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Buying a used car

We work with the Massachusetts attorney general to educate consumers on a variety of topics. Find out how you're protected when buying a used car.

The Massachusetts Used Vehicle Warranty law protects consumers who buy used cars. It applies to dealers or private sellers. Under this law:

  • a dealer must give you a written warranty against safety defects, and
  • private sellers need to tell you about any defects or safety issues.

A seller can offer repairs, a refund, or a repurchase as a way to pay you back for a defective car, but not all vehicles or defects are eligible for a repurchase.

For more information, call the Consumer Affairs Hotline at 1-888-283-3757

Eligibility and Warranties

To be covered by the used car law, you must have:

  • bought the car from a dealer or private party in Massachusetts
  • bought the car from a Massachusetts dealer for more than $700.00, or
  • bought the car from a Massachusetts dealer, and it had less than 125,000 miles on it.

If your warranty is unknown, the law determines coverage by your car’s age:

  • Less than 40,000 miles: Warranty period is 90 days or 3,750 miles.
  • 40,000 to 79,999 miles:  Warranty period is 60 days or 2,500 miles.
  • 80,000 to 124,999 miles: Warranty period is 30 days or 1,250 miles.
  • 125,000 miles and more: There is no warranty period.

A private party doesn’t need to give you a warranty, but they do have to tell you about any defects before you buy the car. If they don't tell you about a known problem, you have 30 days to cancel the sale and get your money back.

You’re also protected under the Massachusetts Inspection law. When you buy a car, you must have it inspected at a registered station within seven days of you buying it.

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