Lemon Law

The North Carolina Lemon Law is a consumer protection law enacted to provide recourse after having purchased a defective vehicle. The North Carolina Lemon Law is similar to lemon laws in other states, but there are some differences. North Carolina’s lemon law requires automobile manufacturers to repurchase or replace a vehicle that has not been properly repaired within a “reasonable number of attempts”. In North Carolina, this reasonable number is 4 attempts or if the car has been out of service waiting repair for a cumulative total of 20 or more business days during any 12-month period of the warranty.

The North Carolina Lemon Law gives relief to those who either buy or lease a vehicle that has a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or less. It covers cars, trucks, motorcycles and most vans. It does not cover, however, house trailers. The North Carolina Lemon Law covers any kinds of defects that impair the value, use or safety of the vehicle to the consumer. The defects does not have to affect the drivability of the car but could be problems such as defective paint, heating system or excessive noise. It is very important to read the warranty book that came with the new or leased vehicle carefully.

The warranty will tell you what is covered and for how long. When you buy or leased your vehicle, you probably will have to sign a lot of paperwork. It is important to read your copies of this paperwork very carefully to find out if the manufacturer wants you to waive your rights to a trial by jury in the case of problems and settle through arbitration instead. Arbitration is usually not in the best interest of the consumer in lemon law cases, so make sure you know what your rights are before you buy or lease.

READ IT ALL!!! Once you have purchased or leased a new vehicle that needs to be taken in for repairs, it is important that you start keeping records at this point, in case they are needed later. When taking your vehicle in to an authorized dealer for repairs, keep a detailed list of what needs to be repaired for yourself along with the dealer. Get repair orders for your vehicle and make sure they state all repairs and how long your vehicle was in the shop including dates and mileage.

The North Carolina Lemon Law requires the consumer to notify the manufacturer and finance company in writing of defects once a car has been out of service for 15 business days or has been sent in for repair for the same defect three times. This is extremely important. Without written notification to the manufacturer, you will not have a claim. Keep copies of all correspondence with the manufacturer and finance company. The best defense in a lemon law case is accurate facts and information in the form of records.