For Immediate Release - October 14, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration's Second Survey of Mandatory Lemon Law Notice Sticker Rules Finds Better Compliance from 2009 Review

Used car dealers improve compliance from 49 percent to 62 percent; Office of Consumer Affairs and MIADA unveil Used Vehicle Warranty guide for dealers

DEDHAM - October 14, 2010 - A second survey of auto dealers by the Patrick-Murray Administration's Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation finds dealers, particularly used-car dealers, are doing a better job of attaching Lemon Law notice stickers to vehicles for sale.

The survey found used-car dealers are attaching stickers to 62 percent of their cars, up from 49 percent during a similar survey in 2009. Overall, including new-car dealers, compliance with the state law mandating each car for sale on a lot include information regarding a consumer's Lemon Law rights increased from 57 percent to 63 percent.

The results of the survey were announced today at A.S.P.I. Motors in Dedham. A.S.P.I. is a member of the Massachusetts Independent Automobile Dealers Association (MIADA).

"As independent dealers, our service and ability to work directly with customers is one of our trademarks," said Lou Tedeschi, the Owner of A.S.P.I. Motors and Chairman of the Board of MIADA. "This effort to ensure our members are fully aware of the rules regarding warranties and the Lemon Law helps us maintain the high standards for which we are known."

The Lemon Laws for new and used cars detail a consumer's right to a refund after a reasonable number of repair attempts, and outline the arbitration process when a dealer and consumer disagree about whether the car qualifies for a refund. The Lemon Law program is operated by the Office of Consumer Affairs.

This year's survey was more expansive than the first check in 2009, which included 1,900 cars at 73 dealerships. In August 2010, surveyors checked nearly 6,400 cars at 217 new- and used-car dealerships.

In the 2010 survey, 44 dealers achieved 100 percent compliance. Another 25 dealers were found to have 90 to 99 percent compliance. Thirty-six dealers were between 70 and 89 percent compliant. Forty-nine dealers were under 10 percent compliant, including 39 dealers who did not have stickers on any of their vehicles for sale.

This year's survey was conducted by Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation staff, along with participation by the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure, the Massachusetts Division of Standards, Cambridge Consumers' Council, Cape Cod Consumer Assistance Council, Middlesex Community College Law Center, the Newton-Brookline Consumer Office, and the Springfield Mayor's Office of Consumer Information.

A letter was sent to each dealer surveyed, informing each of its results from the survey. Prior to last year, it had been at least 10 years since the last Lemon Law sticker survey, which is designed to renew attention to dealers of their obligation to put the stickers on all of their vehicles.

Today, MIADA and the Office of Consumer Affairs also unveiled "A Dealer's Guide to the Massachusetts Used Vehicle Warranty Law," a new Used Vehicle Warranty compliance guide for used car dealers. This publication reinforces for dealers their obligations to consumers and provides tips for complying with the law.

"Buying a car is a big financial decision for a family, and having immediate access to warranty and Lemon Law information is a fundamental necessity," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "The Massachusetts Independent Automobile Dealers Association has been a terrific partner with us, informing their members of the need to have this information on each and every car being sold on a dealer's lot."

The Patrick-Murray Administration's Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office at its blog, Consumer Connections, and on Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.