It might make you cringe, but just maybe that brand new car of yours didn’t come off the transport truck nice, slow and easy. In fact, when it came off the carrier it sustained a few nicks and scratches to the paint job in the process. Worse yet, the auto transport was entirely careless and your brand new car sustained significant frame damage when it took a nosedive landing. Or maybe a new SUV was stolen from the lot and went on an off-road joy ride. Some dealers attempt to secretly cover up these careless, damage-causing incidents. After all, dealers have their own facilities to make the repairs. Once fixed, no one needs to be the wiser – right? Wrong.
Get wise to Pennsylvania’s new vehicle damage disclosure laws.
You probably heard about lemon laws, and how they cover new vehicle defects. But the lemon law only applies to issues that arise after multiple unsuccessful attempts to fix a new car’s defect. Another consumer protection law you may not be aware of is Pennsylvania’s New Motor Vehicle Damage Disclosure Law. This law applies to new vehicles that have suffered damage prior to sale, yet no such damage was disclosed to the buyer beforehand.
Fix and tell – it’s the law.
What if you discover auto damage that occurred prior to the sale? Maybe the paint on the hood and roof of the car is splotchy after a few washes. This may be a sign of damage that was caused to the vehicle prior to you buying it (for example, a shoddy repaint job after hail damage). Good news – the Pennsylvania New Motor Vehicle Damage Disclosure law is in place to protect you when both of the following criteria are met:
- Damage repair must cost at least $500 or 3% of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP); and
- You are the first buyer (original owner) of the vehicle.
By law, if both of the above are true, the dealership must disclose that damage – before you buy the car. This even applies to damage that has been fixed. If the dealership didn’t tell you about the damage, you may have a claim to get your money back.
How do you prove a new car had prior damage?
Proving prior damage can be a tricky case. In fact, dealership facilities are experts at hiding or concealing vehicle damage. Unless you’re a mechanic, most people could look at a car with frame damage and never even know it. Most dealerships don’t let you take the car for an inspection before you buy it, so you have to actually buy the car first and then take it for an inspection.
Get an expert review and inspection.
You need an expert on your side. If you have purchased a car and notice something isn’t right, or have been advised of potential prior damage, contact our law firm immediately. We can help you prove that the dealership knew about the damage prior to the sale. What’s more, we are often able to accept New Vehicle Damage cases with little to no upfront cost from our clients. We get paid once we win. The law also permits the court to force the other side to pay our fees.
Avoid adverse effects down the road from a new vehicle’s prior damage. Call us today.