Lemon Law Attorneys in Massachusetts
When life brings you lemons, you make lemonade. When a car dealer sells you a lemon, you may have some recourse.
Once your vehicle is determined to be a lemon, your manufacturer should replace your vehicle or buy it back; however, if the dealership refuses to do so, you have options. You can pursue arbitration or seek a lemon law attorney.
When you're dealing with an automotive manufacturer or dealer, you need to be prepared. An attorney that specializes in lemon law knows exactly how to deal with these issues and provides your best option for getting a satisfactory settlement.
Benefits of having an attorney handle your case include:
- Lawyers know consumer rights.
- Resolutions may come much quicker than dealing with the issue yourself.
- An attorney's representation gives you more bargaining power.
One reason people may shy away from hiring an attorney is potential financial cost. You may be wondering whether it will cost you more to hire an attorney and go to court than it would to replace your vehicle.
But there's good news: if you prevail, you might be able recover your attorney fees and other expenses from the vehicle manufacturer. Consult with your lawyer for details.
Also, most lemon law attorneys will not charge you up front. Instead they will track their time spent on the case and then bill the manufacturer after you've won the case. These are referred to as “contingency fees".
Be sure to ask your attorney about his fees upfront.
When you search for an attorney for your lemon law case in MA, be sure to find an experienced one.
You'll need someone who is familiar with lemon law cases and knows all the intricacies of the law. Be sure to interview your potential attorney. Ask about his background, track record, fees, and any other questions you may need answered.
In Massachusetts, a vehicle is considered a lemon if it's a new or leased vehicle that has a substantial defect that impairs its use or safety, and that defect still exists or recurs after a reasonable number of repair attempts.
Your vehicle will qualify as a lemon if, during the duration of protection under the lemon law ( 1 year or 15,000 miles from date of delivery, whichever comes first):
- Repair of the defect is attempted 3 times or more for the same defect and the problem continues to occur.
- The time spent on repair for the vehicle's defect(s) totals 15 business days or more.
- The 15 business days can be total time and do not have to be consecutive.
Note that some used vehicles qualify for protection as well. See our Lemon Laws in MA page for more information.
The state requires that you give your manufacturer a final opportunity to repair the defect and 7 business days to do so. If the manufacturer fails to do so, you are entitled to EITHER:
- A refund.
- A replacement vehicle.
If your manufacturer refuses to do either of the above, you have some options. You can seek mediation or arbitration, and if that doesn't work, you may need an attorney's help.
In the event that your vehicle's issue has not been fixed to your satisfaction, you have the option of choosing either:
Mediation is a process that allows both parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution with the help of a facilitator. The process is voluntary and requires both parties' consent.
Arbitration is an informal way to resolve a complaint. In arbitration, you and the vehicle manufacturer will be asked to present evidence to an impartial person or persons.
Types of arbitration include:
- State-run arbitration.
- Manufacturer-sponsored arbitration.
The main difference between state-run and manufacturer-run arbitration is that the state program awards either FULL REFUNDS or NOTHING. If your vehicle is a lemon, you'll get a refund. If not, you won't.
Manufacturer-run programs, on the other hand, do not have to apply the law the same way and can offer PARTIAL REFUNDS.
If you are unsatisfied with the arbitration decision, you may wish to hire an attorney and go to court.