Massachusetts Lemon Law Info – MA Lemon Law Attorneys

Massachusetts Lemon Law – Step-by-Step Guide

Our firm has represented consumers in Massachusetts lemon law cases for almost 20 years. So here’s a guide for what to do (and not do) if you bought a lemon car in Massachusetts.

Step 1: Determine whether Massachusetts ‘New Car’ Lemon Law covers your car

  1. Is your Car New or Used? Massachusetts ‘New Car’ Lemon Law applies to new passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, trucks or motorcycles that are purchased or leased in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Lemon Law also covers if you bought your vehicle used as long as repairs for the defects took place within one year or 15,000 miles of the original purchase (whichever comes first).
  2. Did the defects occur during the ‘Lemon Law Period?’ Massachusetts Lemon Law for new cars is generally time-limited. It applies during the one year or 15,000 miles of the original delivery (whichever comes first).
  3. Is the problem covered? Massachusetts Lemon Law covers any specific or generic defect or malfunction, or any concurrent combination of defects or malfunctions, that substantially impairs the use, market value or safety of the motor vehicle.  As such, the problem does not necessarily need to be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty to qualify. However, aftermarket parts/installations typically aren’t covered.
  4. Is the car problem substantial? Does it affect your use, safety, or value of the car to you.  Noises, squeaks, rattles etc. are typically not covered.
  5. Do you have enough repairs? Massachusetts Lemon Law presumes a car to be a lemon if during the first year or 15,000 miles the same problem was
    • Repaired at least three times for same defect, following which you provided manufacturer with a written notice of an opportunity to repair, and same defect still persists after it undertook an opportunity to repair, or
    • The vehicle is out of service for at least 15 or more business days due to same or different repairs, following which you provided manufacturer with a written notice of an opportunity to repair, and same defect still persists after it undertook an opportunity to repair.

Note that manufacturer’s final opportunity to repair may not exceed seven business days and begins when the manufacturer receives this written notice 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.

6. Does the car use qualify it for Massachusetts Lemon Law? In order to qualify, the car must be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes. 

The exact text of the law is available by clicking here. If you meet these criteria, keep reading!

Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.

The law makes car manufacturers pay legal fees.

We've fixed thousands of lemon problems. Message or call 855-301-2100 today.

And here’s a video guide if you prefer:

Step 2: Determine What Relief You Can Get Under Massachusetts Lemon Law

Massachusetts Lemon Law provides several options for a successful consumer.

  1. You may be awarded vehicle repurchase and refund of the moneys you paid, or
  2. You may be awarded a replacement with an identical or comparable vehicle (this option is only available if your car was leased).

Refund or replacement awards may also 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. The law does not allow for mileage deduction if vehicle is replaced.

Moreover, under the Massachusetts Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, if the manufacturer fails to make a reasonable offer to settle within 30 calendar days of it receiving the written notice informing it that your vehicle is a lemon, and if the court finds that the manufacturer’s or dealer’s violation of the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices 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.

Step 3: Hire a Lawyer – No Cost to You

In a perfect world, you would not need a lawyer in a lemon law case.  Except one thing: every vehicle manufacturer will be represented by a law firm or a trained professional specializing in lemon law.  Corporations can’t represent themselves, so they oftentimes will have one or two lawyers for every case, plus an expert mechanic. So we think you always hire a lawyer for a lemon law case. Always.

Under the Massachusetts Lemon Law (Ch.90, Sec. 7N½(7) and Ch. 93A, Sec. 9), when you prevail, the manufacturer may be required to pay your lemon fees. So our firm and others like it take these cases on contingency – at NO COST TO YOU.

Like anything else, lawyers who do this kind of work know the laws and regulations. Most cases get resolved without the need for filing either arbitrations or litigations.  We ensure that all paperwork and legal filings meet the requirements and prevent any procedural errors or documentary errors that could weaken a case.

More often than not, the manufacturer will settle; if not, though, we recommend a lawsuit or arbitration.

Step 4:  Choose Your Forum

There are 3 ways to get what you want in a lemon law case.

  1. Negotiation. Most lemon law situations are resolved pre-suit between lawyers working for consumers or sometimes the consumers themselves and the manufacturers. This is by far the quickest, most efficient and least expensive way to proceed.
  2. Arbitration. Massachusetts Department of Consumer Protection runs a Lemon Law Arbitration program. We’ve represented consumers in arbitrations through the program, but the arbitration program does not provide for payment of attorney’s fees to a consumer, even if consumer prevails at arbitration on the lemon law claim.
  3. Lawsuits. We have filed numerous lawsuits in Massachusetts District and Superior Courts representing consumers in lemon law cases.  Lawsuits can drag out for years, so for consumers with qualifying lemon law cases, our standard suggestion is to follow negotiation and leave litigation as an option of last resort.

Who pays Legal Fees under Massachusetts Lemon Law?

The manufacturer. Under the Massachusetts Lemon Law (Ch.90, Sec. 7N½(7) and Ch. 93A, Sec. 9), when you prevail at trial, the manufacturer may be required to pay your lemon fees.  However, the Massachusetts Lemon Law does not provide for attorney fees if you prevail at arbitration.

Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm

Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of bad manufacturing and run-arounds from auto companies. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. Call our Helpline today!  There is no charge unless we win.

Does the Massachusetts Lemon Law apply to used cars?

Massachusetts has a Lemon Law covering cars bought used (Ch.90, Sec. 7N¼).  Massachusetts Used Car Lemon Law requires dealer to issue a written warranty covering the repair of defective parts that affect the vehicle’s use or safety. The dealer cannot charge you more than $100 total for warranty repairs, and only if such charge is clearly disclosed on your copy of the dealer-issued written warranty. If the dealer is unable to fix your car after three or more tries, or if the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair more than 11 business days (unless dealer had to order parts, in which dealer is allowed up to 21 additional calendar days), you may be able to receive a full refund.  The length of warranty coverage that dealer must give you depends on the vehicle milage at time of purchase:

  • less than 40,000 miles – 90 days or 3,750 miles
  • 40,000-79,999 miles – 60 days or 2,500 miles
  • 80,000-124,999 miles – 30 days or 1,250 miles

If the car has over 125,000 miles, the Massachusetts Used Car Lemon Law does not obligate dealer to issue a written warranty. Thus, if a used vehicle is purchased ‘as is’ and without a warranty, it cannot qualify as a lemon under the Massachusetts Lemon Law.

However, Massachusetts Used Car Lemon Law does not cover defects that are covered by the manufacturer’s express warrant.

What’s the exact text of the Massachusetts Lemon Law for Used Cars?

The exact text of the law is available by clicking here.

Do I have rights if my vehicle has gone past the Lemon Law period?

Absolutely. Even if your vehicle has gone past 1 year or 15,000 miles to qualify under Massachusetts New Car Lemon Law, or beyond 125,000 miles to qualify under Massachusetts Used Car Lemon Law, there are still Federal and State warranty laws that may protect you. And chances are, we can help you.

In addition, Massachusetts has a so-called Failed Inspection Law (also called “Lemon Aid Law”) (Ch.90, Sec. 7N) that allows you to cancel a vehicle sale contract and get a refund if your car fails to pass inspection within 7 days from the date of sale and the cost of repairs exceeds 10% of the purchase price. In addition, the Massachusetts Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Massachusetts General Law, chapter 93A), covers unfair or deceptive merchant practices.

Template Lemon Law Demand Letter

Most lemon law cases begin with a demand letter to the manufacturer. We’ve created a sample that suits this purpose in most circumstances, although please understand that this isn’t legal advice and we don’t bear any responsibility for its accuracy. Here’s a sample demand letter that you can adapt for your use.

Case Studies – Lemberg Law Cases

Case Study 1: Our client bought a used 2007 Ford Mustang from a used car dealership in Massachusetts. Seven days later, the vehicle failed the state emissions inspection and Plaintiff returned the vehicle to the selling dealer for repair. After initially telling our client that continued driving will cure the emissions problem, the dealer eventually agreed to attempt car repair. After nearly two months following Plaintiff first seeking a repair, dealership returned our client a seemingly repaired car that broke yet again just weeks later. As a result, our client would not be able to pass a government-mandated emission test.

When dealer ignored the Lemberg Law’s letter describing the aforementioned malfunctions and demanding a repurchase, Lemberg Law filed suit in the Massachusetts District Court (Case v. New England Cars, Inc., No. 2134CV000334). Following a two-day trial, the jury returned the verdict in our client’s favor and found the dealer breached the Massachusetts Used Vehicle Lemon Law, breached the implied warranty of merchantability, and that our client validly revoked his acceptance of the car. Crucially, jury found the dealer willfully and knowingly violated Massachusetts Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The final result was a judgment ordering the dealer to repurchase the ‘lemon’ car, play our client double damages, and pay attorney fees and costs.  In total, the court ordered dealer to pay nearly $59,000 where it sold a car for $16,000.

Case Study 2: Our client bought a new 2022 premium full-size SUV in Massachusetts. Within first year of taking delivery of the vehicle and with less than 9,000 miles on the odometer, the engine failed. With the SUV still unrepaired, our office mailed a written notice of an opportunity to repair to the manufacturer. Although manufacturer ultimately repaired the engine, it failed to complete such repair within the statutorily allowed window.  In total, the vehicle was out of service for 74 days.

Although the vehicle met all the Massachusetts New Vehicle Lemon Law criteria, and our client had the right to demand a repurchase, he chose to pursue cash compensation after the vehicle was repaired. Our firm then negotiated a favorable cash settlement without the need for arbitration or lengthy litigation.

Breach of Warranty Claims

Even if your car does not qualify for Lemon Law, you may still be able to recover against the dealer or manufacturer in Massachusetts based on breach of warranty theories.

For instance, there is a Breach of the Implied Warranty of Merchantability claim.  A consumer who buys a car from a dealer may be able to sue if she shows the car was unmerchantable at the time of sale.  A car buyer may also sue for Revocation of Acceptance.  Consumers have the right under the Uniform Commercial Code to “revoke acceptance” of the vehicle (M.G.L.A. 106 § 2-608) and argue that the vehicle’s defects substantially impaired its value.  Finally, there is the Massachusetts Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Massachusetts General Law, chapter 93A).  The claim would be that by selling a defective car, the dealer and manufacturer engaged in “unfair and deceptive” practices.

Comparison with Other Laws

Overall, Massachusetts is a favorable place to bring a Lemon Law case. It covers both cars and motorcycles, and even vehicles purchased by a business (as long as those are used primarily for personal, family or household purposes), and does so a full 2 years or 18,000 miles.  In contrast, lemon law in Connecticut is longer: Connecticut’s lemon law covers new and used cars and motorcycles for the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, and under certain circumstances longer!  Connecticut has a ‘safety’ exception (only two repairs), which isn’t available either in Massachusetts or New York.  Massachusetts Lemon Law, moreover, requires that manufacturer receive a ‘written notice of an opportunity to repair,’ whereas Connecticut and New York do not.  Overall, Connecticut and New York offer more extensive protection in terms of the duration of coverage, which can be seen as better for the consumer.  Massachusetts, while offering a shorter coverage period, provides quick resolution due to its lower threshold for days out of service.  The “better” law may depend on the specific needs and circumstances of the vehicle owner.

Important cases – Important Legal Developments

Gliottone v. Ford Motor Company. In this case a truck buyer sued Ford Motor Company for breach of the Massachusetts New Vehicle Lemon Law.  Ford asked the trial court to enter judgment in its favor because the buyer had no expert to prove that his truck did not comply with the applicable express or implied warranties. The lower court agreed and entered judgment in favor of the manufacturer. The buyer appealed.

On appeal, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts overturned the trial court’s ruling. The Appeals Court held that in a lemon law action expert testimony was not required to demonstrate that the truck had nonconformity and truck buyer’s own testimony was sufficient to present evidence of a defect.

Finigan-Mirisola v. DaimlerChrysler Corp. In this case a buyer of a 2004 Jeep Cherokee sued manufacturer for breach of warranties, breach of the automobile lemon law, and violations of Unfair Trade Practices Act. Buyer’s claims centered upon a rattle noise and smell in the new vehicle that she persistently complained about to the Jeep’s dealer over several months’ time, but which the dealer could not detect or remedy.  Certain repairs or adjustments were made to the vehicle in an attempt to remedy the odor problem, but none of them, according to the buyer, effectively cured the problem. After the trial court entered judgment in favor of Jeep finding no breach of any warranties and no lemon law violation, the buyer appealed.

The Appeals Court of Massachusetts agreed with the lower court’s decision and affirmed its ruling. First, the Appeals Court agreed there is no breach of the implied warranty of merchantability because a foul odor and rattle noise in a vehicle that by all accounts has provided safe, reliable transportation do not render the vehicle unmerchantable.

Second, the Appeals Court agreed there is no breach of the express repair-or-replace warranty because each time the buyer brought the vehicle in for repair, it was repaired and buyer was not charged.  However, with respect to unrepaired smell and rattle complaints and buyer’s argument that the repair-or-replace warranty failed of its essential purpose, the Appeals Court noted those defects were unverified by the dealer after several inspections.  Significantly, the Appeals Court held that the odor and rattle complaints, even if they could not be fixed, were not substantial enough to constitute a warranty breach.

Hiring a Lemon Law Lawyer in Massachusetts

You don’t need a lawyer for your Lemon Law claim, but having one will significantly increase your chances of getting what you deserve. Lemon Law can be confusing if you don’t understand how it works or how to enforce your rights.

For car companies, producing lemons and frustrating some customers is a cost of doing business. They abide by the law only when faced with a real threat of litigation from a lawyer specializing in Lemon Law. In most of our cases, car makers settle very quickly after receiving a notice from us, because they know that they may be liable for more money if they lose in court.

Why put yourself through this when representation by a qualified attorney is totally free? When you have a repeated problem with a vehicle covered by Lemon Law, contact us at 1-877-77 LEMON, and we will help you resolve your Lemon Law problem with the manufacturer or dealer. Our services are ABSOLUTELY FREE.

What will Lemberg Law do when they get my case?

We will work on your behalf to achieve bring justice to you – we will build your case to achieve settlement in the shortest amount of time.

•  First, we will conduct an exhaustive investigation of the vehicle’s entire repair history;

•  Second, we will confront the manufacturer by presenting a statement of your case and demand full recovery. If the manufacturer agrees with our position and offers a settlement that satisfies you, your case will be resolved.

•  Third, if you reject the manufacturer’s offer and the case cannot be settled, we will sue the manufacturer on your behalf or go to arbitration.

Massachusetts Lemon Law FAQs

Are Leased Vehicles Covered Under Massachusetts Lemon Law?

Yes! Massachusetts Lemon Law, Chapter 90, Section 7N1/2, covers leased vehicles. If you leased a Lemon, you may still be entitled to compensation by the manufacturer.

Does the Lemon Law in Massachusetts Apply to Private Sales?

Yes! Massachusetts Used Car Lemon Law requires private sellers of used vehicles to inform the buyer about all known defects that affect the vehicle’s safety or substantially impair its use. If they did not disclose, the buyer is entitled to cancellation of the sale and a refund (minus 15 cents per mile of use) within 30 days of the purchase.

Does Massachusetts Lemon Law Cover Appliances? 

Massachusetts Lemon Law only applies to vehicles; it does not specifically cover appliances. However, the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, also known as the “federal lemon law,” can still protect those who have purchased Lemon appliances in Massachusetts.

Why won’t the dealer or carmaker just refund my money or provide a replacement vehicle if they know Lemon Law exists?

While it would be nice for dealers and manufacturers to recognize their fault and compensate the buyer fairly on their own, they usually try to avoid refunding and replacing Lemons without legal intervention. Since it costs them money to deal with Lemons, they often use delay tactics and alternative “resolution mechanisms” to avoid having to fix the problem until the Lemon Law period expires. These tricks are why lawmakers passed Lemon Laws in the first place!

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes car manufacturers pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm

Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of bad manufacturing and run-arounds from auto companies. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. Call our Helpline today!  There is no charge unless we win.

  • dan s

    Bought a used car with warranty, truck has been in and out of shop almost every other week being repaired by dealer. I had the truck checked over with my own mechanic after the truck broke down for the last time. The truck was deemed unsafe due to the frame being so rotted out it snapped when the break locked up. Do i have any right to get my money back? The truck is considered un repairable.

Leave a Reply or Comment

Write a comment below to share online. Or, instead you can to our legal team.

Please select your star rating.

Briefly describe your experience Briefly describe your experience

What’s your name? What’s your name?

What’s your phone number? Please enter a valid phone number

Want to know if you could sue? Get a free legal evaluation from Lemberg Law?

Get Your No-Obligation
Case Evaluation

Send a secure message to our legal team.

What’s your name? What’s your name?
What’s your email address? What’s your email address?
What’s your phone number? What’s your phone number?
Briefly describe the problem Briefly describe the problem
Confidentiality Guarantee: We keep your information completely confidential and will not send you spam or sell your information.
By submitting above, I agree to the privacy policy and terms and consent to be contacted by an agent via phone call or text message at the phone number(s) listed above, including wireless number(s).