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Mass. Senate Bill Enhances Wheelchair Warranty Protections

By Tom Marino | January 9, 2024
Last Updated: January 9, 2024

BOSTON – The Massachusetts State Senate has unanimously passed legislation that strengthens consumer protections for wheelchair users. Some provisions align Massachusetts law with current law in neighboring states.

The bill must be passed by the state House of Representatives before Governor Maura Healey has the option to sign it into law. A similar law was passed in 2022, but was not advanced in the House.

The bill, titled “An Act expanding wheelchair warranty protections for consumers with disabilities” (S.2541), has several key provisions for warranties and repair service for wheelchairs:

  • Mandatory Express Warranties: All wheelchairs sold or leased in Massachusetts must now come with express warranties. Previously, this requirement only applied to customized wheelchairs.
  • Extended Warranty Period: Extends the minimum warranty period for wheelchairs from one year to two years, aligning Massachusetts with states like Rhode Island and Connecticut.
  • Efficient Repair Process: Wheelchair service providers are required to remotely diagnose repair issues within three business days of notification from a consumer, followed by an in-person assessment within the next four business days.
  • Loaner Wheelchairs During Repairs: If a wheelchair user’s in-warranty chair is inoperable during repairs, manufacturers or dealers must reimburse or provide a loaner wheelchair within four business days for most wheelchairs, and within eight business days for highly customized models.
  • Coverage of Collateral Costs: The bill obligates manufacturers and dealers to cover all collateral costs incurred during the repair of in-warranty wheelchairs.
  • Simplified Process for Out-of-Warranty Repairs: For wheelchairs out of warranty, the legislation removes the requirement for consumers to obtain prior authorization for repairs under $1,000.
  • Legal Action Against Violations: The Attorney General’s office is empowered to take legal action against service providers who engage in unfair or deceptive business practices under these provisions.

This legislation has significant support from disability advocates throughout Massachusetts, including the Disability Law Center and Boston Center for Independent Living.

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