Thinking of Buying a Used Car-choose Massachusetts over Rhode Island !

Massachusetts has Much Better Consumer Protection Laws!

Massachusetts has Much Better Consumer Protection Laws!

I hate to be so cynical, but I am continually amazed at the constant flow of clients that have been ripped off during the purchase of a used car.  This area of my practice is booming.  It is not surprising, especially when the profit margins for dealers are so high in the used car market.  I used to think that only the small guys sold bad used vehicles and that if you avoided these corner lot vendors that you would be safe. However, the big box dealers are just as bad and probably sell more of these lemons.  They buy tons of them at auctions.  They clean them, fix only some of the problems, and spray paint the undercarriage so the vehicle imperfections are masked from the unsuspecting consumer. So you are thinking about buying a used car. Should you purchase it in Rhode Island or travel to nearby Massachusetts? In my opinion, the choice is simple, always choose Massachusetts. Now I am sure my comments will not be well received by Rhode Island economic leaders on Smith Hill. However, there is simply no comparison between the laws of both states. Massachusetts has an extremely efficient and well utilized  arbitration process administered through the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. They do a great job in resolving used vehicle consumer disputes. But most importantly, Massachusetts has one of the best pre- dispute consumer protection statutes in the country. In Massachusetts, an aggrieved consumer who feels that they were somehow cheated or defrauded in relation to a used car purchase can outline their problems in writing and send correspondence to the dealer proposing a reasonable settlement to resolve the concern. The dealer has a duty and obligation to respond to the consumer’s complaint in writing.  If they fail to respond and propose a reasonable resolution and you ultimately prevail on your claim in court, then the dealer may be required to pay you treble damages and attorneys fees. This statute totally shifts the dynamic when a consumer voices a complaint.  In Rhode Island the dealer will jerk you around and typically ignore you. In Massachusetts you at least get a response to your grievance and if it is not a good one then they ultimately pay for it in Court!  Fortunately I handle these types of cases in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Christopher M. Lefebvre Esquire 1/12/2016

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