Warranties and Lemon Laws

Many states have developed "lemon laws"-- laws to protect consumers who use wheelchairs and other forms of assistive technology.

Your state "Tech Act" project should have more information about this kind of law for your state. The Technology Related Assistance Act of 1990, commonly known as the "Tech Act," originally established a resource for advocacy, information and systems change in every state and the possessions. The Tech Act was recently updated with the passage of The Assistive Technology Act of 1998. You can find the contact information for your state at the RESNA Technical Assistance website.

As an example of this kind of consumer protection, the Pennsylvania Tech Act Project, called PIAT (Pennsylvania Initiative on Assistive Technology) posted the following information about the Motorized Wheelchair Warranty Act of Pennsylvania

The Motorized Wheelchair Warranty Act applies to you if...

  • You own or lease a motorized wheelchair or scooter Your motorized wheelchair was purchased or leased from a manufacturer.
  • A defect in your motorized wheelchair impairs the use, value or safety of the wheelchair (defect can not be the result of abuse or neglect on the part of the owner).
  • Repairs to your motorized wheelchair or scooter are needed within one year of the date of purchase.
  • You need a replacement motorized wheelchair or scooter while yours is being repaired.

The Motorized Wheelchair Warranty Act (Act 117)

American Consumers have demanded warranties on large purchases such as automobiles and household appliances to protect themselves against the proverbial "lemon". People with disabilities are now demanding the same protections for the purchases of assistive technology, including motorized wheelchairs and scooters. In 1994, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania passed The Motorized Wheelchair Warranty Act. In doing so, Pennsylvania joined 12 other states who have established similar laws.

Under the terms of The Motorized Wheelchair Warranty Act, motorized wheelchair/scooter manufacturers are now responsible for all repairs and alterations to any parts of your motorized wheelchair/scooter that are covered under warranty for one year from the date of purchase or lease.

To be considered eligible for any repairs, replacements or refunds, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. NONCONFORMITY: Manufacturers must repair any condition of defect that impairs the use, value or safety of your motorized wheelchair/scooter. (This does not include defects that are a result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications of the motorized wheelchair /scooter.
  2. CONDITIONS: If you have a motorized wheelchair/scooter that has been repaired for the same nonconformity FOUR TIMES WITHIN ONE YEAR, your motorized wheelchair/scooter is covered by the Motorized Wheelchair Warranty Act.
  3. If due to a nonconformity, your motorized wheelchair/scooter is out of service for a total of thirty days within one year, your motorized wheelchair/scooter is covered by the Motorized Wheelchair Warranty Act.

REMEDIES: If nonconformity's persist, and you would like either a new motorized wheelchair/scooter or a refund, you must first notify the manufacturer in writing. The manufacturer is required to provide you with a comparable replacement or refund within thirty days of written notification. If you are unable to get a satisfactory result on your own, you may need to seek legal assistance. For more information about what to do, contact:

Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, Inc.
N. Cameron Street, Ste C
Harrisburg, PA 17103
(800) 692-7443 Voice/TTY

For a complete copy of the Wheelchair Warranty Act, Please contact:

Institute on Disabilities/UAP
Temple University (004-00)
Ritter Annex, Room 423
Philadelphia, PA 19122

1-800-204-PIAT (7428) Voice
1-800-750-PIAT (7428) TTY
215-204-9371 (fax)

Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT) offers technology-related assistance for individuals with disabilities of all ages. PIAT has developed and implemented a statewide awareness campaign to help people understand the need for, scope and benefits of assistive technology and related services. PIAT is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education, under P.L. 100-407, the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities ACT.

Go to the WheelchairNet Discussion Area to ask questions or share your thoughts on this topic with others.

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Last Updated: 3-2-2006

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Please note: This information is provided a archival information from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheeled Mobility from 1993 to 2002.

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