Lemon Law - Who gets sued?

By: Greg Artim

I practice law in Pennsylvania with a concentration on Lemon Law and Breach of Warranty issues for vehicles. Many of my potential clients express concern to me over whether to proceed with a Lemon Law claim because they have relationships with the selling dealership. "I’ve bought five cars there, and they always give me a great price." is something that I hear quite frequently. Other times, its "The service department has been so nice to me, I really don’t want to sue them". I tell each of these prospective clients that their concerns are commendable, but that they are all for naught.

Think about what transpired when you purchased the vehicle from the dealership. For the most part, you looked at a vehicle, engaged in some negotiation, and then signed on the dotted line.

What exactly, though, did you purchase? The obvious answer is a new vehicle, but you also purchased a manufacturer’s warranty on that vehicle as well. I am not talking about an extended warranty or an extended service contract, but merely the written warranty that came with the vehicle at the time of purchase. (The standard warranty on most vehicles is 3 years, 36,000 miles, but various manufacturers and/or models have other terms and durations). The cost of that warranty is built into the price of the vehicle. The key, though, is that it is a manufacturer’s warranty. As per that warranty, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure that the vehicle works correctly, free of defects and non-conformities, while the vehicle is still within the given warranty period.

In Pennsylvania, Lemon Law claims proceed only against the vehicle manufacturer. The reason for this is based on the above, namely, that the manufacturer is the only party who is responsible for the defects with the vehicle because they are the entity that provided the warranty on the vehicle. The dealership is merely the agent of the manufacturerFree Articles, and the agent will not bear responsibility in a lemon law claim. So it is with candor and confidence that I can tell my clients that the dealership will not face the threat of a lawsuit under a Pennsylvania Lemon Law claim.

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