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  • 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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Summary of Used Car Lemon Law


Massachusetts’ law requires dealers to provide warranties on all used cars sold for more than $ 700 and with less than 125,000 miles. If the vehicle had less than 40,000 miles when sold, the warranty must last 90 days or 3,750 miles. The warranty must provide coverage for all parts and labor that affects a vehicle’s safety or use.


MASSACHUSETTS (12 M. G. L. A. 90 § 7 1/4)

Massachusetts requires all dealers to provide express warranties when selling a used motor vehicle and establishes a consumer's right to return a vehicle and obtain a refund if the dealer cannot make a vehicle conform to the warranty after a reasonable opportunity to repair it.

Warranty Term

The term of the warranty is based on usage. A warranty must last: 90 days or 3,750 miles if the vehicle has been driven less than 40,000 miles, 60 days or 2,500 miles if the vehicle has been driven at least 40,000 miles but less than 80,000 miles, and 30 days or 1,250 miles if the vehicle has been driven at least 80,000 miles but less than 125,000 miles. Warranty periods are tolled for an amount of time that the vehicle is out of service for repair.

Warranty Coverage

The warranty must cover the full cost of parts and labor to repair a defect that affects the vehicle's safety or use, except that the warranty may require the consumer to pay up to $ 100 toward a repair. It also establishes minimum warranties based on a vehicle's age if its true mileage is unknown.

Standard for Returning a Vehicle

If the dealer fails to repair the same defect within three attempts, or if the vehicle is out of service for repair for more than 10 business days during the warranty period, then the dealer must accept its return and refund the full purchase price, less a reasonable allowance for use calculated at 15¢ per mile driven. The time counted toward the 10-day deadline is tolled for the amount of time, up to 21 days, the dealer takes to acquire a necessary part, if the dealer has ordered the part.

The law gives the consumer the choice to keep a returned vehicle until he has been given a full refund.

The law requires consumers to return the vehicle by giving it to the dealer within five days after the warranty period expires and telling the dealer about the defect. When the dealer returns a repaired vehicle to the consumer, he must give the consumer a receipt describing the defect, the repair, and the parts replaced.


The law requires dealers to agree to state-certified used car arbitration if the consumer requests it to assert his right to return the vehicle and receive a refund. The arbitration must be performed by a professional arbitrator and operate in accordance with state used car arbitration regulations. Arbitrators must submit their findings within 45 days of receiving a consumer's request for arbitration.

If an arbitrator rules against a dealer, the law requires him to either accept the return of the vehicle and provide a refund or appeal the decision within 21 days. An appeal must be accompanied by a bond equal to the money awarded by the arbitrator plus $ 500 for anticipated attorneys' fees, payable to the consumer. The law allows a court to vacate an arbitrator's award only if (1) it was procured by corruption, fraud, or other undue means; (2) there was evident partiality by, or corruption in, an arbitrator or misconduct prejudicing a party's rights; or (3) the arbitrators exceeded their powers. In addition to any other recovery, the law allows consumers dissatisfied with an arbitrator's ruling to file a claim under the state's unfair or deceptive trade practices act.


The law does not establish a required warranty for vehicles driven for more than 125,000 miles and exempts vehicles sold for less than $ 700.


A dealer who fails to meet the 21-day deadline to comply or appeal an arbitrator's decision may be fined $ 50 per day until he provides the refund up to a maximum of $ 500. The law requires the attorney general to sue the dealer if the refund is still unpaid after 81 days. A dealer's failure to comply with the law is an unfair trade practice.

The law establishes an affirmative defense that an alleged defect: (1) does not impair the vehicle's use or safety; (2) is (a) the result of owner negligence or abuse, (b) damage caused by accident or vandalism, (c) the result of an attempt to repair by someone other than the dealer or manufacturer's representative; (3) is the result of the owner's modifications; (4) is covered by a manufacturer's warranty.

Sales between Private Parties

The law requires private sellers of used cars to disclose all known defects that impair the vehicle's safety or substantially impair its use. Failure to do so entitles the buyer, within 30 days, to rescind the sale and be entitled to a refund, less 15¢ per mile of use. In any subsequent suit initiated by the buyer, the court must award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs if it finds that a settlement offer was unreasonable or that the seller has otherwise failed to comply with this requirement. It must award the seller reasonable attorneys' fees and costs if it finds that the buyer's suit was frivolous or not in good faith. It is an affirmative defense that an alleged defect does not impair the vehicle's safety or substantially impair its use, or that it is the result of the buyer's negligence, abuse, damage caused by accident, vandalism, or attempt to modify.

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