North Carolina Lemon Law
The North Carolina lemon law is a form of consumer protection for owners of newly purchased vehicles. There is no used car lemon law in North Carolina, though some vehicles that are bought used that are still under their manufacturer warranties may qualify.
Many North Carolina vehicle owners choose to hire a lemon law attorney when they realize that they have purchased a defective vehicle, though this is not a necessary step to file for reimbursement.
For most consumers, the process starts by filing a formal complaint with the manufacturer or licensed dealer who sold the vehicle.
The car lemon law in North Carolina can only commence after the vehicle owner has already been attempted to be repaired a reasonable number of times.
Once the vehicle owner has met the necessary state requirements to have the vehicle deemed a lemon, he or she can request to receive a refund of the original purchase price or a replacement vehicle of equal or higher value.
Read on for more information about dealing with defective vehicles in North Carolina.
What is the Lemon Law in North Carolina?
While all states have some form of consumer protection laws, the lemon law definition in North Carolina is primarily concerned with offering coverage to owners of new vehicles still under warranty for issues that are explicitly covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee.
Consumers should be aware that issues that can result in a lemon law buyback in North Carolina do not necessarily have to be serious enough to prevent the use of the car, as long as they go against the standards laid out in the warranty.
Problematic air conditioning in a vehicle, for example, could result in reimbursement even if the vehicle is still drivable.
Although there is no 30 day lemon law for used cars in North Carolina, even owners of new vehicles have to be careful to adhere to state reporting deadlines to take advantage of consumer protection policies.
According to state and federal lemon law, manufacturers or car dealers must have the opportunity to attempt a reasonable number of times to repair an issue before it can be used to deem the car a lemon. In most cases, reasonable attempts refer to:
- Trying to repair the same issue at least four times.
- Having the vehicle out of service for 20 cumulative days, or more in a 12-month period, while under warranty.
Does the North Carolina Lemon Law apply to used cars?
The guidelines discussed above refer to the new car lemon law and vehicle owners who have a vehicle that is still under its manufacturer’s original warranty. Unfortunately, used car laws do not offer the same type of protection for owners of used vehicles in North Carolina.
Unless a vehicle was purchased while still under its manufacturer’s original warranty, the vehicle owner will not receive protection under this law. Some new vehicles are not eligible either, including those weighing over 10,000 pounds.
How does the Lemon Law work in North Carolina?
The NC state lemon law can be invoked after a vehicle owner has proved that he or she qualifies as a buyer, and that his or her vehicle qualifies as a lemon.
NC consumers should note that for the lemon law warranty to kick in, they must alert the manufacturer or licensed car seller to the issue, and allow the party at least 15 days to attempt to fix it. A qualified buyer is considered anyone who:
- Purchased the vehicle for personal use.
- Leased the vehicle from a manufacturer or dealer.
- Is entitled to rights under the manufacturer’s warranty.
To fall under the jurisdiction of the car lemon law, vehicle owners must submit the request for repairs and a complaint. This must be done under one of the following circumstances:
- Is still under its manufacturer’s warranty
- Is within one year of its delivery date to the vehicle owner
- It has been used for under 12,000 miles
Once a vehicle has been declared defective, the owner can initiate a lemon law buyback procedure to get reimbursed for the original purchase price of the vehicle, or to receive a new vehicle of equal value.
The NC lemon law covers most charges incurred at the time of purchase, including additional charges, like those added for paint jobs, dealer or financer preparation, installed software and other non-refundable portions of the warranty or service contract.
This amount will be reduced by a “reasonable allowance” for use, and any damage not connected to the issue at hand. Vehicle owners who do not agree with the refund calculation often turn to legal counseling for help in resolving the situation.
North Carolina Lemon Law Lawyers
Dealing with a lemon law buyback is a stressful experience for everyone, especially those vehicle owners who are unfamiliar with the legal system in North Carolina, or are unaware of their rights as consumers.
Seeking the advice of a lemon law attorney can make all the difference for vehicle owners who are unsure how to proceed with a defective vehicle.
An experienced lemon car law lawyer can help concerned consumers take the necessary steps to get their vehicles declared as lemons without losing any paperwork or forgetting to contact anyone.
In many cases, lawyers in this sector work are on a commission scheme that allows consumers to only have to pay for their legal advice if their case moves forward.
Lemon vehicle law attorneys in North Carolina can also be a big help to owners of lemons that are having a hard time getting fair compensation for their vehicles.
Because the lemon law buyback calculation used to decide the reimbursement amount includes several different factors, some vehicle owners find themselves being offered a refund that is much less than they expected.
Hiring an experienced lawyer can sometimes help vehicle owners earn thousands of dollars more for a lemon than they would have been able to negotiate on their own.
For most drivers in North Carolina, finding a good lawyer begins with some online research, and ends by asking around for advice from local friends and neighbors.
How to Tell if Your New Car Is a Lemon
Being able to pick out which vehicles will fit the lemon law definition before purchase is nearly impossible – thus the creation of the federal lemon law to establish a basic form of protection for vehicle owners across the country.
Because many lemon law warranty issues that ultimately result in a vehicle being deemed a lemon only appear after the vehicle has been significantly used, the best thing consumers can do to preemptively avoid purchasing a lemon is a bit of research.
Consumers should look into which vehicles have a history of defects, and watch out for some of the most common weak points in new vehicles, which can include the following:
- Gas and mileage defects
- Electrical system defects
- Engine defects
- Shifting defects
- Steering defects