Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

Legal Protections For Used Car Buyers In Pennsylvania


Many people who buy cars from dealers in Pennsylvania may not be aware of the rights they have under the law to protect them as consumers. This may leave some buyers with the impression that once they buy a used car, they do not have any avenue to hold the dealer accountable if the car breaks down, cannot pass inspection, or comes with extra costs that go beyond the advertised price.

Pennsylvania law protects car buyers by requiring dealers to meet certain standards in their advertisement and sales transactions. Although the Pennsylvania Automotive Industry Trade Practices law covers car sales from dealers, the definition of a dealer includes more sellers than a consumer may imagine. A dealer can include any person who sells or negotiates the sale of more than five cars a year, who sells or negotiates the sale of a car on behalf of another person, or who sells or negotiates the sale of a car that was specifically bought for resale.

Dealers are required to make certain disclosures, especially in advertisements for the cars to be sold. Some of the requirements under the law for dealers to disclose in advertisements are as follows:

  • The make, model, and year of the advertised car;

  • Any known defects existing in the car’s frame, block, transmission, flood damage, or any other damage or issue that would cause the car to fail to pass state inspection; and,

  • Any conditions of sale, for example, that the offer is for a limited time, or that there are only a limited number of vehicles available for sale under a particular offer.

Furthermore, if the consumer is trading in a car based on an advertised trade in offer, the dealer has to disclose if the trade in offer will be reduced if the car to be traded in is not in a certain condition.

The advertised price must also include charges that would arise before the car is delivered to the consumer. The dealer cannot add on charges for freight, handling, and dealer preparation after the consumer agrees to the advertised sales price. The consumer should note that he will bear the cost of taxes, registration, and licensing. Any extra charges that are not included in the cost of the car have to be spelled out in the sales contract or agreement, and the consumer must receive a copy of the agreement.

It is considered an unfair business practice for a dealer to fail to note the condition of the car being sold as either used or new on the sales contract. If a car is being sold “as is,” the sales contract has to have a clear warning to the consumer buying the car that there is no warranty of any kind on the car, and that the consumer will have to pay all the expenses to repair the car. Without this warning, the car cannot be said to have been sold “as is.”

As always, despite the protections the law affords used car buyers, buyers should still be careful when buying used cars and ensure that their own mechanic inspects the car before the sale is finalized, especially when buying a car “as is.”

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you bought a car from a dealer and were charged for undisclosed costs, or you later discovered the car had pre-existing damage that causes it to fail inspection, you may have a legal claim against the dealer who sold you the car. For more information, contact Louis S. Schwartz and his team at ConsumerLaw Pa.com.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn