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In arbitration, you and the manufacturer present evidence about the condition of the vehicle to an impartial person (the arbitrator). In order to apply for arbitration, you must first know if your car qualifies under the Lemon Law and whether you are applying for arbitration for your new or leased car or for your used car.
Note: The arbitration program applies to cars purchases from dealers only. Private party sales are not eligible for arbitration.
There are two types of arbitration: state-run and manufacturer-sponsored.
State-run arbitration is "all or nothing." You can also use state-run arbitration even if you already used the manufacturer’s own arbitration program.The arbitrator will hear both sides of the case and will generally issue a formal decision within 45 days of acceptance of a request for arbitration. If the arbitrator determines that your vehicle meets the Lemon Law standards, you will be awarded a full refund (minus the use allowance and the amount of any previous settlement from the manufacturer) or a replacement vehicle.The arbitrator cannot order the manufacturer to make a partial refund, attempt additional repairs, or extend the terms of the express warranty.
The car’s manufacturer must refund your money, or file an appeal to the arbitrator’s decision, within 21 days of the decision. Late payment of awards or frivolous appeals can result in a judge awarding you double damages.
If the arbitrator decides that your vehicle is not a "lemon," there will be no award, although you may have rights to different remedies under other laws.
You may request manufacturer-sponsored arbitration for Lemon Law defects, as well as other less serious problems.
A manufacturer cannot require you to use its arbitration program, but if you choose to use it, the arbitrator or panel does not have to apply the Lemon Law standards. The arbitrator can order partial refunds as well as full ones and most manufacturers are bound by the decisions of their arbitration programs.
For specific information on your manufacturer's arbitration program, contact its regional office.
If you are applying for arbitration for your new or leased car, your application for arbitration must be received within 18 months of the date your vehicle was delivered to you to require the manufacturer's participation.
If you are applying for arbitration for your used car, your application for arbitration must be received within 6 months of the date your vehicle was delivered to you.
Send your completed arbitration application to:
Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
Lemon Law Mediation and Arbitration Program
501 Boylston Street, Suite 5100
Boston, MA 02116
Any request for application must be made using the official arbitration application.