Ask the Experts: Lemon laws cover private sale of used cars
on November 03, 2013 at 6:52 AM, updated November 03, 2013 at 6:53 AM
Editor s note: This is the latest in a series of monthly columns that addresses readers questions on legal topics. Please send your questions to Ask the Experts, The Republican, P.O. Box 1329, Springfield, MA 01102-1329, or email to [email protected] with Ask the Experts in the subject line.
Q. Does the Lemon Law cover private sales of used cars?
A. Both the Lemon Aid Law (General Laws Chapter 90, Section 7N) and the Lemon Law (also known as the Used Vehicle Warranty Law) apply to the private sale of used cars.
Under the Lemon Aid Law, a buyer can void the purchase of a motor vehicle if the vehicle fails to pass a state inspection within seven days of the purchase, if the failed inspection is not a result of abusive or negligent operation of the motor vehicle or an accident or damage that occurred after the sale and if the costs of the repairs necessary to pass the inspection are more than 10 percent of the purchase price of the vehicle.
Under the Lemon Law, a private seller of a motor vehicle is required to inform buyers of any and all known defects, which impair the safety or substantially impair the use of the vehicle. If a buyer discovers such a defect and can show that the seller knew about the defect but failed to disclose it, then the buyer can cancel the sale within 30 days of the purchase, and the seller must refund the purchase price (minus 15 cents per mile driven since the purchase).
This response was prepared by Michael S. Gove, a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association s Business Law Section and Young Lawyers Division. Gove is an attorney with Gove Law Office in Northampton, where his practice focuses on assisting clients in the areas of corporate and business law, estate planning and administration, real estate matters and special education advocacy.
Q. When must an employer pay someone who has been terminated?
A. Losing your job is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. Emotions run high and it may be difficult to think clearly about whether your rights are being protected. This is especially true when it comes to wages.
In Massachusetts, the most important thing you should know is that when an employee is terminated the employer is required by law to pay that employee all earned wages owed to that employee, in full, on the day of discharge. If the employee leaves employment voluntarily, he or she is entitled to all earned wages on or before the employer s next regular pay day.
Although it seems simple enough, employers often misunderstand their obligations under the law. Under the Massachusetts Wage Act, wages are defined broadly and include all earned salary, whether the employee is salaried or hourly; all commissions that are due and payable; and all vacation and holiday time accrued through the final day of employment.
It is common for employers to miscalculate a salaried employee s rate of pay or hold back unused paid time off, including unused vacation, holiday pay or other forms of paid time off, depending on the system that is in place.
Even though employers are not legally required to offer vacation time to their employees, when they choose to do so, those vacation days earned through the date of termination become money owed. The same goes for any other type of accrued paid time off that the employer offers to its employees, either by policy or practice. That can include sick or personal time if the employer has a policy of paying its employees for unused time. It may also apply to employers who offer paid time off instead of the traditional sick-vacation-personal day system.
Another common mistake employers make is failing to pay or calculate earned commissions. When a company policy provides that certain commissions are earned following a certain occurrence, all such commissions constitute earned wages and must be paid in accordance with the law, regardless of a company policy that might provide that earned commissions be paid at a later date.
Finding a lawyer
If you need a lawyer, the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service can help. The Lawyer Referral Service will put you in touch with a professional qualified to handle your case.
If you want to speak with LRS directly: Call: (617) 654-0400; or toll free at (866) MASS LRS