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Whether you are negotiating with a dealer or private seller, it is important to remember that new and used car purchases are protected by the Massachusetts Lemon Laws.

Consumers should be aware, however, that if they are attempting to return a vehicle under the Failed Inspection Law, which allows a contract to be voided if the vehicle fails inspection, that there are specific requirements that must be met, and in a very timely manner.

Since inspection stickers cannot be transferred, consumers must remove any existing ones and get the car inspected again.  It is best to do this as soon as possible, because the Failed Inspection Law is only applicable during the 7 day window immediately after purchase.

If your newly purchased car fails inspection, you have to obtain some more detailed information before you can return the car to the seller.  You need a written statement of failure from the inspection station which will indicate why it failed the safety or emissions tests.  In addition, you will need a cost estimate for the repairs that are required.  If the cost estimate exceeds 10% of the purchase price, you can cancel the purchase with the seller.  From there, notify the seller of your intent to void the contract and be sure to send copies of the documents.

It is important to keep in mind that the inspection station you bring your vehicle to is not required to provide you a reason for failure and the repair estimate. Consumers should call ahead and confirm that the inspection station will perform this service in order to avoid paying for an inspection a second time. A list of inspection stations in Massachusetts can be found here: http://www.massrmv.com/Registration/VehicleInspections.aspx

Being diligent during the weeks after you have purchased a new or used car will help ensure that you are not on the hook for unforeseen repair expenses, should problems arise. For more information on the Failed Inspection Lemon Law and other Lemon Laws for new and used car purchases, visit our website.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

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