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Government Links:

  • New & Leased Car Lemon Law - Office of Consumer Affairs
  • Used Vehicle Warranty Law - Office of Consumer Affairs
  • Lemon Aid Law - Office of Consumer Affairs

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Used Car Warranty Coverage

According to Massachusetts Used Vehicle Warranty Law, the warranty must cover all defects that impair its safety or use. Massachusetts prohibits dealers from selling vehicles ‘as-is.’  Defects that aren’t covered include those that:

  • Only affect the appearance of the vehicle
  • Are covered by the manufacturer’s express warranty and the dealer assures that the repairs were made
  • Are caused by negligence, abuse, vandalism, or accidents unrelated to the defect
  • Are caused by repair attempts made by someone other than the dealer or manufacturer
  • Are caused by owner modifications

If your copy of the warranty so indicates, the dealer can charge you a one-time $100 deductible for repairs.

If the dealer has attempted to repair the defect three times during the warranty period, or if your vehicle was out of service for repairs a total of 11 business days during the warranty period, you are entitled to a refund.

The dealer also has the right to offer to buy your vehicle back for the full repurchase price instead of making repairs. If you refuse, the dealer isn’t obligated to make repairs to your vehicle.

Used Car Refund Calculations

If the dealer has agreed to give you a refund, you are entitled to a sum totaling:

  • The purchase price, including the amount for a trade in
  • Finance charges
  • Registration fees
  • Prorated payments for insurance
  • Non-refundable portions of credit life insurance, and credit accident insurance on your loan
  • Non-refundable payments for extended warranties and service contracts
  • Un-reimbursed towing costs up to 30 miles
  • Up to $15 per pay for alternate forms of transportation, starting on the third day the car has been out of service for repair
  • Payments made toward the $100 deductible
  • Other costs directly related to the defect


  • 15 cents per mile for every mile you’ve driven
  • The amount of any over allowance on a trade-in

Private Party Sales & the Lemon Law

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

The Used Vehicle Warranty Law requires that private party sellers inform buyers about any and all known defects that impair the safety or substantially impair the use of the vehicle. The law applies to all private party sales regardless of sales price or mileage. If you discover a defect that impairs the vehicle’s safety or substantially impairs the use, and can prove that the seller knew about the defect but failed to disclose it, you may cancel the sale within 30 days of purchase. The seller must refund the amount you paid for the vehicle, less 15 cents per mile of use.

Related Used Car Provisions

The implied warranty law means that a dealer can’t deny you coverage, and can’t sell vehicles “as is” or “with all faults” or with a “50/50 warranty” that requires you to split the cost of repairs with the dealer.

All vehicles must have a certificate of title issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles and must be properly endorsed at the time of the sale. If you ask, the dealer must tell you the name and address of the vehicle’s prior owner.

Used Car Topics
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