Dealer-related Information in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has a strong lemon law, with components for both new and used vehicles, as well as a Lemon-Aid program, which aids consumers whose new vehicle doesn't pass state Inspection within the first seven days after purchase. Basically, the new car portion of the law provides for a mediation process if the new car proves to have unrepairable defects. The used car portion requires dealers to meet basic standards for any car sold.
Find out more about Massachusetts lemon aw.
Massachusetts is trying to get very hybrid-friendly. A bill currently before the State Legislature gives the following breaks to hybrid-vehicle owners:
- From now through 2010, anyone purchasing a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle, which can be powered by ethanol, low-sulfur Diesel, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and hydrogen can register for special incentives that include the following:
- An income tax deduction of $2000.
- The right to travel in HOV lanes regardless of passengers.
- Discounts or free parking in municipalities which choose to participate.
- The bill also requires that five percent of all new state agency "fleet vehicles" be hybrids or run on alternative fuel, with 50 percent of the state fleet using alternative fuels by 2010. Also, a $10 million bond would be established to assist municipalities and regional transit authorities in building alternative fuel stations on public lands and acquiring alternative fuel vehicles or hybrids.
Like many states, Massachusetts is considering developing a Car Buyer's Bill of Rights, which is designed to protect consumers by preventing many existing practices in the car dealer industry. The bill, which is currently before the State Legislature (as of May 2006), has the following provisions in its current form:
- Quantifies a "certified" used car as one that meets the following requirements:
- The vehicle has not sustained damage that substantially impairs its use or safety to the buyer.
- The odometer on the vehicle indicates actual mileage, and has not been rolled back or otherwise altered to show fewer miles, or replaced with an odometer showing fewer miles than actually driven.
- The dealer has no actual knowledge that the vehicle has been repurchased by a dealer or manufacturer under a lemon law or warranty law.
- The title to the vehicle has not been inscribed with the notation "lemon law buyback," "manufacturer repurchase," "salvage," "junk," "nonrepairable," "flood," or similar designation or title designation required by Massachusetts or another state.
- The vehicle has been inspected by a technician or technicians qualified to inspect for collision repair and mechanical condition.
- Prior to sale, the dealer provides the buyer with a completed inspection report indicating all the components inspected as part of the vehicle certification program and whether they meet the standards of the vehicle certification program.
- Clears up contract requirements for new and used car purchases, requiring the following in every contract or bill of sale:
- An itemization of the amount financed that includes the following:
- The cash price, exclusive of document preparation fees, taxes imposed on the sale, prior credit or lease balance on property being traded in, the amount of any manufacturer's rebate applied, and the amount charged for a service contract
- The fee to be retained by the seller for document preparation
- Taxes imposed on the sale
- The amount of any manufacturer's rebate
- The amount of any optional business partnership automation fee to register or transfer the vehicle, which shall be labeled "optional RMV electronic filing fee"
- The amount charged for a service contract
- The prior credit or lease balance remaining on property being traded in, which shall be labeled "prior credit or lease balance"
- Any charge for an optional debt cancellation agreement
- The total cash price, which shall be the sum of the above eight subparagraphs, inclusive.
- The amount of the buyer's downpayment, itemized to show the following:
- The agreed value and brief description of the property being traded in, if any
- The prior credit or lease balance, if any, owing on the property being traded in
- The net agreed value of the property being traded in, which shall be the difference between the amounts disclosed in the above two subparagraphs. If the prior credit or lease balance of the property being traded in exceeds the agreed value of the property, a negative number shall be stated.
- The amount of any portion of the downpayment to be deferred and which is not subject to a finance charge.
- The amount of any manufacturer's rebate applied or to be applied to the downpayment.
- The remaining amount paid or to be paid by the buyer as a downpayment, which shall be the sum of the previous five subparagraphs, inclusive.
- The amount financed
- Any promotional warranty or financing arrangement
- Requires dealers to disclose the following to any consumer buying on an installment plan:
- The buyer's consumer credit rating as reported to the retail seller.
- The buy rate as communicated to the retail seller by a sales finance company
- The cost incurred by the buyer of any charge for arranging financing, including, but not limited to, finance markup charges and processing fees. The cost is limited to .5 percent of the loan or $150, whichever is greater
- Any agreement to sell, assign, or otherwise transfer the contract to a third party for an amount which is equal to, in excess of, or less than the amount financed under the contract
- Gives the buyer of any used vehicle a three-day window to cancel any purchase-and-sale agreement and sets a process for canceling and returning the vehicle.
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