Bucks County commissioners unanimously approved the “Used Car Lemon Law,” the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania. State law provides similar protections for buyers who purchase new cars, but does not extend them to used purchases.

The new law protects used car buyers paying more than $3,000, newer than seven model years old, and up to 100,000 miles. The Used Car Lemon Law requires a car dealer to refund the consumer’s full purchase price if a vehicle meeting the age and mileage requirements fail a safety inspection or emissions test within 10 days of purchase unless the dealer can correct the issues within a reasonable amount of time.

The new law will now require auto dealers to give consumers a written warranty based on mileage. For cars with 24,000 miles or fewer, the warranty would cover 90 days or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first, for 24,000 to 60,000 miles you would be covered for two months or 2,000 miles, for 60,000 to 100,000 miles, and the grace period would be one month or 1,000 miles.

Any defects known to the dealer are now required to be disclosed to the buyer. This includes damage to the chassis, engine block, transmission, or differential. Dealers will also have to disclose flood damage as well as if the vehicle is unable to pass inspection.

The Bucks County Lemon Law makes it unlawful for a dealer to misrepresent the mechanical condition of a used motor vehicle that meets the ordinance’s conditions. Failure to disclose any information about a warranty, service contract, or repair insurance on the vehicle and “to fail to provide a clear, written explanation, prior to sale, of what is meant by the term ‘as is,’ if the used motor vehicle is sold ‘as is.'”

It also requires a dealer to give the consumer a written warranty based on the mileage. If it has 24,000 miles or fewer, the written warranty will cover 90 days or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first; if the vehicle has 24,000 to 60,000 miles, the warranty would be for two months or 2,000 miles; for 60,000 to 100,000 miles, the grace period would be one month or 1,000 miles.

Some vehicles, such as those determined by an insurance company to be a “total loss” or vehicles sold “as-is” are exempt from the requirement. Buyers may waive the warranty requirement during the negotiation process if they so choose.

The ordinance will also expand local enforcement capabilities, allowing the county Department of Consumer Protection/Weights & Measures to crack down on dealers who make misrepresentations about or fail to disclose issues with the used cars they sell.

“Most of our auto dealers by far are honest and do a good job,” said Michael Bannon, director of the county Consumer Protection/Weights & Measures Department. “But I’m afraid that there’s a few businesses out there that have given the industry a black eye, and that’s what we’re looking to address right now.”

Bannon’s department, together with county Solicitor Joe Khan and the Law Department, modeled the ordinance after New Jersey’s “Lemon Law.”

Khan noted that in the six months between the ordinance’s passage and implementation, Consumer Protection plans to conduct outreach aimed at ensuring affected businesses understand the new policies.

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2023.

Click here to read the full text of the Used Car Lemon Law.

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