If I purchased a used vehicle in a private sale “as is”but the seller claimed nothing was wrong withit, what can I do if it failed inspection?

UPDATED: Aug 25, 2011

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If I purchased a used vehicle in a private sale “as is”but the seller claimed nothing was wrong withit, what can I do if it failed inspection?

I purchased it yesterday; today it failed for over $1000 worth of safety issues of which we were unaware. The lemon law states all vehicles that fail inspection are covered if the damage is estimated at 10% or more of the purchase price which was $7200. The owner claims she isn’t liable because it was sold “as is”. Is there anything we can do?

Asked on August 25, 2011 Massachusetts


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The state of Massachusetts certainly does afford a used car purchaser more protection than many other states.  You have indeed stated some of the law here but not all of it correctly. The Lemon Aid Law allows a consumer 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.  The car must be returned to the seller within 14 days of the sale.  There is also the Used Vehicle Warranty Law which requires private party sellers to inform buyers about any and all known defects which impair the safety or substantially impair the use of the vehicle. The law applies to all private party sales regardless of sales price or mileage. If the buyer discover a defect that impairs the vehicle’s safety or substantially impairs the use, and can prove that the seller knew about the defect but failed to disclose it, the buyer may cancel the sale within thirty days of purchase. The seller must refund the amount the buyer paid for the vehicle, less 15 cents per mile of use.  I would contact your state consumer affairs department at Mass.gov.  Good luck.

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