Important Lessons about Buying a Used Car

Posted by sally on March 29th, 2012

The Hartford Courant ran a great story about a local FOX News investigation into a young woman’s bad experience in buying a used car. The 18-year-old purchased a 1996 Corsica for around $1,000, only to find that it wasn’t road-worthy. Although the vehicle failed its Massachusetts state inspection, and although the used car dealer had 17 DMV complaints filed against him, he’s still in business. He did, however, refund the buyer’s money.

The article also has excellent tips on what to do when considering the purchase of a used car, including checking the vehicle’s history, having a mechanic check it out, researching the car’s value, and asking for service records.

Massachusetts Lemon Law Used Car Lemons

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on March 28th, 2010

Massachusetts Used Car Lemons

Everyone feels hesitation about buying a used car. It’s inevitable to feel like you’re buying someone else’s problems. But the reality is that, in today’s economy, few people can afford to buy a new vehicle. Thankfully, if you live in Massachusetts, there are two laws that protect consumers who find themselves with a used car lemon.

The first law is called the Lemon Aid Law, which covers cars that have been purchased in the previous 14 days. This lets you cancel your sales contract if two conditions apply: The car doesn’t pass inspection and the repair cost of safety-related defects would cost more than 10 percent of what you paid for the vehicle. Both cars and motorcycles are covered under the Lemon Aid Law, and it applies whether you buy the vehicle from a dealer or an individual.

If you take advantage of the Lemon Aid Law, there are a number of steps you need to take before the window of opportunity closes. It starts with getting a statement from a licensed inspection station, and includes getting a written estimate of repair costs, notifying the seller, and returning the car to the seller. You are also entitled to receive refunds for the sales tax, title, and registration fees, but you must file for those separately.

The second law is called the Used Vehicle Warranty Law. This also covers vehicles sold by either a dealer or an individual. In order to qualify, you must have paid $700 for the vehicle and it must have had fewer than 125,000 miles on the odometer when you purchased it. While new cars, vans, and trucks are covered by this used car lemon law, motorcycles, business vehicles, and leased vehicles are not covered.

The length of time that this used car lemon law applies depends upon how many miles there were on the odometer when you purchased it. For example, if there were fewer than 40,000 miles, the warranty period is 90 days or 3,750 miles – whichever comes first. If there were 40,000 to 79,999 miles on the odometer, you’re covered for 60 days or 2,500 miles. If there were 80,000 to 124,999 miles, you’re covered for 30 days or 1,250 miles.

If you think you have a used car lemon on your hands, it’s worth your while to contact a lawyer who specializes in MA lemon law. The windows of opportunity are incredibly short, and dealers are notorious for trying to stall consumers in the hope that the clock will run out and that you won’t have a legal leg to stand on. The legal team at LemonJustice.com can help you navigate the waters of used car lemon law, so it’s worth giving them a call.

Jumping through the Hoops of Massachusetts Lemon Law

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on March 24th, 2010

Lemon Laws Massachusetts

There are few things more disconcerting than buying a new car and coming to the dawning realization that it’s a lemon. The first trip to the repair shop is simply annoying, but the third trip to the dealer for the same problem is enough to make your blood boil. Yet, like most states, Massachusetts requires that you take your vehicle in for a number of repairs before it can be deemed a “lemon.”

MA lemon law rules say that you must take your vehicle in for a “reasonable number” of repair attempts before it can be defined as a lemon. This means that, within one year of taking delivery of the vehicle or 15,000 miles (whichever comes first), your vehicle has either been in the repair shop three times for the same problem, or has been out of service for a cumulative total of 15 business days for the same problem or a combination of problems. Even after jumping through those hoops, though, the car defect has to persist. In other words, you’ve taken it in for repair and it’s still broken.

Before you’re eligible for a lemon buyback, MA lemon law says that you have to give the manufacturer (not the dealer) yet another chance to fix the problem. Once you’ve sent notification to the manufacturer, they have seven days to correct the car defect. It’s only after this final-final repair attempt – and if the problem isn’t fixed – that you become eligible for a lemon buy back.

What’s a lemon buyback? Basically, Massachusetts lemon law says that you’re entitled to receive either a replacement vehicle or a refund. This doesn’t mean, however, that automakers are eager – or even willing – to provide you with the lemon buyback you deserve. Indeed, car manufacturers often count on the fact that most consumers don’t know their rights, or that people will be intimidated by the teams of lawyers that automakers employ to fight lemon law claims.

That’s precisely why it’s crucial to have an advocate by your side. When you have a lemon law attorney represent you, it sends a clear signal to the automaker that you mean business, and that you’re not going to go away. It’s equally important, however, to contact an attorney before the clock runs out. That’s because manufacturers try all kinds of delaying tactics in the hope that the lemon law eligibility period will expire. The legal team at LemonJustice.com is standing by, prepared to provide you with a free case evaluation and guide you through the final steps to ensuring a successful lemon law claim.

Massachusetts Lemon Law How to Define a Defect

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on March 24th, 2010

Massachusetts Lemon Law

When you drive your new car off the lot, you have the right to expect that it will run like a charm. For many people, however, the new car dream turns into a nightmare when defects start popping up. The good news is that Massachusetts lemon law protects consumers against car defects, and gives people a way to ensure that the manufacturer stands by its vehicle.

Massachusetts lemon law rules
clearly define a lemon as a new vehicle with a defect that “substantially impairs the use, market value, or safety of the vehicle.” What does this mean? Essentially, it means that the problem has to be more serious than a paint chip or more annoying than a car alarm that goes off unexpectedly. To meet the “market value” criteria, for example, you have to prove that the problem makes the vehicle worth ten percent less than it would otherwise be worth.

The law isn’t clear on what constitutes substantial impairment of the use or safety of a vehicle. Clearly, problems like bad brakes or steering would meet the criteria, as would the sticky accelerators that have been the subject of so much news coverage recently.

Generally speaking, though, if the problem keeps you from driving the car, you may have a lemon and be eligible for a lemon buyback. MA car warranty law only kicks in, though, if the dealer can’t or won’t fix the problem. In other words, if you have a car defect that’s fixed once you take your vehicle in for repair, you don’t have a lemon. On the other hand, if you take your car in for repair time and time again, and the problem still doesn’t go away, you have grounds for a solid case against the manufacturer.

It’s difficult to know for certain whether or not you’re protected under Massachusetts lemon law. That’s why it’s important to consult with an attorney who specializes in lemon law. Lemon law lawyers are familiar with the nuances of MA lemon law, and can guide you every step of the way toward establishing that your vehicle is a lemon and getting the lemon buy back you deserve.

Best of all, engaging the services of a lemon law attorney should be free. This is because the law says that the automaker is responsible for paying your attorney fees should you prevail in a lawsuit. Most of the time, though, it doesn’t come to that. Usually, a good lemon law attorney will be able to negotiate a settlement on your behalf that will get rid of your lemon and compensate you for the hassles you’ve faced.

The Cadillacs of Lemon Law in MA, NY and PA

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 9th, 2008

About 50 years ago, Cadillac became synonymous with fine quality. Throughout the last half of the 20th century, there was no greater compliment than to have your product called, “The Cadillac of….” Amana was “the Cadillac of microwaves,” and Craftsman was “the Cadillac of tools.” These days, of course, Cadillac has been knocked down a few pegs. The proof is in the number of complaints we get from consumers about their Cadillacs.

I wanted to share three of our recent successes in getting settlements for our clients who owned lemon Cadillacs. The first involved a New York Lemon Law claim for a 2007 Cadillac Escalade with a repeated check engine light. Although the vehicle was approaching 50,000 miles when our client contacted us, and the first problem was at 30,000 miles, Cadillac compensated our client $6,250 for her time and inconvenience. 

The second was a Massachusetts Lemon Law case involving a 2007 Cadillac ESV with front-end noises that began after the car had been driven about 21,000 miles. The manufacturer finally determined that the vehicle was operating as designed and did not need any further repairs. Despite this conclusion, we convinced the manufacturer to compensate our client $4,000 for his time and inconvenience.

The third success story has to do with a Pennsylvania Lemon Law problem. Our client had a 2008 Cadillac STS-V with repeated check engine light problems. Five weeks after our client contacted us, we received a response from GM offering to settle the claim for $3,500. By this time, our client had taken the Cadillac in seven times for repair, so we said, “No way.” The check engine light problem was fixed, and we were ultimately able to negotiate a $6,500 settlement for our client.

Cadillac may no longer be associated with the epitome of quality, but our Cadillac Lemon Law successes demonstrate that they can be held accountable for their vehicles’ defects.