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What to do if your car fails inspection and the seller won't refund your money

Sometimes the seller may not refund you for a car that failed inspection. If that happens, there are other options available.

Options if the seller does not refund your money

  • Try mediation: Mediation is an inexpensive and informal way to resolve your dispute without hiring an attorney and going to court. Contact the Attorney General's Office for mediation services.

  • Sue in court: For claims under $7,000, small claims court may be the least costly alternative. The Office of Consumer Affairs publishes information to help you learn more: Is Small Claims Court Right for You? Larger claims may be more suitable to District or Superior Court. You should seek legal advice for all claims.

If you paid for a title

Contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles Title Division. Explain that you are returning the vehicle to the seller under the Lemon Law and that you are requesting that a certificate of title be issued to you as soon as possible. When you receive the title, you should assign and transfer it back to the seller. If the seller refuses to accept the title, then send it by certified mail and retain a copy for your records.

If you paid sales tax and registration fees

Take the following steps immediately to request a rebate:

  • Sales tax: Fill out an abatement form available from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue Taxpayer Service Division.
  • Registration Fee: If you return your license plates within 10 days from the date you registered your car, you will receive a refund less a charge of $5. If you return your plates after this 10-day period, but within a "reasonable time," you will receive a partial rebate.


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