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The Massachusetts Lemon Laws protect consumers whose new or used car has a serious defect which impacts their ability to drive it. Cars are one of the most expensive purchases a consumer will make in their lifetime and the Lemon Laws help ensure that they have some recourse should the car be unsafe or need multiple repairs.

Another expensive purchase that is similarly protected under a separate Lemon Law is a customized wheelchair. Customized wheelchairs are defined as a new manual or motorized wheeled device which is adapted to meet the specific needs of a particular individual’s disability. A privately owned or leased customized wheelchair may be deemed a “lemon” if it has a substantial defect that prevents an operator from using it and which still exists after four or more repair attempts, or 30 days out of service for repairs, within one year of the date of delivery.

The law requires that the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation offer an arbitration program for consumers if they paid some or all costs out of pocket for their purchase or lease of a new, but defective, customized wheelchair and are refused a refund or replacement wheelchair after meeting the eligibility criteria. Parents or guardians who purchase or lease a customized wheelchair on behalf of a minor may also apply.

And just as the vehicular Lemon Laws mandate bright yellow stickers informing consumers of their Lemon Law rights be displayed on all vehicles for sale in Massachusetts, the customized wheelchair Lemon Law regulations mandate that a notice to consumers notifying of them of their right to a refund or replacement wheelchair must be displayed wherever the customized wheelchairs are sold, offered for sale, or on display.

Eligible consumers must file a request for arbitration within 18 months of receipt of their purchased or leased wheelchair. Additional information, including the arbitration application, can be found here:

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 vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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