Questions Presented on the Air
I bought a brand new car and I am already having major problems with it. I am concerned for my safety. Under the lemon law, shouldn't I be able to get my money back?
If you believe that the problem you are experiencing is a major safety hazard, you should contact your dealership and the manufacturer of the car right away. They may be able to give you your money back or get you a new vehicle. If you are unsuccessful with those attempts, you will have to wait to qualify under the New Car Lemon Law. To qualify for the New Car Lemon Law, you must:
- Bring your vehicle in either 3 times for the same use or safety defect OR
- The vehicle will have had to be out of service for 15 business days, during the first year or 15,000 miles that you have the vehicle.
Once either of those options occurs, you will need to give the manufacturer one final opportunity to fix the vehicle. If the manufacturer is unsuccessful in its last attempt to fix your car, you have the right to a refund or a new vehicle.
Each month my employer deducts a certain dollar amount for health insurance. When I recently went to the doctor I found out that I have no coverage because my employer stopped paying the insurance company. What can I do?
There is a regulation to protect individuals whose group health insurance plans are canceled without their knowledge. This regulation also protects employees whose employers fail to pay insurance premiums. The regulation requires health insurers to continue honoring claims for medical services until they have sent notice of a plan's cancellation to subscribers. You should contact the Division of Insurance with any questions or complaints about employers who fail to pay insurance premiums.
With spring approaching I want to hire a contractor to build a deck on my house. The contractor I spoke to said he wants half the money up front. Is this standard?
No, not only is this not standard, it is illegal. Under the Home Improvement Contractors Law in Massachusetts, contractors cannot ask for more than one third of the total contract price before beginning the job, unless they have to order customized material. If a contractor is asking for more than one third of the price up front, you may want to choose a different contractor.
Questions Not Presented on the Air
For over 7 years AOL has been charging me for 5 accounts, when I only have one account. I have spoken with them many times but, they are still taking incorrect amounts out of my checking account. What can I do? - Linda, Beverly
If you are unable to resolve a complaint with a merchant informally, then you may decide to take legal action. If your problem involves an unfair or deceptive practice, which is a violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, the law requires you to send the merchant a letter 30 days before filing a claim in court. ( M.G.L. c. 93A). The letter must outline your complaint, the harm you suffered, and how you want the problem resolved. This is called a 30 Day Demand Letter.
The merchant must make a good faith response within 30 days, or it could subject him/her to triple damages and attorney's fees. The 30 Day Demand Letter serves to encourage the merchant to negotiate and settle the claims out of court. It also establishes the amount of monetary damages you can recover if the charges are proven in court. Please go to http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer/shopping/resolve-a-problem/demand-letter.html for more information on the 30 Day Demand Letter.
If the 30 Day Demand Letter is unsuccessful, you may want to pursue the issue in small claims court. You may also wish to check with your bank and see if there is something they can do to stop the incorrect amount from being withdrawn from your account.
Will the Do Not Call program be able to add a portion that will stop mortgage companies from calling? - Anne, Braintree
As of now the exceptions to the Do Not Call program are:
You may still receive certain types of calls:
- Noncommercial polls or surveys, e.g. political polls;
- Calls made by tax-exempt non-profit organizations, e.g. universities and charities;
- Calls made to consumers with that consumer's express permission;
- Calls made to consumers in response to that consumer's visit to that company's fixed commercial location;
- Telephone sales calls made primarily in connection with an existing contract or debt;
- Telephone sales calls to an existing customer;
- Telephone sales calls in the context of ongoing consumer sales when face-to-face presentations or meetings are prerequisites to payment are telephone calls that fall outside the covered purview of the banned solicitations above;
- This law does not cover e-mail or junk mail. For information about junk mail and spam, visit http://www.mass.gov/consumer/pubs/stopjunk.htm.
If you would like to see the law amended, please contact your local representatives. If you believe you have experienced a violation of the law please contact the Attorney General's Office at 617-727-8400.I rent in a local housing authority. Is it legal that I have to pay for parking? - Elena
No, parking does not have to be included in your monthly rent. If it is stated in your lease that you must pay for parking, your landlord can charge you a parking fee. But, if you have bargained to have parking included in your lease, than you should not have to pay extra for parking.
I bought a leather chair from Wal-Mart. I returned the chair with everything in the box. They will not give me my money back. Is this legal? Paul, Jamaica Plain
A store may adopt whatever return policy they like, as long as it is clearly and conspicuously stated in the store. Yes, a store may refuse to take back the merchandise if that is their return policy. A store, however, cannot use its disclosed policy to refuse the return of defective merchandise. When the item purchased is defective, you can choose a repair, replacement or refund. This right is contained in the Implied Warranty of Merchantability law. Under that law, merchants cannot limit your remedies. In addition, this means that if a merchant chooses an "All Sales Final" return policy, it must disclose that policy without limiting your rights.How can I opt out of credit card offers? - Lynn, Roxbury
To remove your name and address from most national mailing lists, contact:
Direct Marketing Association
Mail Preference Service Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
I bought an extended warranty from a company outside of Massachusetts. I cancelled the warranty, but now they sold the warranty to another company, and I am getting charged. What can I do? - Steven, Boxborough
First, you should check the original warranty you signed and see what your cancellation rights are. If you believe that the company should not have been able to sell the warranty to another company you may want to write a 30 Day Demand Letter. The letter must outline your complaint, the harm you suffered, and how you want the problem resolved. This is called a 30 Day Demand Letter.
The merchant must make a good faith response within 30 days, or it could subject him/her to triple damages and attorney's fees. The 30 Day Demand Letter serves to encourage the merchant to negotiate and settle the claims out of court. It also establishes the amount of monetary damages you can recover if the charges are proven in court. Please go to http://www.mass.gov/consumer/Pubs/demand.htm for more information on the 30 Day Demand Letter.
If the 30 Day Demand Letter is unsuccessful, you may want to pursue the issue in small claims court.