In addition to any express warranties that a merchant makes about the goods it sells, implied warranties also protect consumers. Massachusetts law creates two implied warranties that no business may limit.

The implied warranty of merchantability means that a product must work as intended for a reasonable time. For example, the microwave will heat food.

The implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose means that the seller has reason to know of the particular purpose for which the consumer wants to use the goods, and that the buyer is relying on the seller's skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods. Under this rule, the goods must be fit for that purpose, for example, the bike you tell the business that you want for off-road biking will be suitable for riding over rough terrain.

If the product is defective at purchase, or becomes defective during the period of the implied warranty, both the seller and the manufacturer are responsible for making it right.

Under Massachusetts law, a merchant cannot sell a product "as is." A store's regular return policy does not apply in the case of defective goods.

Refund, Return, and Cancellation Policies

Massachusetts law requires merchants to disclose their refund, return, and cancellation policies prior to the consummation of a transaction. A seller can have any type of return policy it wants - "all sales final," "merchandise credit only," "full cash refunds within 30 days," and so on. A seller's refund, return, or cancellation policy must be disclosed to the buyer clearly and conspicuously before the transaction is completed. Usually, this is done by means of a sign at the point of purchase. If a return policy is only listed on the sales receipt, that is not considered clear and conspicuous prior disclosure, as you only get a receipt after the sale is completed.

You may return goods within a reasonable period of time if no return policy was disclosed. Restrictions in return policies do not apply to defective goods - goods which cannot be used as intended, such as the toaster that will not toast or a television that does not get a picture. The store is required to give you a choice of a refund, repair or replacement.

A seller cannot misrepresent its refund, return, or cancellation policy, or fail to honor any promises about it. Specially-ordered merchandise may have additional restrictions.

Repairs and Services, Including Warranties and Service Contracts

It is an unfair or deceptive act or practice for a business to fail to provide in advance, upon the customer's request, a written estimate of the cost of anticipated repairs, or the basis upon which the charge will be made, and the reasonably expected time to accomplish the repairs.

It is also unfair or deceptive to misrepresent the need for repairs, to make or to charge for unauthorized repairs, or to state that repairs have been made if they have not, and to fail to disclose that there will be a service charge, even if no repairs are made for an in-home service call, if such is the case.