engine, vibration or other significant issue and are approaching the end of 12 months or 12,000 miles, you need to get your vehicle into your manufacturer's dealership as soon as possible.
Clients will say that they had the problem during the Lemon period but didn't take it into the dealership or they called the dealership, but the dealership didn't make an appointment in the Lemon period. Just having the problem without taking it in for repair is not enough. To have a potential claim under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, you must take your car into the dealership for a problem before the end of the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. If the dealership tries to make an appointment after the Lemon period, insist on an earlier appointment or go to another dealership for your vehicle's manufacturer.
You don't have to file a claim or get into court during the 12 months or 12,000 miles of ownership, but you do have to get your car in for repair during that time. In other words, as long as you take your car in for the problem at least once during the first 12 months and 12,000 miles, you can still get more repair attempts and file a lawsuit after that period.
Of course, it doesn't matter how many times you take your car in during the first 12 months or 12,000 miles if you don't actually have a problem with your vehicle or meet the other requirements of the Pennsylvania Lemon Law. While the Lemon Law is a very short statute and appears simple, there are many traps and pitfalls that can eliminate an otherwise good case that consumers or even attorneys who are not experts in the Pennsylvania Lemon Law don't know about. If you believe that you might have a Lemon under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, contact Attorney Christina Gill Roseman at 800-745-5259 to find out your rights for free.