May 26, 2016

Massachusetts Vehicle Identification Numbers

The state of Massachusetts has a quite a few webpages dedicated to looking up motor vehicle history, VINs, and license plates. For example, if you are unsure of the status of your Massachusetts vehicle’s certificate of title or the accuracy of the lienholder information, the state of Massachusetts’ Registry of Motor Vehicles has a website for that purpose.

You can obtain the following information by checking with the RMV:

  • The date your certificate of title was issued;
  • To whom the certificate was (or will be mailed);
  • The name of the lienholder, if applicable; and
  • If the certificate of the title is an electronic title, if applicable.

Massachusetts of Registry Vehicles

Erin Deveney, Registrar of Motor Vehicles

P.O. Box 55889

Boston, MA 02205

Massachusetts-assigned Vehicle Identification Numbers contain the prefix “MA” followed by five digits. The Vehicle Identification Number is put on a pressurized decal with anti-tamper proof features and each decal has a control number. These VINs are issued for the following vehicles only:

  • Vehicles with a missing or destroyed vehicle identification number;
  • Vehicles with a new motor;
  • Replica vehicles;
  • Specially-constructed vehicles;
  • Street Rods;
  • Custom vehicles;
  • Glider kits;
  • Kit cars; and
  • Homemade trailers with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 3,000 pounds.

To make an appointment to get a Massachusetts-assigned VIN , you should call the Massachusetts State Police salvage title section. Before the appointment, the customer must visit a Registry Service Center location with the following documentation:

  1. A completed application for replacement of Vehicle Identification of Number;
    1. Fee for affixing a Massachusetts-assigned Vehicle Identification Number

At the time of the appointment, you should bring the following documentation to the inspection site:

  • Two (2) copies of the application for the replacement of the Vehicle Identification Number;
  • The original receipt of the payment of fees from the RMV Service Center;
  • Ownership documents, including:
    • Manufacturer’s certificate of origin if the kit is new;
    • Certificate of title if the vehicle is used or if chassis is used;
    • Receipts showing proof of the acquisition of all major component parts used to restore the vehicle. If the parts, the receipts must contain the Vehicle Identification Number of the vehicle from which the parts were taken.

Massachusetts-assigned VINs are assigned and affixed to the vehicles by the state police at any Massachusetts salvage inspection site by appointment only. The police will inspect the vehicle to ensure that the parts are not from stolen vehicles and that the vehicle is eligible for a Massachusetts-assigned Vehicle Identification Number.

Checking The Status Of A Vehicle In Massachusetts

To Check The Registration Status Of A Vehicle In Massachusetts

Replace Your Vehicle’s Certificate Of Title

Registry of Motor Vehicles for the State of Massachusetts:

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles

Massachusetts Vehicle Identification Numbers

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Locations

Application For Replacement of Vehicle Identification Number

VIN Replacement Application

Schedule of Fees

Affixation of sticker on the vehicle by the Massachusetts State Police:

Massachusetts State Police

Application for a Duplicate Certificate of Title (FORM T20558)

Why should you run a VIN Check in Massachusetts?

Those in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can have a VIN check run online as long as you have the VIN number of the vehicle in question. This will also give you the history of a car, boat, truck, or RV. One of the best and most thorough vehicle history report companies is the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). NMVTIS is often used by salvage and junk yards and provides information such as:

  • Current State of Title and Last Title Date – this helps to verify the validity of the title;
  • Brand History – Brands are used as descriptive labels of a motor vehicle, such as “junk,” “salvage,” and “flood.” NMVTIS keeps a history of the brands that have been applied to vehicles in every state which helps consumers from purchasing a vehicle which has been damaged but has been offered for sale without disclosing the true condition of the vehicle. This can not only cost the customer more money in the beginning as the value of the car will be higher, but could also be unsafe if it has not be repaired adequately;
  • Odometer Information – odometer fraud is a crime in which the odometer is “rolled back” so that it appears that the car has fewer miles on it than it actually does. This increases the market value of the car and may cause a customer to purchase an unsafe car due to a higher number of miles on the car than they thought. Furthermore, checking the odometer reading during every title change helps consumers identify discrepancies in the history of the vehicle;
  • Why is total loss information important to consumers? – When a vehicle has been declared a total loss, the vehicle has sustained severe damage. Despite repairs that may have been performed on the vehicle it may still be unsafe to drive and may end up costing you quite a bit financially down the road; and
  • Why is salvage information important to consumers? – When a vehicle has a salvage history then chances are that it has spent time in a junk yard or a salvage yard, as it has been damaged greatly. Salvage yards are perfect places for thieves to either steal the VIN of a “totaled” car or to obtain parts from a car which has been deemed totaled.

In the case of salvage vehicles, the owner or the insurance company must apply for a salvage title. A vehicle with a salvage repairable title cannot be registered until the vehicle has passed the salvage inspection. Remember, the salvage title is permanent and a salvage vehicle can never be issued a clear title. There are exemptions from the salvage process, which include:

  • A vehicle owned by the U.S. (unless it is registered under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90;)
  • A vehicle moved solely by animal power;
  • Special mobile equipment;
  • Trailers;
  • Passenger vehicles 10 or more years old at the time loss; and
  • Manufactured homes (See Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, 32Q.)

The state of Massachusetts uses VinCheck, which is a free service provided to the public by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. It helps to determine if a car has been reported as stolen, but not recovered or if has been reported as a salvage vehicle by the one of the companies working with the NICB. It is free for the public to search for a maximum of five (5) searches within a 24-hour period per IP address.

Some of the information that a VINCheck vehicle history checks and title report will tell you include information such as:

  • Current State of Title Information;
  • Historical Title Information;
  • Disclosure of Brand History on Title:
    • Flood;
    • Salvage;
    • Odometer Rollback;
    • 61 Possible Problem Events.
  • Odometer Information;
  • Information on Previous Accidents – around six million car accidents are reported annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
  • Open Lien/Loan Information Including: Issuing Financial Information;
  • To check and see if the vehicle has been previously declared a lemon;
  • If there have been any airbag deployments;
  • Impound & Towing Events;
  • Active Theft Data
  • In some cases, the title may be detailed enough to give you history on maintenance on the car; and
  • To check and see if the vehicle has been reported stolen and not been recovered.

There are other companies which perform vehicle history and VIN checks, some are free while others cost money; although the money it could save you in the long term would be well worth the initial cost for the check.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, 32Q:

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, 32Q

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

National Insurance Crime Bureau:


Title/Lien Inquiry Introduction from the Official Website of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles:

Title/Lien Inquiry – Introduction

Massachusetts License Plate Lookup

Lemon Laws in Massachusetts

Designed to protect consumers from falling victim to faulty vehicles and the financial burden that often accompanies car repairs, “lemon laws” were designed to protect buyers from purchasing new or used vehicles, which have substantial defects and/or are unsafe to be driven on Massachusetts roads.

The Lemon Law of Massachusetts is administered by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The complete text of the law can be found at General Laws Chapter 90, Section 7N ½. The Lemon Law in Massachusetts has three parts:

  1. New and leased vehicles;
  2. Used vehicles; and
  3. Lemon-Aid.

The Lemon Law in Massachusetts only covers motor vehicles and motorcycles sold, leased, or replaced by a dealer or manufacturer. The law covers used vehicles sold or leased within the term of protection, but does not cover auto homes, vehicles built primarily for off-road use, or any vehicle which is primarily used for business purposes. These laws exist to protect consumers, who purchase a vehicle which has a substantial defect that the manufacturer is unable to repair. This defect must impair one of the following:

  • The ability to use the vehicle;
  • The car’s market value; or
  • The safety of the vehicle.

The vehicle is under lemon law protection for one (1) year or 15,000 miles from the date that the consumer took ownership of the vehicle. During this time period, the following must occur for your car to qualify as a lemon:

  • You have taken the vehicle in for repair for the same defect on three (3) or more attempts and the problem still exists; OR
  • The total time spent trying to repair the defective vehicle is equal to 15 business days or more, which need not be consecutive.

If the car continues to have problems after the manufacturer or dealer has made a reasonable number of attempts to repair it, you must give the manufacturer a final chance to repair the defect. This attempt cannot exceed more than seven (7) business days. Even if the one (1) year or 15,000 miles have passed you can still notify the manufacturer and give them the opportunity to fix the car.

If the defect continues after the final attempt then you have the right to EITHER:

  • A refund; OR
  • A replacement vehicle of comparable value.

Massachusetts is one of the few states with a “Used Lemon Law.” This covers both sales between car dealers and sales between private parties. The lemon law for used cars affects:

  • Is sold by a dealer in Massachusetts or a private party;
  • Costs at least $700; OR
  • Has 125,000 miles or less on the odometer at the time of the sale.

Used car dealers must provide a warranty for up to 90 days and 3,750 miles which means that the dealer is required to repair any defect which impairs the use or safety of the vehicle during the warranty period. This does not cover any problems that are caused by negligence or that the consumer has caused by making alterations to the car. The dealer does have the right to charge a $100 deductible for making any repairs or can re-purchase the car for the full purchase price rather than making the repairs; however, the dealer can only charge the $100 for the deductible if it is written into the contract. Private party sellers must inform the buyer of any defects which could impair the use or the safety of the vehicle. If they do not, and the buyer discovers a serious defect after the sale and they can prove the seller knew about the defect, the buyer can cancel the sale and request a full refund within the first 30 days after purchase.

Lemon-Aid is when a newly purchased car – whether it is new, leased, or used –fails to pass inspection within the first seven (7) days after the purchase and the repairs to fix the car would exceed 10% of the purchase price. In such a case the buyer can cancel the purchase or lease and request a full refund under the “Lemon-Aid” portion of the Lemon Law.

To be eligible for a refund, you must:

  • Get a written statement from the inspection explaining why the car failed to pass the inspection;
  • Get a written estimate of the cost of repairs that would be required to pass the inspection, showing that the costs would be greater than 10% of the purchase price of the car;
  • Notify the seller of your intention to void the contract under the terms of the Lemon-Aid Law;
    • You must deliver this intention to void the contract by mail and certified mail is always a wise choice;
    • Enclose a copy of the documents listed above; and
    • Save a copy of all documents for your files.
  • Bring the car back to the seller, even if that requires towing, but bring a witness as well as copies of the documents that you previously sent.
  • If the seller refuses to accept the car, you should prepare a written statement stating that you and the witness intended to deliver the car to the seller on that date; however, the seller refused to accept the car.
    • Make sure that the document is signed by both you and the witness and that it is notarized.

If the defect is not fixed or if the manufacturer refuses to comply then there are channels you can go through:

  • Mediation – when the two parties agree to meet with a facilitator in order to reach a mutual agreement;
  • Arbitration – when both parties present the evidence to a neutral third party who then makes a decision.
    • In arbitration, you can choose either a state-run arbitration program or a manufacturer-sponsored arbitration.
  • If neither mediation nor arbitration works then you can always go to court to try and resolve the problems and get back your money.

Better Business Bureau AUTO LINE

Email for the Massachusetts Attorney General: AGInfo@azag.gov

DMV.org info on the Massachusetts lemon laws

Chart from the state of Massachusetts for lemon laws:

Lemon Laws

Chart from the state of Massachusetts for lemon laws for used cars:

Used Car Lemon Law

Information On The Massachusetts Lemon Law For Used Cars

Information on “Lemon-Aid” in Massachusetts

Do you need a lemon law attorney in the state of Massachusetts?

No, you don’t need to hire an attorney for a lemon law case in Massachusetts, but there are benefits to having one.

  • The manufacturer will have experts on their side and you should have experts on your side as well;
  • Lemon Law Attorneys specialize in lemon laws and consumer rights and are more knowledgeable than you would be alone;
  • A lemon law attorney can help to speed up the process;
  • Attorneys can help you remember which papers are needed and when there is a deadline to be met;
  • Having an attorney gives you more bargaining power and makes you appear more professional.

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
Department of Motor Vehicles
Watertown Mall
550 Arsenal St
1 800-858-3926

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
Department of Motor Vehicles
10 Plain St
1 857-368-8000

Massachusetts Registry Of Motor Vehicles
Department of Motor Vehicles
Winthrop Ave
1 800-858-3926

Department of Motor Vehicles
14 Beach St
1 857-368-8000

Wilmington RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
355 Middlesex Ave
1 857-368-8000

Department of Motor Vehicles
18 Miner St
1 857-368-8000

Registry of Motor Vehicles
Department of Motor Vehicles
77 Middlesex St
1 857-368-8000

Registry of Motor Vehicles Worcester
Department of Motor Vehicles
611 Main St
1 857-368-8000

Southbridge RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Larochelle Way
1 857-368-8000

RMV Boston
Department of Motor Vehicles
136 Blackstone St
1 857-368-8000

The Registry of Motor Vehicles
Department of Motor Vehicles
355 Middlesex Ave
1 857-368-8000

Danvers RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
Liberty Tree Mall
100 Independence Way
1 877-623-6846

Registry of Motor Vehicles
Department of Motor Vehicles
9 Everett St
1 877-623-6846

Pittsfield RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
333 East St
1 857-368-8000

Taunton Registry of Motor Vehicles
Department of Motor Vehicles
Taunton Mall
1 Washington St
1 877-623-6846

Lawrence RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
73 Winthrop Ave
1 857-368-8000

Plymouth RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
40 Industrial Park Rd
1 857-368-8000

Leominster Rmv
Department of Motor Vehicles
80 Erdman Way
1 857-368-8000

Department of Motor Vehicles
1794 N Main St
1 857-368-8000

Haverhill RMV
Driver’s License Office
4 Summer St
1 857-368-8000

Attleboro DMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
75 Park St
1 800-858-3926

Revere RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
9 Everett St
1 857-368-8000

South Yarmouth Registry of Motor Vehicles
Department of Motor Vehicles
1084 Route 28
1 857-368-8000

Mass Dot
State Government Office
270 Main St
1 413-637-5700

New Bedford RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
278 Union St
1 800-858-3926

North Adams RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
33 Main St
1 857-368-8000

Marthas vineyard RMV
Registry Office
11 A St

Nantucket RMV
Department of Motor Vehicles
16 Broad St
1 800-858-3926

MASS. RMV Lawyers
Legal Services
161 Worcester Rd #200
1 508-656-0057

Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza #4160
1 857-368-4636

CDL Testing Site
Department of Motor Vehicles
14 Chocksett Rd

Comments 0