More about:

Return a car purchased through a private party sale under the Lemon Law

Did you purchase a car in Massachusetts from a private party seller and are experiencing substantial defects that impair the car's safety or ability to drive? You may have recourse if it’s within 30 days of your purchase.

Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

The Details

What you need

There are different parts of the Massachusetts motor vehicle regulations and Lemon Laws that can protect you or provide recourse if you purchased your car from a private party seller. A private party seller is a non-licensed dealer who sells less than 4 cars in a 12-month period.


How to get

You must be able to demonstrate that the car has a defect. You may want to bring it to be checked out by a trusted mechanic before you buy it.

  • Seek out previous service records. These records may be able to show that the seller knew about a defect but didn’t disclose it.
  • Be sure to have a proper title and bill of sale. All vehicles must have a certificate of title issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and must be properly endorsed at the time of sale. 
  • Have the vehicle inspected at a licensed Massachusetts Inspection Station. You may be entitled to a refund if your car fails inspection within 7 days of the date of purchase and the estimated costs of repairs exceed 10% of the purchase price.

If a private party seller refuses to cancel the contract within 30 days of the sale, consult with an attorney to determine whether to pursue the matter in court. Lemon Law arbitration is not available for private party sales.


501 Boylston Street, Suite 5100, Boston, MA 02116
Home Improvement Contractor Registrations and Renewals
1 Ashburton Place, Suite 1301, Boston, MA 02108
Home Improvement Contractor Complaint and Enforcement Hearings
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710, Boston, MA 02118
(617) 973-8799


Tell us what you think