It’s Important to Know Your Rights Purchasing a Used Vehicle in Massachusetts
Buying a used vehicle can be both exciting and stressful. As someone who has purchased my fair share of used vehicles in Berkshire County over the years, I’ve been on both ends of those feelings. And, as someone who used to work in consumer protection, I wanted to make sure you know your rights and options concerning used vehicle purchases in Massachusetts.
Remember, different states have different regulations, and the state where you purchase your vehicle is the state where those regulations are in effect. For example, if you live here in Berkshire County but buy a used vehicle in Vermont, the used vehicle regulations of Vermont would apply, since you purchased it there.
Second, we’re talking about purchasing used vehicles from a dealership. In Massachusetts, a dealership is “someone who sells more than 3 cars in a 12-month period.” If you purchase a used vehicle from a private seller, keep in mind you have much less options if something were to break or go bad.
Ok…so with those disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk about the Massachusetts Used Car Lemon Laws.
First off, you have to remember than not all defects are covered under the Massachusetts Used Car Lemon Laws. The defects that are covered have to do with safety and performance. For example, if your brakes or shocks go, those would be covered. If your defroster doesn’t work, that would be covered. If it involves appearance, that would not be covered. If it involves air conditioning, that would not be covered.
Second, keep these two numbers in mind: 700 and 125,000. That’s because you need to spend at least $700 on your used vehicle (which is a given at dealerships) and it has to have less than 125,000 miles on it. If you buy a used vehicle in Massachusetts with a mileage over 125,000, the dealership doesn’t have to cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle.
Mileage is also important for the number of days you have for mandatory repairs if something breaks. Here’s how it breaks down:
90 days for less than 40,000 miles.
60 days for 40,000 to 79,999 miles.
30 days for 80,000 to 124,999 miles.
It also depends on how many miles you put on during those time frames.
So, let’s say something does break down, and you are covered with the Massachusetts Used Car Lemon Laws. The next step is to contact the dealership you bought it from. The dealership has 3 business days to take your vehicle in for repairs. Keep in mind, the dealership can have another shop do the repairs instead, if they don’t have time.
The dealership also has a total of 3 tries, or 11 total business days (cumulative, not together) to fix your vehicle. If they are unable to fix your vehicle, or if they have it in the shop for too long, you can then go about getting compensated for the vehicle. Keep in mind, the dealer can make an offer to buyback your vehicle at any point during this process. And, if they offer you the full refund and you don’t accept it, you won’t be entitled to further warranty repairs.
Also, remember that what I wrote about are the basics. There are different exceptions, and grace periods, and other smaller details that can factor in to your warranty and repairs. I strongly recommend you visit the following link before making a used vehicle purchase to know your rights.
Guide to Used Vehicle Warranty Law | Mass.gov
And, as a final reminder, keep in mind there is no general 3 day right to cancel on used vehicle purchases in Massachusetts, whether it’s a dealer or private sale. And, make sure that vehicle is inspected within 7 days of purchase by a business you trust.