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      Eric Arnum, Editor     

Notes from:

A Massachusetts Consumer Guide:

The Used Vehicle Warranty Law


Major points

  • Anyone who sells four or more vehicles in a one-year period is a dealer.

  • All dealer sales covered by an implied warrant of merchantability that cannot be disclaimed (prohibits "as-is" sales).

  • The implied warranty of merchantability does not apply to private party sales.

  • Warranty does not cover defects caused by repair attempts made by someone other than the dealer.

  • Dealer has the right to offer to buy the car back for the full repurchase price instead of making repairs. If the buyer refuses the offer, they are not entitled to further warranty repairs.

  • Warranty length depends on the mileage of the vehicle at the time of purchase:

    • under 40,000 miles - 90 days or 3,750 miles, whichever comes first

    • 40,000 to 79,999 miles - 60 days or 2,500 miles, whichever comes first

    • 80,000 to 124,999 miles - 30 days or 1,250 miles, whichever comes first

    • 125,000 miles or over - No express warranty

  • An implied warranty of merchantability supercedes any sales made "as is" or with 50/50 warranties. In other words, warranties are mandatory, all warranties must be for 100%, and costs cannot be split with the customer.

  • Note: the Massachusetts Lemon Aid Law allows a buyer to void or cancel a motor vehicle contract or sale if the vehicle fails to pass inspection within seven days from the date of sale and if the estimated costs of repairs of emissions or safety related defects exceed 10% of the purchase price.

State Links:


Special Report on
50/50 Warranties:

1. The FTC Explains Its Change of Heart: How "Likely Does" Turned Into "Definitely Doesn't"
2. State Regulators and Consumer Advocates Say the FTC Got It Right in 1999, and Was Wrong in 2002
3. Dealerships Defend Their Reliance on 50/50 Warranties: It's Done for Buyer Peace of Mind, to Control Costs, and to Share the Risk
4. On the Advice of an Attorney: Used Auto Dealers Make an Effective Case Before the FTC
5. Online Advice Columns: Repetitious & Unanimous: Don't Accept 50/50 Warranties
6. Notes from "A Massachusetts Consumer Guide: The Used Vehicle Warranty Law"
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