Did your new or used car fail inspection within 7 days of the date of purchase

You can cancel a motor vehicle contract or sale and get a refund if your car fails to pass inspection within 7 days from the date of sale and the cost of repairs exceeds 10% of the purchase price.

Massachusetts Failed Inspection Law Overview

The Massachusetts Failed Inspection Law allows you to void or cancel a motor vehicle contract or sale if your vehicle fails to pass inspection within 7 days from the date of sale and if the estimated costs of repairs or safety related defects exceeds 10% of the purchase price. This law applies to both dealer and private party sales of cars and motorcycles purchased for personal or family use regardless of mileage or age. It does not apply to leased cars.

Before you start

To be eligible for a refund under the Lemon Law:

  • Your car must be inspected within 7 days from the date of sale (not the date of registration)
  • The inspection must be completed by a licensed Massachusetts Inspection Station.

Steps to get a refund

In order to get a refund, you must complete all of the following steps within 14 days from the date of sale. 

If you complete these steps, you are entitled to a full refund of the purchase price. Alternatively, you and the seller may agree in writing to have the seller make the necessary repairs at their own expense.

  1. Get a written statement of failure

    Get a written statement from the inspection station where you brought your vehicle stating why it failed to pass the safety or combined safety and emissions inspection test.

  2. Get a cost estimate

    Get a written estimate of the costs for the necessary emissions or safety repairs showing that those costs exceed 10% of the purchase price. Be sure to obtain this estimate from the same inspection station that failed your car.

  3. Inform the seller

    Inform the seller of your intention to void the contract. Do this by certified mail, return receipt requested, regular mail, and by email. Enclose a copy (not the originals) of the documents listed in steps 1 and 2.

  4. Return the car to the seller

    Bring the car to the seller, even if delivery requires towing services. If the seller refuses to accept the car, prepare a statement indicating that you and a witness delivered the car to the seller on that date, but that the seller refused to accept the car. Be sure the statement is signed by both you and your witness in the presence of a notary public.

About inspection stickers

Remember: Since inspection stickers cannot be transferred, consumers must remove any existing ones and get the car inspected again after they buy it. It is recommended that you bring the vehicle to be inspected at a licensed inspection station of your choosing instead of allowing the dealer to do the inspection for you.