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Consumer Rights When Buying A Used Car From A Dealer


Under the 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. The car must have been purchased from a Massachusetts dealer and be used for personal or family purposes (i.e. not used primarily 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.




consumer rights when buying a used car from a dealer


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1. If the dealer or his agent fails to correct a malfunction or defect as required by the warranty specified in this section which substantially impairs the value of the used motor vehicle to the consumer after a reasonable period of time, the dealer shall accept return of the used motor vehicle from the consumer and refund to the consumer the full purchase price, or in the case of a lease contract all payments made under the contract, including sales or compensating use tax, less a reasonable allowance for any damage not attributable to normal wear or usage, and adjustment for any modifications which either increase or decrease the market value of the vehicle or of the lease contract, and in the case of a lease contract, shall cancel all further payments due from the consumer under the lease contract. In determining the purchase price to be refunded or in determining all payments made under a lease contract to be refunded, the purchase price, or all payments made under a lease contract, shall be deemed equal to the sum of the actual cash difference paid for the used motor vehicle, or for the lease contract, plus, if the dealer elects to not return any vehicles traded-in by the consumer, the wholesale value of any such traded-in vehicles as listed in the National Auto Dealers Association Used Car Guide, or such other guide as may be specified in regulations promulgated by the commissioner of motor vehicles, as adjusted for mileage, improvements, and any major physical or mechanical defects in the traded-in vehicle at the time of trade-in. The dealer selling or leasing the used motor vehicle shall deliver to the consumer a written notice including conspicuous language indicating that if the consumer should be entitled to a refund pursuant to this section, the value of any vehicle traded-in by the consumer, if the dealer elects to not return it to the consumer, for purposes of determining the amount of such refund will be determined by reference to the National Auto Dealers Association Used Car Guide wholesale value, or such other guide as may be approved by the commissioner of motor vehicles, as adjusted for mileage improvements, and any major physical or mechanical defects, rather than the value listed in the sales contract. Refunds shall be made to the consumer and lienholder, if any, as their interests may appear on the records of ownership kept by the department of motor vehicles. If the amount to be refunded to the lienholder will be insufficient to discharge the lien, the dealer shall notify the consumer in writing by registered or certified mail that the consumer has thirty days to pay the lienholder the amount which, together with the amount to be refunded by the dealer, will be sufficient to discharge the lien. The notice to the consumer shall contain conspicuous language warning the consumer that failure to pay such funds to the lienholder within thirty days will terminate the dealer's obligation to provide a refund. If the consumer fails to make such payment within thirty days, the dealer shall have no further responsibility to provide a refund under this section. Alternatively, the dealer may elect to offer to replace the used motor vehicle with a comparably priced vehicle, with such adjustment in price as the parties may agree to. The consumer shall not be obligated to accept a replacement vehicle, but may instead elect to receive the refund provided under this section. It shall be an affirmative defense to any claim under this section that:


1. Any agreement entered into by a consumer for the purchase or lease of a used motor vehicle which waives, limits or disclaims the rights set forth in this article shall be void as contrary to public policy. Further, if a dealer fails to give the written warranty required by this article, the dealer nevertheless shall be deemed to have given said warranty as a matter of law.


3. Notwithstanding paragraph one of this subdivision, this article shall not apply to used motor vehicles sold for, or in the case of a lease where the value of the used motor vehicle as agreed to by the consumer and the dealer which vehicle is the subject of the contract is, less than one thousand five hundred dollars, or to used motor vehicles with over one hundred thousand miles at the time of sale or lease if said mileage is indicated in writing at the time of sale or lease. Further, this article shall not apply to the sale or lease of historical motor vehicles as defined in section four hundred one of the vehicle and traffic law.


e. Time of delivery, location of warranty and notice. The written warranty provided for in subdivision b of this section and the written notice provided for in subdivision c of this section shall be delivered to the consumer at or before the time the consumer signs the sales or lease contract for the used motor vehicle. The warranty and the notice may be set forth on one sheet or on separate sheets. They may be separate from, attached to, or a part of the sales or lease contract. If they are part of the sales or lease contract, they shall be separated from the other contract provisions and each headed by a conspicuous title.


1. If you purchase a used car for more than one thousand five hundred dollars, or lease a used car where you and the dealer have agreed that the car's value is more than one thousand five hundred dollars, from anyone selling or leasing three or more used cars a year, you must be given a written warranty.


2. A dealer shall have up to thirty days from the date of notice by the consumer that the arbitrator's decision has been accepted to comply with the terms of such decision. Provided, however, that nothing contained in this subdivision shall impose any liability on a dealer where a delay beyond the thirty day period is attributable to a consumer who has requested a particular replacement vehicle or otherwise made compliance impossible within said period.


A dealer shall have thirty days from the date of mailing of a copy of the arbitrator's decision to such a dealer to comply with the terms of such decision. Failure to comply within the thirty day period shall entitle the consumer to recover, in addition to any other recovery to which he may be entitled, a fee of twenty-five dollars for each business day beyond thirty days up to five hundred dollars; provided however, that nothing in this subdivision shall impose any liability on a dealer where a delay beyond the thirty day period is attributable to a consumer who has requested a particular replacement vehicle or otherwise made compliance impossible within said period.


g. Notice of consumer rights. At the time of purchase or lease of a used motor vehicle from a dealer in this state, the dealer shall provide to the consumer a notice, printed in not less than eight point bold face type, entitled "Used Car Lemon Law Bill of Rights". The text of such notice shall be identical with the notice required by paragraph one of subdivision f of this section.


For new and used cars, when obtaining financing from the dealer, the dealer must give you a Notice to Vehicle Credit Applicant. This shows the credit score that was used by the dealer, the name and contact information of the credit-reporting agencies and their range of all possible credit scores.


Every year, thousands of people buy "previously owned" cars. The majority of used car buyers are satisfied with their purchases. However, used car buyers can run into problems that do not exist in the new car market. Some problems may be similar to those of new car buyers, such as misleading advertising and oral promises. Used car buyers should take special care to "shop smart." This section covers some of the rights and protections you have as a used car consumer in New Hampshire.


New Hampshire, unlike many other states, permits the sale of so-called "unsafe" vehicles which cannot pass state inspection when sold. New Hampshire's Unsafe Vehicle Act (RSA 358 F) gives consumers several important legal rights in the sale of such used vehicles. An "unsafe" vehicle is one whose brakes, frame, exhaust system, or lights will not pass the state's safety inspection.


RSA 266:8 also gives the used car buyer protective rights. When a dealer licensed by the New Hampshire Department of Safety finds that a car will not pass the state safety inspection, the dealer must:


New Hampshire used car buyers are also protected when the dealer wants to sell a used car without any warranty. Such sales are traditionally made using the words "As Is" on the bill of sale, receipt, or contract. New Hampshire's version of the Uniform Commercial Code (for more information about the UCC, refer to Warranties states that when a seller is selling goods (including used cars) without any warranty, the contract should employ the following language:


The FTC rules require used car dealers to give potential buyers certain information about the cars. The used car dealer is required to post a window sticker called a "Buyer's Guide" on each used car stating whether the car is being sold with a warranty or "as is." If the sticker states that the car is being sold "as is," the dealer is prohibited from making any contradictory statements in advertisements, sales pitches, or sales documents.


New Hampshire's Consumer Protection Act expressly prohibits a seller from "[r]epresenting that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used or secondhand." Any advertisements, sales pitches, or other documents that represent program cars as new cars are of interest to the New Hampshire Consumer Protection & Antitrust Bureau. Although the Bureau cannot take action in every case, the Bureau is interested in monitoring the trends in this area. If you can demonstrate that a dealer misrepresented a used car as new, then you have a strong case to rescind the sales contract because the dealer used deceptive methods to make the sale. 041b061a72


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