Lemon Law Used

THE Massachusetts Consumer Guide:
The Used Vehicle Warranty Law

The Used Vehicle Warranty Law protects consumers who buy used vehicles from the dealer or private party in Massachusetts. (M. G. L. c. 90 §7N 1/4) What the law states requires dealers to provide consumers with a written warranty against defects which impair the vehicle’s use or safety, and requires private parties to reveal any known use or safety defects.

The Used Vehicle Warranty Law gives you protections and remedies, including mandatory repairs, refunds, or repurchases. It does not really cover all vehicles or all defects, and not all problems will qualify your automobile for repurchase.

If you purchased a vehicle fewer than 14 days back, the fastest way to get relief may be through the "Lemon Help Law. "

Vehicles Covered:

The law applies to used cars, vans, trucks and demonstration vehicles not included in the New Car Lemon Law, and which:

* are sold by the Massachusetts dealer or private party,
* cost at least $700 (dealer product sales only),
* have fewer than 125, 000 miles on the odometer whenever sold (dealer sales only).

Demonstration or executive vehicles are covered under what the law states under certain circumstances. You must first determine whether the vehicle meets what's needed of the New Car Lemon Law. You may use the Used Vehicle Warranty Law only if you don't qualify to be accepted for the New Car Lemon Law.
Vehicles Not really Covered:

The following are not covered under the Used Vehicle Warranty Regulation:

* motorcycles, mopeds, dirtbikes;
* leased vehicles;
* auto homes, and automobiles built primarily for off-road use;
* any vehicle used primarily for company purposes, or purchased by, owned by or registered to a business

Personal Party Sales:

The Used Vehicle Warranty Law applies differently to a vehicle purchased from the private party than it does if purchased from a dealer. Under what the law states, a dealer is anyone who sells four or more vehicles in the 12 month period.

The Used Vehicle Warranty Law requires private party sellers to inform buyers about every known defects which impair the safety or substantially impair the use from the vehicle. The law applies to all private party sales regardless of product sales price or mileage. If you discover a defect that impairs the vehicle’s safety or substantially impairs the utilization, and can prove that the seller knew about the defect but didn't disclose it, you may cancel the sale within thirty days of buy. The seller must refund the amount you paid for the vehicle, less 15 cents per mile useful.

Private parties are also bound by the Lemon Aid Law.

DEALER PRODUCT SALES

Defects Covered: Only defects that impair your vehicle’s use or safety tend to be covered. Defects are not covered if they:

* affect appearance only;
* are included in the manufacturer’s express warranty and the dealer assures that the repairs had been made;
* are caused by negligence, abuse, vandalism, or accidents unrelated towards the defect;
* are caused by repair attempts made by someone other compared to dealer, its agent, or the manufacturer; or
* are caused by substantial change made by you to the vehicle (such as installing a sunroof that was not the main vehicle when you bought it).

Dealer Warranty: Anyone who sells four or even more vehicles in a one-year period is a dealer under the Used Automobile Warranty Law. Dealer warranties cannot be waived under any circumstances. The dealer must provide you with a signed, dated, correct copy of the limited used vehicle warranty at time you purchase the vehicle. The warranty requires the dealer to repair any kind of defect that impairs the vehicle’s use or safety.

Warranty Extension: Your warranty is extended by eventually for each day the vehicle is out of service for repairs, and by one mile for every mile it is driven while repairs are being made. In addition, any repair performed on the covered defect during the warranty period carries its own 30-day warranty. This warranty begins the day the repair is completed and can continue after the original warranty on the car in general expires. See the Consumer Affairs Warranty Extension Reference Chart if you need more info on these tolling and extension provisions (in Adobe Acrobat format).

Dealer Does not Provide Correct Warranty: If the dealer does not give you a warranty or provides you with one that is incomplete or inaccurate, you are still entitled to guarantee repairs. Your warranty, however, will not begin to expire until the dealer provides you with a complete, accurate copy of the warranty.

Warranty Repairs: The defects must arise throughout the warranty period. You must return the vehicle to the dealer for repair a maximum of five business days after the expiration date of the warranty period. The dealer may ask you for a one-time $100 deductible, but only if this amount is written in your copy of the warranty.

Dealer Refunds: The limited used vehicle warranty supplied by the dealer gives you the right to a refund if the automobile was either:

* repaired 3 times for the same use or security defect
that continued to exist or recurred during the warranty period,

OR EVEN

* out of service by reason of repair or invalid refusal to correct for at least 11 business days during the warranty period, not necessarily at one time.

NOTE: Business day is defined as Monday through Friday, except for condition or federal holidays. When counting the number of business days your car may be out of service, any part of a business day counts as an entire day.

Waiting for Parts: If the dealer needs to order parts throughout a repair attempt, the days out of service while waiting for parts don't count toward the 11 business day requirement of the law. However, your warranty will extend by eventually for each day you are waiting for the parts. A maximum of 21 calendar days during the warranty period won't be counted toward the 11 business day limit if parts are ordered. All business days following the 21st day will count. For more information on warranty extensions, see the Warranty Extension Reference Chart (Adobe Acrobat format).

Dealer Refuses Repairs: The dealer may only refuse repairs for those who have refused a dealer’s offer to buy back the car for the full cost. (See next section, Dealer Repurchase. ) If the dealer has not agreed to repurchase the vehicle, then the dealer must repair all use or security defects. If the dealer refuses to accept the vehicle for repairs whenever you present it in person, then the vehicle will be considered "out associated with service" beginning that day. This and any following business days waiting for that vehicle to be repaired will count toward the 11 business days from service requirement for a refund. The same rule applies if the dealer does not take the vehicle within 3 business days of a telephone or written request a repair.

Dealer Repurchase: The dealer has the right to offer to purchase the car back for the full repurchase price instead of making maintenance. You are responsible for helping to determine the refund amount by giving the dealer copies of the receipts and other documents for each cost to be reimbursed. The dealer must make the repurchase offer on paper. Under the law, you have at least five business days from whenever you receive the dealer’s offer to decide whether to accept the offer.

CAUTION: If the dealer offers you a full refund under the law, and also you refuse to accept it, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO FURTHER WARRANTY REPAIRS UNDERNEATH THE WRITTEN WARRANTY PROVIDED BY THE DEALER. If you do not agree using the dealer’s calculation of the repurchase amount, you can ask the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) to assist calculate it. If the OCABR determines that the full repurchase amount is greater than the amount offered by the dealer, the dealer may either offer you the total amount determined by the OCABR or withdraw the offer to repurchase. If the actual dealer withdraws the offer, you will still be entitled to warranty repairs and may apply for arbitration, if you qualify.

Keeping Records: Maintain complete records in the day you buy your vehicle. Save the written warranty; request a copy from the manufacturer’s warranty, if applicable; and keep a diary of problems and repair attempts such as the dates of service, the problem you reported and mileage at the period of repairs. Get a copy of the work order filled out through the dealer every time you bring the car in for service. Dealers are required by the Attorney General’s Motor Vehicle Regulations to provide you with a work order even if repairs are free. (940 CMR 5. 00).

Returning the automobile: If the dealer is going to buy back your vehicle, you will have to work together to meet and exchange the vehicle and its title for any refund. You must transfer the title back to the dealer.

If your title reaches the Registry of Motor Vehicles, contact the Title Division at (617) 351-9550. Explain that you're returning your vehicle under the Used Vehicle Warranty Law, and request that a certificate of title be issued to you as quickly as possible. If your vehicle is financed, you will need to get a lien release in the finance company. The lien release will enable the Registry to issue a title inside your name. Also, you will need to work with the dealer and the finance company to set up for the dealer to pay the finance company the portion of the loan that's still owed.

Refund Calculations: If you have met the requirements for the refund, ask the dealer to repurchase your vehicle. To calculate the amount you have entitlement to receive under the law:

ADD

* the purchase price including the amount for the trade-in;
* finance charges;
* registration fees;
* the pro-rata cost associated with payments toward motor
vehicle damage, collision and comprehensive
insurance;
* the non-refundable part of payments made for credit life, and credit accident insurance on your automobile loan;
* the non-refundable portion of payments made for any extended guarantees and service contracts;
* unreimbursed costs of towing up to 30 kilometers;
* up to $15 a day for alternate forms of transportation, starting about the third day the car has been out of service for repair;
* obligations made toward the $100 repair deductible; and
* any other costs directly associated with the defect.

SUBTRACT:

* a use allowance of 15 cents per mile for each mile driven from the time of delivery to the date the reimbursement is given; and
* the amount of any overallowance on a trade-in automobile.

An "overallowance" or "discount" is the difference between the trade-in amount and also the actual cash value of the trade-in vehicle. For example, the dealer might list the trade-in amount as $2, 000 for your trade-in but the trade-in is just worth $1, 500. In this case, $500 of the trade-in amount is definitely an overallowance. The overallowance will be deducted from your refund only if the quantity of the overallowance is clearly and separately listed on your copy of the automobile purchase contract, bill of sale, or other documents given to you during the time of the sale.

If the dealer still has your trade-in vehicle, s/he has got the option of returning it to you rather than refunding the trade-in quantity. If the dealer has the trade-in and wants to keep it, s/he may keep it and refund you the quantity of the trade-in.

The use allowance on your vehicle may be large for those who have driven many miles since your purchase. Keep in mind that the use allowance depends on the miles driven through the time you actually return the vehicle and sign the vehicle’s title to the dealer.

Your refund will not include lawyers’ fees, lost wages, excise taxes, sales tax, or other costs that are not directly related to the actual defect. You can apply at your city or town hall for a good abatement of excise tax. Contact the Department of Revenue to request information regarding an abatement for that sales tax at (617) 351-9550. If the dealer deducts from the cost for mileage, you may not be able to get your sales taxes back. Sales tax is only returned by the state when the complete payment is refunded. Since the Used Vehicle Warranty Law does not need the dealer to refund the sales tax, you may not be in a position to recover this cost.

ASSERTING YOUR RIGHTS

If the dealer will not refund your hard earned money, you have several options. You may seek mediation, arbitration, or file match in court.

Mediation: This allows both parties to reach a mutually acceptable solution by using a facilitator. Mediation is voluntary, requiring both parties’ consent. Consumer Affairs provides a face-to-face mediation program for Lemon Law disputes; you may also apply with regard to mediation through your Warranty Extension Reference Chart.

Arbitration: Arbitration is an informal and inexpensive method to resolve your complaint. In arbitration, the consumer and the dealer present evidence about the health of the vehicle to an impartial person. To qualify for arbitration, you must meet the requirements outlined in this pamphlet. The purpose of the arbitration hearing is to determine whether your vehicle qualifies for a refund under the Used Vehicle Warranty Regulation. This arbitration is "all or nothing. " If the arbitrator determines that the vehicle meets the standards of the law, you will be awarded a complete refund. If the arbitrator decides that your vehicle is not a "lemon, " you will see no award, although you may have rights to different remedies under additional laws.

Consumer Affairs must receive your request for arbitration within 6 months from the date your vehicle was delivered to you. The request must be made with an official application provided by Consumer Affairs.

Court: You have the right to proceed to court for those who have met the Used Vehicle Warranty Law’s requirements and the dealer refuses to refund your hard earned money, or if you are not satisfied with your arbitration decision.

Failure to adhere to the Used Vehicle Warranty Law is an unfair and deceptive act or practice underneath the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, c. 93A, which may entitle you to dual or triple damages, plus court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. If you are thinking about court action, you should consult an attorney if you purchased your vehicle for a lot more than $2000. You or your attorney must begin by sending the dealer the 30-Day Demand Letter.

OTHER RECOURSE

Implied Warranty Law: The implied warranty of merchantability is really a guarantee provided by law in the sale of all consumer products, such as automobiles, even if they cost less than $700 or have been powered 125, 000 miles or more before sale to you. The implied warranty is along with any express, written warranty. Under the implied warranty, a product must do what it was designed related to "reasonable" safety, efficiency and ease for a "reasonable" period of time. If it doesn't run properly, the seller is responsible for repair, replacement or a reimbursement. The law does not define the word "reasonable. " This will depend simply upon the condition, age, and sale price of the vehicle.

NOTE: The implied warranty of merchantability doesn't apply to private party sales.

A dealer cannot deny you coverage below this warranty. Under the implied warranty of merchantability, merchants cannot sell items: "AS IS" or "WITH ALL FAULTS. " or with a "50/50 WARRANTY" which requires you to split the price of any repairs with the seller.

The Lemon Aid Law: This law enables you to void or cancel a motor vehicle contract or sale if your vehicle does not pass inspection within seven days from the date of sale AND when the estimated costs of repairs of emissions or safety related defects exceed 10% from the purchase price. This law applies to both dealer and private party product sales of cars and motorcycles purchased for personal or family use. The vehicle should be returned to the seller within 14 days from the date of purchase.

Odometer Law: This law prohibits both dealers and private party sellers from turning back again or readjusting the odometer or mileage indicated on any automobile offered available. If you can prove that the seller reset the odometer, you can sue for $1500 or three times the quantity of your damages, whichever is greater, along with court costs and attorney costs. Odometer tampering is also a criminal offense.

Title Requirements: All vehicles must have a certificate of title issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles and must be properly endorsed during the time of sale. Dealers must inform you, on request, of the name and address from the prior owner of a vehicle.
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