Guide to used car warranty law (2023)

  • This page, Guide to the Used Vehicle Warranty Law, isoffered by
  • Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

Does a used car you recently purchased from a Massachusetts dealership have issues preventing it from running? You may qualify for compensation through the Lemon Law.

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What is the Used Car Lemon Law?

Under Massachusetts lemon laws, you may be eligible for compensation for your used vehicle if it has at least one qualifying defect that impairs its use or safety. mainly for business). In Massachusetts, a dealer is defined as someone who sells more than 3 cars in a 12-month period, even if they do not have a valid used car dealer license.

Remember, the law does not cover every vehicle or every defect, and there are steps and eligibility requirements you must follow.

If your attempts to receive compensation are unsuccessful, Lemon Law arbitration is available through the Bureau of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

Determine if your used vehicle is covered

The Lemon Law applies to used cars that:

  • They are sold by a Massachusetts dealer
  • It costs at least $700
  • Have less than 125,000 miles on the odometer at time of sale

The law also only covers certain defects in your car. It does not cover defects that:

  • Affects only appearance
  • They are covered by the manufacturer's express warranty and the dealer guarantees that the repairs have been made.
  • Are caused by neglect, abuse, vandalism, or accidents unrelated to the defect
  • They are caused by repair attempts made by anyone other than the dealer, its agent, or the manufacturer.
  • They are caused by substantial changes you have made to the car.

Your Used Vehicle Limited Warranty

Dealers selling used vehicles with less than 125,000 on the odometer must:

  • Provide you with a correct written guarantee against defects that impair the use or safety of the vehicle. This warranty explains how long you are entitled to warranty repairs (the term of protection).
  • The warranty must be signed, dated and surrendered at the time of vehicle purchase.

The guarantee cannot be waived.If the dealer does not provide a warranty or provides one that is incomplete or inaccurate, you are still entitled to warranty repairs, but the term of protection will be extended beyond the original warranty period.

The dealer may not charge more than $100 in total for warranty repairs, no matter how many defects are subject to repair, and may only charge that $100 if it clearly states so on your copy of the Used Vehicle Limited Warranty.

Term of protection for your vehicle

Your used vehicle has a set period during which it is eligible for repairs!

Your vehicle is eligible for mandatory repairs if the defects occur during your vehicle's term of protection. The term of protection is based on how many miles are on the odometer at the time of sale.

Less than 40,000 miles

90 days or 3,750 miles from purchase

40,000 – 79,999 miles

60 days or 2,500 miles from purchase

80,000 – 124,999 miles

30 days or 1,250 miles from purchase

Over 125,000 miles

No lemon law guarantee

If the actual mileage is unknown at the time of sale, the warranty period is calculated according to the age of the car.

Vehicle repair process and warranty extensions

If you have confirmed that your vehicle is eligible under the Lemon Law and it is still within the warranty period, the dealer must accept the vehicle within 3 business days of a phone call or written request for repair. The dealer cannot deny your request for repair, but can arrange for another repair shop to perform the repairs on your behalf.

The dealer has a total of 11 business days (consecutive or not) or 3 repair attempts to correct the defect. Under this law, a business day is Monday through Friday, excluding state or federal holidays, and any part of a business day counts as a full day.

If the dealer refuses to pick up the car or does not pick it up within 3 business days, it is considered an invalid refusal and you can start counting the days of inactivity from the day you requested the pickup.

There are also some cases that may allow an extension of the warranty period (meaning you may have more time to repair the vehicle):

  • If the dealer did not give you a warranty or gave you one that is incomplete or inaccurate, your warranty does not begin to expire until you have a complete and accurate copy.
  • If the dealer needs to order parts during a repair attempt, days without service while waiting for parts do not count toward the 11 business day requirement of the law. However, they must keep the vehicle in their possession.and their warranty is extended one day for every day they have. A maximum of 21 calendar days during the warranty period will not count toward the 11 business day limit if parts are requested.
  • Any repair performed on a covered defect during the warranty period has its own 30-day warranty. This warranty begins the day the repair is completed and may continue after all original car warranty has expired.
  • You have a 5-day grace period to bring your vehicle to the dealer if the vehicle malfunctions during the warranty period, but you have not had it repaired until the warranty expires. But be careful, you must prove that the defect occurred during the warranty period and not within five business days after the warranty expired. You can also get a 1-day extension for each day after the 5 days if you can't take the car back (for example, if you're in the hospital).

Dealer buyback (buyback) of your vehicle

The dealer has the right to offer to buy your car back instead of repairing it.

  • You are responsible for helping determine reimbursement by providing the distributor with copies of your receipts and other documents for each cost to be reimbursed.
  • The dealer must make the offer to repurchase your car in writing.
  • You have at least 5 business days from receipt of the dealer's offer to decide whether to accept the offer.
  • If the dealer offers you a full refund and you refuse to accept it,will not beright to any other warranty repair.

To calculate the amount you are entitled to receive under the law, add:

  • The purchase price, including the exchange value
  • finance charges
  • registration fees
  • The prorated cost of payments for motor vehicle damage, collision, and comprehensive insurance
  • The nonrefundable portion of payments made for credit life insurance and credit casualty insurance on your auto loan
  • The non-refundable portion of payments made for extended warranties and service contracts
  • Unreimbursed towing costs up to 30 miles
  • Up to $15 per day for alternate means of transportation, beginning on the third day the car is out of service for repair
  • Payments made toward $100 repair deductible
  • Any other costs directly related to the defect

You will have to subtract:

  • A use allowance of 15 cents per mile for each mile driven from the time of delivery to the date of reimbursement
  • The amount, if any, of the excess allowance on a trade-in vehicle. A "surplus" or "discount" is the difference between the trade-in value and the actual cash value of the trade-in vehicle. The excess allowance will be deducted from your refund only if the excess allowance is listed separately on your copy of the motor vehicle purchase contract, bill of sale, or other documents provided to you at the time of sale.

If you traded in a vehicle and the dealer still has it, they have the option of returning it to you instead of refunding the trade-in amount. If the dealer has the redemption and wants to keep it, they must refund the redemption amount.

You and the reseller must work together to clear the title of any liens. You must transfer the title back to the dealer by contacting the Registry of Motor Vehicles and explaining that you are returning your vehicle under the Lemon Law and requesting that a new title be issued to you as soon as possible.

If your car is financed, you will need to obtain a lien release from the finance company. The RMV will not release the title in your name until you provide the lien release. The dealer is only responsible for the repurchase of the vehicle on the terms described above. This means that it is possible, if you have negative net worth or have not made many loan payments yet, that you will have to pay more than the premium amount to pay off the rest of the loan.

Remember, your refund will not include attorneys' fees, lost wages, excise taxes, sales tax, or other costs not directly related to the defect. You can apply in your city or prefecture for a reduction of the excise tax. You can also contact the Department of Revenue to request information about a sales tax refund.

If you are entitled to a refund and the dealer refuses, you may be eligible for Lemon Law arbitration.

main actionsfor dealer repurchase (buyback) of your vehicle

Request Lemon Law Arbitration Massachusetts Local Consumer Group Index Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Registration Massachusetts Department of Revenue

Did you buy your used car from a private party?

If you purchased a used car through a private sale, seeprivate party sales🇧🇷 A private seller is someone who sells less than 4 cars in a 12 month period.

main actionsbuy your used car from a private party?

private car sales

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Guide to the Lemon Law for New Cars

Lemon Law Guide for New Rental Cars

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What is the legal requirement for warranty on a used car? ›

There is no legal obligation for car dealers to provide any kind of warranty, but many independent dealers will offer their own with the used cars they sell.

What are 5 common acts that void your vehicle's warranty? ›

What can void a car warranty?
  • Off-Road Driving.
  • Racing or Reckless Driving.
  • Overloading.
  • Natural Disasters (flooding, fire, earthquake, etc.)
  • Poor Car Maintenance.
  • Using Improper Fluids.
  • Some Aftermarket Parts or Modifications (see above)
6 Jan 2020

What are my legal rights when buying a secondhand car? ›

(For a used car, “satisfactory quality” takes into account the car's age and mileage.) You have a right to reject something faulty and you're entitled to a full refund within 30 days of purchase in most cases.

Can I return a used car if faulty? ›

You'll have to prove the fault was there when you bought the car, which can sometimes be tricky, but you can ask for a repair or a full refund if the fault was there already. Give the car a proper inspection on arrival and be sure to get confirmation of any faults or flaws in writing.

What can void a used car warranty? ›

Environmental damage: If your vehicle was damaged in a fire, flood, hailstorm, earthquake or any other environmental disaster, the automaker will not honor your warranty. Altered odometer: If your car's odometer has been disconnected, tampered with or replaced, the dealership cannot determine the exact mileage.

What is not covered under used car warranty? ›

Again, it can vary depending on the type of warranty you have, but generally, a standard car warranty won't cover the following: Everyday wear and tear – things like worn tyres, brakes and windscreen wipers.

What are two items typically not covered in a car warranty? ›

In general, these items aren't covered in a car warranty:
  • Routine maintenance: Routine oil changes, tire rotations, etc.
  • Wear and tear items: Brakes, brake pads, clutches, windshield wiper replacements, headlight bulbs, etc.
  • Exterior or body panel damage: Dings and scratches in the paint.
8 Jul 2022

What breaks the warranty? ›

Below are some of the most common reasons warranties are invalidated by merchants: The warranty period has expired. The defect or part is not covered. The product failure is due to misuse or lack of proper maintenance.

What breaks car warranty? ›

Misuse of vehicle: If you use your vehicle for anything other than day-to-day driving, such as off-roading or racing, your warranty will be voided. This also includes using improper fluids. Total loss: If your vehicle was given a salvage title after a severe accident, your warranty is void.

What to do if someone sells you a faulty car? ›

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives you the right to ask for a full refund in the first 30 days after buying any product that proves to be faulty, including a new or used car. The law also provides protection for servicing and repair work that renders your car faulty.

Does the Consumer Rights Act apply to second hand cars? ›

The Consumer Rights Act came into force on 1 October 2015 and covers the purchase of goods, digital content and services including new and used cars from official dealers (it doesn't apply to private sales) as well as servicing, repairs and maintenance work.

What does sold as seen mean legally? ›

When goods are “sold as seen”, it generally means that the goods are sold in their existing condition and no representation is given in respect of quality. The words “without warranty” would suggest the seller is providing no warranty as to the quality or fitness for purpose of the goods.

Can you return a financed car back to the dealer if it's faulty? ›

There is a California Lemon Law that allows you to return a new or used vehicle to a dealership if you can prove that it is a lemon with chronic mechanical or electrical defects. Under Lemon Law, you can get a replacement vehicle or a refund of the original purchase price.

Can you return a car under warranty? ›

Extra protection you may have

So, along with any protection your warranty offers, under the act you have the right to reject a car if it is faulty and get a full refund within 30 days of buying it.

How do I get my money back from a car dealer? ›

If the dealership has a refund policy clearly posted, or written on the sales contract or receipt, and it chooses not to honor that policy, you can seek legal recourse against the dealership. If the deposit amount is less than the small claims court maximum for your state, you can file a suit there.

How do you fight a car warranty? ›

Call your warranty provider and ask about the steps you'll need to take to appeal their decision. You'll need to walk through your claims experience from start to finish, and describe the shop's opinion.

What are the grounds on which warranty can be excused? ›

(1) Non-compliance with a warranty is excused when, by reason of a change of circumstances, the warranty ceases to be applicable to the circumstances of the contract, or when compliance with the warranty is rendered unlawful by any subsequent law.

What voids a bumper to bumper warranty? ›

Damage that is the result of improper use, racing, theft, vandalism, or an accident is generally not covered. It is also important that you maintain your vehicle in accordance with the factory-recommended maintenance schedule. Missing an oil change can void your bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Is it worth buying warranty on a used car? ›

A used car extended warranty might be worth it if the vehicle make and model has a poor reliability record. Extended warranty on used cars isn't needed if the vehicle still has the manufacturer's warranty. Consider used car warranties that exclude specific repairs rather than those that list what they will cover.

Is it worth buying additional warranty on a used car? ›

Yes, it's worth buying an extended warranty on a used car.

Since most major repairs won't arise until after the 3-year mark, the manufacturer's warranty likely won't provide coverage when you need it the most. This is why it's recommended to get an extended warranty on your used vehicle.

What happens if car warranty is not honored? ›

What Should I Do if My Car Warranty Is Not Being Honored? If you have filed a written warranty claim with the manufacturer and they have refused to provide the requested repairs, or have failed to get back to you, it's important that you contact a breach of warranty lawyer as soon as possible.

Does warranty apply to second hand? ›

Warranty on second hand goods.

These can range from the age of the item (12 months from original purchase), where it was purchased from (an authorised retailer or dealership), being conditional on regular maintenance (serviced every year) or limited to certain faults (excludes wear and tear).

What is not included in warranty? ›

A description of damage not covered by the warranty is provided on the The most frequent causes for exclusion of liability under the warranty include: moisture or liquid penetration, mechanical damage — i.e. damage to the device as a result of a fall, impact, etc.

Are scratches covered by car warranty? ›

To get right to it, whether it's a manufacturer's warranty on a new car right from a dealership or an extended car warranty plan or vehicle service contract on a used car, it will not cover scratches, dents or door dings of any sort.

Why do dealerships not like warranty work? ›

Generally speaking, the manufacturer pays a lower labor rate to the dealer for warranty work. And, since the parts come from the manufacturer, the dealership can't earn its usual markup on the cost of parts, either.

Can a warranty be denied? ›

If your warranty claim gets denied, contact the company directly to request any necessary documentation needed to file an appeal. In the meantime, you'll likely have to pay for the repairs yourself and can get reimbursed after the appeal process.

Are warranties a waste of money? ›

Ramsey's blog also explains that extended warranties typically are not worth paying for because they typically come with many coverage exclusions. Since the most common issues may not be covered under the warranty, you'd be wasting your money by buying one.

What happens if your engine blows under warranty? ›

If you have a new car and your engine blows up – there's almost no scenario where your engine won't be 100% covered by the manufacturer warranty. The second type of warranty is a post-purchase extended warranty that covers your car after the initial manufacturer's bumper to bumper warranty expires.

What modifications void car warranty? ›

If the vehicle has been deemed a total loss by the insurance company after an accident, the warranty coverage may be voided. Modifications that have been done to the vehicle that permanently alter the way it operates, such as turbochargers, work to the engine's internals, or suspension changes.

Is warranty void if opened legal? ›

Most consumers don't know that these stickers are actually illegal—and that's because manufacturers don't want you to. Under the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the Feds mandated that you can open your electronics without voiding the warranty, regardless of what the language of your warranty says.

Does a seller have to declare damage on a car? ›

Declaring a car's Cat N or Cat S status is essential, whether selling or part-exchanging it. The new owner could sue you for damages in the absence of a suitable declaration.

Can I return a used car within 14 days? ›

Your rights when buying a used car from a dealership

If you've bought a used motor from a dealership, you have the right to return the car within the first 30 days of purchase.

Can you sell a car with a fault? ›

Mechanical issues

This covers any faults with the mechanical components of the car, such as the engine or suspension. If your car isn't running, you can still sell it but it'll be hard, and you may have to drastically reduce the price to draw a buyer in.

What should you not say when buying a used car? ›

5 Things Not to Say When You're Buying a Car
  1. 'I love this car! '
  2. 'I've got to have a monthly payment of $350. '
  3. 'My lease is up next week. '
  4. 'I want $10,000 for my trade-in, and I won't take a penny less. '
  5. 'I've been looking all over for this color. '
  6. Information is power.
14 Feb 2021

Can I reject my used car? ›

Final right to reject – the first six months

If the repair has not fixed the fault, you can reject the vehicle. If you part-exchanged your old car on the new one, you will not get it back. Instead, you will get a cash value for the new car. However, unlike the short-term right to reject, it may not be the full value.

Can you return a car after buying it from a private seller? ›

There has to be a proven defect. If you can prove that the vehicle you were sold was not fit for the purpose when you bought it, you have a leg to stand on – but you as the buyer has to provide the evidence. This puts you in a position to demand a repair, replacement, or refund.

Can a car dealer sell a car sold as seen? ›

However, according to Trading Standards, no vehicles can legally be 'sold as seen'. As you are selling a car under a legally-binding contract, adding 'sold as seen' or 'no refunds' to an advert provides no legal protection to you as a seller.

Can a seller walk away from a sale? ›

Yes, a seller can back out of a contract under certain circumstances. But you must show that you've upheld the conditions in the purchase agreement or face consequences.

Is a second hand car sold as seen? ›

No, it's not sold as seen? When you purchase a second-hand car from a motor dealer, you enter into a legal binding contract. As the buyer you are entitled to a car that is fit for purpose, of satisfactory quality, and as described.

Is there a statutory warranty on used cars? ›

Your statutory rights on any used car

Many buyers confuse warranties with their legal rights, but they are two different things. Warranty or not, you are still covered by your statutory rights if the car you've bought is faulty or not roadworthy.

Do car dealers have to give a 3 month warranty? ›

It is up to the car dealer offering a warranty to decide on the duration. Many used cars are sold with a three-month warranty, some have one year while others may have none. This is entirely legal.

Is a warranty a legal requirement? ›

A free guarantee for goods, including goods supplied with a service, is legally binding on the person offering the guarantee. Guarantees for goods are usually provided by the manufacturer and give you extra rights, in addition to the rights you already have against the seller.

How long does a used car warranty last? ›

A car manufacturer's warranty often covers a vehicle's first three years or 36,000 miles, though powertrain warranties may last longer.

What voids a warranty? ›

Below are some of the most common reasons warranties are invalidated by merchants: The warranty period has expired. The defect or part is not covered. The product failure is due to misuse or lack of proper maintenance.

Do you need proof of purchase for warranty? ›

When you make a claim, you'll usually need: proof of purchase - usually a receipt showing where and when you bought the goods. details of what the problem is. a photocopy of the warranty or guarantee.

Can I reject a car after 6 months? ›

It is possible to reject a car after six months. But it's a lot more difficult. You must prove that the fault was present on the car when you bought it. And that is very difficult after you've owned the car for months, unless of course you had the car assessed by a technician the moment you got it home from the garage.

Can dealer void warranty? ›

It is possible for a manufacturer or dealer to void a warranty or to deny warranty repairs. To do so, they must be able to demonstrate that improper repairs, improper maintenance or improper upgrades resulted in damage to the component that is subject to your warranty claim dispute.

What are the three basic rules of warranty liability? ›

These are: (1) Breach of warranty; (2) Negligence; (3) Strict liability.

What is the rule of warranty? ›

warranty, a promise or guarantee made by a seller or lessor about the characteristics or quality of property, goods, or services.

What are my rights under warranty? ›

Under the Consumer Rights Act, the retailer bears complete responsibility for faulty goods. If, however, you make a claim through your warranty, it must be made against the party who provided you with the warranty. This could be the retailer or the manufacturer.


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