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As consumers, it is extremely important that we are able to make informed decisions before making a purchase, whether it is for a small electronic device or a substantial item like a car or house. We need information about how a purchase will affect our financial lives before we buy it. Only then can we really make a decision that is in our best interest.

The Office of Consumer Affairs recently conducted a survey of car dealerships to see whether they post required Lemon Law stickers that detail a consumer’s rights for buying cars, and we found that many dealerships surveyed were not in full compliance.

These bright yellow stickers are mandatory for car dealers to display on cars that are for sale. They read out the state’s Lemon Law rights to the consumer; without them, the consumer can’t make an informed decision. Consumers should understand that they are entitled to a refund after a reasonable number of repair attempts, and they should have a full understanding of the arbitration process when they disagree with their dealer about whether the car qualifies for a refund.

The number of dealerships that complied with the law and displayed the sticker on their car was disappointing: overall, 43 percent of the cars surveyed were missing the required Lemon Law sticker. Of the 71 dealerships examined, only 16 showed 100 percent compliance – 30 showed over 80 percent compliance. 17 dealerships had no stickers at all on any of the cars examined in the survey.

Fortunately, the Office of Consumer Affairs created an online tool to educate consumers on the state’s lemon laws. You are still protected by these laws, even if the dealerships don’t tell you. Users can fill out our online survey with “yes” or “no” answers to find out if they qualify under the lemon laws. Users who qualify will be directed to the proper paperwork that they can fill out and take the necessary steps to refund their money. If a consumer requires arbitration to receive the refund they are entitled to, the application form for that is available on the same application page.

To find out more about your rights under the state’s lemon laws, and to see the full results of the survey, visit the Office’s website at www.mass.gov/consumer.

 

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