Massachusetts Lemon Law
The purpose of the Massachusetts lemon law is to protect consumers in the event they purchase defective vehicles, and this law is regulated by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR).
There are three types of corresponding laws to learn about: the used car lemon law, the new and leased vehicle law and the failed inspection law.
In some cases, an MA lemon law attorney is necessary for a lemon law buyback; however, an attorney is not always needed.
To learn more about these laws, when to hire an attorney and how to determine if your car qualifies for protection under these laws, read through the sections outlined below.
What is the Lemon Law in Massachusetts?
The Lemon law definition in Massachusetts applies to newly purchased or leased vehicles with defects that are bought from car dealerships. The nonconformity of the vehicle is so substantial that it:
- Prevents use of the vehicle.
- Diminishes the value of the vehicle.
- Impairs the vehicle’s safety.
A car qualifies as a lemon under the state lemon law in Massachusetts if the consumer can demonstrate substantial impairment to the safety, market value or use of the car that is specifically a result of the car’s defect.
The defect must devalue the vehicle at 10 percent of its market value.
The new car lemon law gives the dealer, manufacturer or authorized agent three attempts to repair the vehicle. The seller may move toward obtaining MA lemon law protection if, after three attempts, the defect is not repaired, or if 15 days passes; whichever comes first.
Buyers are urged to keep receipts and records of contacts, including dates, charges and repairs made throughout the process. An additional seven days is granted to the manufacturer for a final attempt at repair.
At the end of this period, the buyer has the right to a replacement or refund for the vehicle.
Private Sale Protection
While there are no federal lemon law statutes that protect vehicle purchases from private sellers, the laws state that a private seller must disclose any defects to the buyer.
Buyers have 30 day lemon law used cars return windows if a defect was not disclosed by a private seller. If the buyer can prove the seller knew about the defect before the sale, the seller will be required to refund the price of the vehicle, minus 15 cents per mile.
Does the Massachusetts Lemon Law apply to used cars?
The Massachusetts used car laws that apply to preowned vehicles that are considered to be lemons are referred to as “Used Vehicle Warranty Laws.” This MA lemon law warranty protects buyers of used vehicles purchased from private parties or dealerships in Massachusetts.
This law requires dealers to present the buyers of used vehicles with written warranties that protect against defects that impair safety or use of the vehicle. This used car lemon law covers cars, trucks, vans and demo vehicles. Dealer sales are protected if they:
- Cost $700 or more.
- Have less than 125,000 odometer miles at the time of sale.
The length of a Massachusetts used car laws warranty depends on the age and mileage of the used vehicle. Motor vehicles that the used car lemon law does not cover encompass the below:
- Motorcycles, dirt bikes and mopeds
- Leased vehicles
- Vehicles used for business or registered to a business
- Off-road vehicles and auto homes
How does the Lemon Law work in Massachusetts?
The new car lemon law in Massachusetts states that once a consumer has exhausted the required repair attempts, he or she can move forward with receiving compensation or a refund, where consumers have a few different options. The three options are:
- Replacement offers: Under the lemon car law, this is when the manufacturer offers a replacement vehicle. The new vehicle carries a new term of protection beginning the day the claimant takes possession. New manufacturer financing costs cannot be more than the original vehicle financing costs, and the buyer has the right to reject the replacement and opt for a refund instead. Reimbursements made under replacement offers include vehicle registration transfer fees, sales tax on replacement vehicles, rental car expenses that were a result of repair and towing fees associated with repair work on the defect.
- Refund for a purchased vehicle: When a vehicle refund is offered due to a lemon vehicle, the consumer will receive the full price of the car, including trade-in allowances or other credits. A reasonable deduction for mileage and use put on the car will be recouped. This deal cannot be rejected for a replacement. Manufacturers must make the following reimbursements: car registration fees, sales tax, finance charges, unused warranty credit, unused credit insurance, towing or rental car fees and incidental costs and dealer-added options.
- Refund on a leased vehicle: The total amount of lease payments made under the lease agreement will be refunded to the consumer. Reasonable deductions for mileage and use of the car will be subtracted.
- Cancel of sale by the consumer: Under the MA lemon law’s Failed Inspection Law, the consumer can cancel the sale, if the vehicle fails inspection within the first seven days of the purchase date, or if the estimated cost of repairs exceeds 10 percent of the purchase price. Consumers must report a failed inspection within 14 days of purchase date.
Massachusetts Lemon Law Lawyers
A Massachusetts lemon law attorney is necessary when an agreement cannot be made between the car buyer and the car seller completing the car sale transaction.
The state lemon law in MA gives consumers the right to proceed in court if the manufacturer refuses replacement or refund.
Either the consumer or the consumer’s lawyer must submit a 30-day lemon law demand letter to the manufacturer before proceeding to court.
Massachusetts lemon law arbitration applies to dealer-purchased vehicles, only (not private sale vehicles). In arbitration, both the consumer and the manufacturer pose evidence regarding the condition of the vehicle to an impartial party, the arbitrator.
Consult a MA lemon law attorney if you are unhappy with your arbitration decision. New and used car arbitration, as well as leased vehicle arbitration, are mandated in the same way. There are two types of arbitration:
- State-run: The arbitrator will hear both sides and make an all-or-nothing decision within 45 days
- Manufacturer-sponsored: Partial refunds are often given in accordance with the manufacturer’s arbitration policies
How to Tell if Your New Car is a Lemon in Massachusetts
To know if a car is eligible for protection under the Massachusetts new car lemon law, three unsuccessful attempts must have been made to repair the vehicle.
If, after three attempts, the defect is still not repaired, and all the following circumstances are true, a car may qualify as a lemon vehicle if:
- It is a car, van, truck or motorcycle that was leased or purchased in Massachusetts
- It was purchased from a dealer and for personal or family use
- It is within the “term of protection” (no more than a year old or 15,000 miles from the date of purchase; whichever comes first)
There are also conditions that prohibit a car from MA lemon law buyback protection. Below is a list explaining what vehicles are not covered:
- A vehicle that is outside the term of protection
- A motor home
- An off-road use vehicle
- A business-use vehicle
- Defects that are a result of an accident, negligence, vandalism or repair made by someone other than an authorized agent or the manufacturer
- Vehicles not bought in Massachusetts
Sometimes, federal lemon law court rulings make it easier on car owners of certain model vehicles, commonly known as lemons.
For instance, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled in 2017 that Volkswagen refund all purchases of the 3.0-liter TDI diesel vehicle to all consumers who bought this vehicle model from the years 2009 through 2012.