Massachusetts Lemon Law
Massachusetts has some of the strongest consumer protection laws in the country. Here’s an overview of the state’s lemon law:
New cars: Yes
Used cars: Yes
Business vehicles: No
Leased vehicles: Yes
Lemon law period: 1 year/15,000 miles
What is a Lemon Car Under Massachusetts Lemon Law?
Massachusetts lemon law covers new passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, trucks, and motorcycles that are purchased in Massachusetts, as well as used cars that are sold by dealers within one year or 15,000 miles of the original purchase (whichever comes first). In order to be considered a “lemon,” the vehicle must meet the following requirements:
- Does not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty
- Has substantial defects affecting the use, safety, or value of the vehicle
- Has manufacturer’s defects that occurred during the first year from the original owner’s delivery date or the first 15,000 miles on the odometer (whichever period ends first)
- Has been taken in three times for the same problem or if it has been out of service for 15 business days due to a series of unrelated problems
- After the dealer has tried to repair the vehicle three times, the manufacturer has been notified and given a final opportunity to repair the vehicle
- It is used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes
Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 90, Section 7N1/2 is the state’s new and leased car lemon law. In addition, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act (Massachusetts General Law, chapter 93A), covers unfair or deceptive merchant practices.
Getting Lemon Justice: Massachusetts Lemon Law Relief
Massachusetts lemon law provides several options for a successful lemon law claimant. First, you may be awarded a replacement vehicle of the same year, make, and model. You may also qualify for a monetary award, which can include:
- The full contract price
- Sales tax
- Registration fees
- Finance charges paid on your loan
- Cost of dealer-installed options
- Towing and vehicle rental costs
- Non-dealer added options
- Incidental costs
- Attorney’s fees
The amount of the monetary reward may be reduced by a deduction for the total mileage on the vehicle. This amount is calculated by dividing the total contract price by 100,000 and multiplying that amount by the mileage driven since delivery. For motorcycles, the use allowance is calculated by dividing the contract price by 25,000. The award may also be reduced by the total amount of dealer allowances and rebates or settlements.
Pursuing a MD Lemon Law Claim
Under Massachusetts lemon law there are three ways to gain relief: go to court, go to mediation, or go to arbitration.
Mediation requires both your consent and that of the manufacturer and/or dealer. Consumer Affairs offers a mediation program for lemon law disputes, or you can use an independent mediator.
Under the provisions of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, your lemon law case begins with a demand letter to the manufacturer and/or dealer. Here’s a sample demand letter that you can adapt for your use.
The manufacturer’s time to make the final repair begins when the manufacturer receives this letter or when the manufacturer knows, or should have known, that your car has been subject to repair three times or has been out of service for 15 business days.
If the manufacturer fails to make the repair attempt within seven business days of its receipt of the letter, your vehicle is deemed a “lemon” under the law. Moreover, if the manufacturer fails to make a reasonable offer to settle within 30 calendar days, you may be able to get double or triple damages from the court. If the court finds that the manufacturer’s or dealer’s violation of the Consumer Protection Act was “willful or knowing,” or that their refusal to settle to you was made in bad faith, you may receive between two and three times the amount of your actual damages.
How We Can Help
Wherever you are in the lemon law claim process, we’re happy to help. Whether you need help gathering the material documenting your lemon, submitting the final demand letter, negotiating a settlement, or appealing the arbitration decision, Lemberg Law will be at your side every step of the way.
Helping consumers is what we do. We’ve helped more than 12,000 people recover more than $35 million. You can read more about us here.
Remember that vehicle manufacturers have teams of lawyers that do nothing but fight lemon law claims. Lemon laws try to level playing field by forcing automakers to pay the consumer’s attorney fees in successful lemon law claims. That’s why our representation won’t cost you a dime.
There’s a limited window of opportunity for filing a lemon law claim. If you suspect you have a Massachusetts lemon, give us a call today. We understand your frustration, and will do our best to deliver the justice you deserve.