Neal Cammarano of Muzi Motors Chevrolet in Needham knows his customers, but a few months ago, he didn't know state employees posing as customers were on his lot.
"When I first saw the letter, obviously it caused concern, wondering what the issue was," he said.
A letter came from the state's Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, but there was no issue. Instead, it notified him his business was in full compliance with the state's Lemon Law.
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"That felt really good," Cammarano said.
As part of a recent undercover audit, inspectors visited dealerships in 40 cities and towns across the state, looking to see how many were displaying bright "Lemon Law" stickers on cars for sale, which is mandated by state law.
Of the more than 100 dealerships inspected, 39, including Muzi Motors, were 100 percent compliant. However, 13 dealerships had zero compliance, meaning not one vehicle on their lot had a sticker in its window.
The state sent letters to these dealerships, warning them to fix the problem - and that failure to do so could result in their city or town shutting them down.
"It doesn't matter if the sticker is there. The consumer has the rights just walking into the dealership when they are looking to purchase a car," John Chapman, undersecretary of the state's Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation office, said.
The state's Lemon Law is a protection for consumers if a car, either new or used, is found to be defective or unsafe, and that dealerships are required to make the car right.
Anna Stern has seen the law in action. She said a few years ago her son put money down on a used car that was in need of major repairs.
The matter went to court, and the judge sided with her son, citing the state's Lemon Law.
"You cannot sell a car that has problems that you did not disclose," she said.