Used Car Lemon Laws in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts has several different laws that protect the rights of consumers when buying or leasing vehicles. New cars are covered by the Massachusetts lemon law, and used vehicles by the lemon aid law. Used vehicles sold in the state are also covered by the used vehicle warranty law. To gain the protections of the lemon laws, you must meet the conditions that apply to your type of vehicle.

The Lemon Law

  • The Massachusetts lemon law applies only to new or leased cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles bought for personal, rather than business, use. It doesn't apply to off-road vehicles or motor homes. If the vehicle develops a problem within the first year or 15,000 miles that makes it unusable, unsafe or lowers its value 10 percent or more, the consumer is entitled to a repair, refund or replacement. The dealer or manufacturer has three chances to repair the problem, then the manufacturer gets one final chance. If the problem still isn't fixed or if it returns after the final fix, the consumer is entitled to a replacement or refund.

What You Can Do

  • To qualify for the lemon law in Massachusetts, the problem must be a significant one, not merely a minor annoyance. If you believe your vehicle qualifies, bring it to the dealer or manufacturer for repair. Keep records of all estimates, bills and receipts. If the dealer can't fix the problem after the third try or after working on it for a total of 15 or more business days, write a certified letter to the manufacturer giving them the chance to make one last attempt at fixing the problem. The manufacturer has up to 7 business days to fix the vehicle after receiving your letter. If they do not or cannot repair the problem, they must offer you a replacement vehicle or refund your money. You have the right to refuse the replacement vehicle if you'd prefer a refund.

The Lemon Aid Law

  • The Massachusetts lemon aid law allows the consumer to return any vehicle that won't pass inspection within 7 days of purchase. This would rarely be an issue with a new vehicle, so the lemon aid law primarily applies to used vehicle purchases. To qualify for the lemon aid law, the consumer must show that the cost of fixing the problem would be more than 10 percent of the price paid for the vehicle. When you buy a used car, the dealer who sells it to you is legally required to take the inspection sticker off, and you are legally required to have the vehicle inspected within 7 days after you register it. Since the lemon aid law protects you only for 7 days after you buy the vehicle, you may lose your protections if you wait to register and inspect it.

Other Protections

  • If your vehicle does not qualify for the lemon aid law, you may still be covered by the Massachusetts used vehicle warranty law. This law covers cars, trucks or vans sold by a dealer or individual for personal use. If you bought the car from a dealer, the used vehicle warranty law may entitle you to a repair, replacement or refund if the vehicle has less than 125,000 miles on it and you paid at least $700 for it. If you bought the vehicle from a private seller, you may be entitled to return it within 30 days if you discover a major defect the seller failed to tell you about. If your car qualifies for the lemon law, you cannot seek relief under the used vehicle warranty law.

References

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