Knowing The Massachusetts Lemon Laws

LEMON LAWSLet’s face it, not everyone can purchase a brand new car. Many of us struggle to put our coveted pennies together to pay the monthly bills. For this group, a used car is the answer we seek when looking to purchase a replacement vehicle. When you buy a used car you should be familiar or make yourself familiar with what is commonly known as the Massachusetts Lemon Aid Laws. This of course has nothing to do with the tasty refreshing drink we consume in the summer heat. The Massachusetts Lemon Aid laws are a set of laws surrounding the sale of new, used and leased vehicles designed to protect the buyer.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 7N allows the buyer to void the sale if the vehicle fails to pass, within seven days from the date of sale AND the estimated cost of repair exceeds 10% of the purchase price. It is important to note that only those repairs that are required for the vehicle to pass the safety or emissions inspection can be included in the calculation of the 10% threshold. These laws apply to dealers as well as private sales. It covers cars and motorcycles purchased for family or private use.

Once you purchase a used car you are responsible to have the car inspected within seven days of purchase, even if it has an unexpired sticker. Sellers must remove the old inspection stickers prior to transferring the vehicle to the new owner because inspection stickers are not transferable to a new owner.

If your “new” used vehicle fails inspection or requires repairs exceeding the 10% threshold you must notify the seller of your intention to void the sale within 14 days of sale date, not 14 days of taking possession. To void the sale within the 14 day period, you must provide the seller with a written statement signed by an authorized agent of the inspection station which failed the vehicle or assessed the needed repairs. Make sure that the reasons for the failure of the safety or combined safety and emissions inspection are clearly stated and there is an outlined estimate of the cost of necessary repairs.

To qualify for a full refund under the Massachusetts Lemon Aid Laws:
• You must demonstrate that the estimated cost of repairs for safety or emissions related is more than 10% of purchase price.
• Get a written statement, signed by an authorized agent of the inspection station, stating the reasons why the vehicle failed to pass the safety or combined safety and emissions inspection test which also details proof that said exceed 10% of the purchase price.
• Notify the seller of your intention to void the contract. Do this by certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular mail and include a copy of the written statement from the agent of the inspection station.
• Deliver the car to the seller with a witness and copies of the written statements, even if you must use a towing service. If the seller refuses to accept the car, prepare a statement (signed by both you and your witness in the presence of a notary public indicating that the seller refused to accept the car.
• If you paid sales tax you must Fill out an abatement form available from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue

If you follow all of the above steps and the seller refuses to give you a refund you may seek mediation services or pursue a claim through the court system. Claims under $7,000 dollars can be handled in small claims court which is the least expensive route. Claims above $7,000 dollars are more suitable to a District or Superior Court. Always seek legal advice prior to invoking legal action for any claim.

For more information on the Massachusetts Lemon Aid Laws you may visit any of these websites
http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer-rights-and-resources/autos/lemon-laws/new-leased-lemon-law.html
http://www.malawforum.com/content/mass-lemon-law-time-limits
http://www.malawforum.com/content/returning-used-car-massachusetts-lemon-aid-law
http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer-rights-and-resources/autos/lemon-laws/lemon-aid-law.html