South Carolina Lemon Law
The South Carolina lemon law was introduced in 1989 and protects new consumers from defective vehicles. Drivers must notify the manufacturer immediately if a defect is discovered and follow one of two repair procedures before the vehicle warranty expires. Residents of South Carolina have the right to fight an unsatisfactory result through the courts. Refunds and replacement vehicle are Issued to successful candidates. While used-car lemon law policies are not supported in South Carolina, additional warranty laws may protect used cars in similar situations.
What is the Lemon Law in South Carolina?
State lemon law policies only cover cars, vans and trucks bought in South Carolina. The law provides assistance to consumers with serious defects in newly purchased vehicles. A defect must be one that hinders the operation of the vehicle or the resale value. Defects caused by an accident or alteration are not eligible for a claim. Nor does the law protect consumers who change their mind about a purchase or cannot make their car payments. Federal lemon law allowances only cover vehicles with serious malfunctions protected by the manufacturer’s warranty.
In addition to the above requirements, the defect must be present within 12,000 miles of the purchase date or 12 months. Defects discovered after this time are not recognized under the law. Furthermore, the new car lemon law can only be utilized if the manufacturer has been given an opportunity to correct the issue.
Does the South Carolina Lemon Law apply to used cars?
The state’s lemon law definition for eligible vehicles only describes those that are newly purchased from a dealership. Therefore, used cars are not covered. In addition, a vehicle used for demonstration purposes at a dealership is considered new under the law.
How does the Lemon Law work in South Carolina?
If your vehicle is new, purchased in the state and is exhibiting an eligible defect, you may be entitled to a reimbursement or replacement vehicle. In order to receive benefits under the law, you must be able to prove that you have given the manufacturer an opportunity to repair the issue. Furthermore, the manufacturer needs to be informed of the defect within the lemon law warranty period. Once notified, the manufacturer will make an attempt the rectify the situation. The law only comes into play if the defect is unresolved after one of the following situations has occurred:
- A least three attempts have been made to repair the same defect; or
- The vehicle has been out-of-service for 30 days due to the defect.
These repairs are free to the consumer, but additional administrative costs may apply. The 30-day lemon law policy does not have to span consecutive days.
If the defect is unresolved, the consumer will either receive a full refund or a replacement vehicle. The lemon law buyback policy requires manufacturers to refund the full sale price to the consumer. The refund may also include vehicle registration fees and taxes. A small amount may be deducted from the refund to reflect the use of the vehicle between purchasing it and the first repair attempt. If the vehicle is replaced, a comparable make and model must be issued to the consumer.
State lemon law rules require any arbitration settlement procedures laid out by the manufacturer to be satisfied first. Informal dispute settlements must be free to the consumer. These settlements are typically reached within 40 days of being initiated. If you are not satisfied with the settlement, further legal action may be taken.
South Carolina Lemon Law Lawyers
If you decide to dispute the decision reached in previous settlements, you may bring your case to the South Carolina courts. This process may be time-consuming and require an in-depth knowledge of the law. Hiring a lemon law attorney will help you better understand the options in front of you and how to proceed. In some cases, attorney fees may be reimbursed if your claim is successful. Court cases are often bound by strict deadlines and procedures. An experienced lawyer will help you submit the correct paperwork in a timely manner and protect your claim from being rejected.
Additional New and Used Car Laws in South Carolina
South Carolina has other used car laws for similar instances. Consumers not protected by the lemon law may be covered by South Carolina’s sale and vehicle warranty laws. These laws uphold the rules that sellers, buyers and dealers are bound by. In addition, consumers are allowed to file complaints through the department of consumer affairs at any time.
How to Tell if Your New Car Is a Lemon in South Carolina
The lemon law eligibility requirements mentioned in previous sections must be met for a car to be classified as a lemon. Research vehicles before you make a purchase to ensure you get a safe and reliable vehicle during the car buying process. Examine the warranty agreement and check that any defects are covered under the law. If you believe your vehicle is eligible for a refund or replacement, you must keep any and all applicable repair records in order to file a claim. If you are experiencing a problem that affects the use, value or safety of your vehicle, you may have a lemon.