The Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute Chapter 93A provides for double or triple damages plus attorney fees if a dealer who misrepresented the vehicle fails to make a reasonable offer within 30 days, however, what is reasonable to the dealer doesn’t always seem fair to you. If the court finds the 1st offer was reasonable you will be on the hook for your own attorney fees and will come out behind.
Sometimes the best action is to simply return the vehicle. MGL Chapter 90 § 7N provides that a consumer may VOID their contract under the following conditions:
1) The vehicle fails periodic staggered inspections at a licensed MA inspection station within seven days of the purchase;
2) The reason for the failure was not post-sale abusive or negligent operation or a post-sale accident or collision;
3) The cost of repairs to pass inspection exceeds 10% of the purchase price;
4) The buyer returns the vehicle to the Seller within 14 days of the purchase;
5) The buyer notifies the Seller within 14 days of their intent to void the contract (Do so in writing and make a copy);
6) The Buyer provides the Seller within 14 days a statement signed by the authorized agent of the inspection station indicating why the vehicle failed to pass inspection and the estimated cost of repairs (make sure they are over 10% of purchase price);
7) The vehicle is purchased for immediate personal or family use (Not commercial)
8) Buyer does NOT sign an agreement authorizing Seller to make repairs within a reasonable time thereafter.
Note you may still need to bring a small claims action to recover your cost of registration, sales tax or repairs made prior to seeking inspection. You may also have to bring a small claims in district court action to recover any deposit or a total cash payment. However, if you are financed and they financing agency tries to bring a collections action against you, a properly voided contract should allow you to win that case. You should be able to get an abatement on your excise tax, but will need to file the application with your local assessor.
BEWARE: If you don’t get your inspection right away it will be hard to get periodic staggered inspections within 7 days.
TIP: If you are selling a used car, don’t just offer a bill of sale, get a contract that entitles you to make repairs at your expense within a reasonable period of time if the cost of repairs to pass inspection exceeds 10% of the purchase price. If you do not get such an agreement up front, it is unlikely the buyer will agree in writing after the vehicle fails inspection.
If you have been the victim of fraud or misrepresentation in the purchase of a motor vehicle or another defective consumer product contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass, for a free consultation. The Law Office of Isaac J. Mass is located in downtown Greenfield, Massachusetts in the heart of Franklin County.