North Carolina Lemon Law FAQs

FAQs About Your Lemon Law Rights

What types of defects are covered by lemon laws?

Most state lemon laws cover vehicles with a defect or non-conformity that substantially impairs the ...

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Most state lemon laws cover vehicles with a defect or non-conformity that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. Every situation is unique and a defect that you might not ordinarily think is substantial, might very well be depending on how it affects you.

For instance, even something that is seemingly as minor as the illumination of a light on your dashboard might signify a larger problem. Or, something like a brake squeak might be substantial if it affects your use and enjoyment of the vehicle. And the federal Lemon Law applies to all warrantied defects, regardless of their effect on the vehicle.

FAQs About Your Lemon Law Rights

What is a ‘lemon’?

For a vehicle to be considered a lemon, it must meet certain requirements. While each state is diffe...

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For a vehicle to be considered a lemon, it must meet certain requirements. While each state is different, there are some general things that hold true across the board. At the most basic level, the vehicle needs to have some type of defect or non-conformity. And under most state laws, the defect must be covered by a warranty and be reported to the manufacturer within a specific timeframe and mileage limit.

However, the defect alone does not classify your vehicle as a lemon. Usually, the manufacturer must try and fail to repair the defect multiple times before the vehicle earns that distinction.

FAQs About Your Lemon Law Rights

What is a Lemon Law buyback?

If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, the manufacturer will often be required to return the vehicle ...

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If your vehicle qualifies as a lemon, the manufacturer will often be required to return the vehicle and issue a refund. This is known as a Lemon Law buyback. The refund typically amounts to the full purchase price, with all taxes, fees, and financing charges, minus a usage fee.

The applicable state Lemon Law should define the maximum manufacturers can withhold as a usage fee. Many state lemon laws calculate the maximum usage fee based on the purchase price of the vehicle and the mileage driven before the first repair attempt. But every state is different. Thus, contacting a knowledgeable and experienced Lemon Law attorney is the most effective way to protect your rights.

The Federal Lemon Law

The North Carolina Lemon Law is unusually broad, providing a high level of protection to North Carolina car buyers. However, federal law goes further, providing additional protection in some areas. Unlike the North Carolina Lemon Law, the Federal Lemon Law (known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act), provides protection for the entire length of the warranty period. The Federal Lemon Law also goes beyond state law to extend protection to virtually any consumer product, including vehicles of all kinds, electronics, and other household goods.

What the Manufacturer Must Do

Unfortunately, manufacturers’ efforts to fix “lemons” often fail. When this happens, the manufacturer is required by the North Carolina Lemon Law to either replace your car or buy it back (providing you with a full refund). And unlike in some states, in North Carolina you, not the manufacturer who sold you a “lemon,” get to decide whether you will receive a refund or a new car. If you select a refund, the manufacturer must pay you the full price you paid including fees for services such as undercoating and other options, extended warranty and service contract fees, sales tax, government fees such as license and registration fees, finance charges, and even some other expenses (less an amount determined under the law to reflect your use of the car while you owned it).

Some manufacturers have arbitration or mediation programs in place to resolve disputes. Although the North Carolina Lemon Law does not require you to submit to these programs before suing, your manufacturer’s warranty may require you to do so. An experienced North Carolina Lemon Law attorney at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® can help you to determine whether such a program exists, whether you must participate in it and how best to get relief under federal and state laws.

North Carolina Lemon Law

The North Carolina Lemon Law covers new passenger cars purchased in North Carolina. It also applies to pick-up trucks, motorcycles and most vans bought in the state. Generally, the North Carolina Lemon Law states that manufacturers must fix problems or defects which effect the car’s use, value, or safety. Unlike many states, which do not extend their lemon laws to cover anything but serious problems, the North Carolina Lemon Law extends to virtually all issues covered by the manufacturer’s warranty – including such “minor” issues as peeling paint, radio problems or air conditioning defects.

To be covered, however, a problem must occur within the first twenty-four (24) months after purchase or the first 24,000 miles of use, whichever comes first. The defect must be covered by the warranty issued by the manufacturer, and the car must be within the warranty period.

In order to get relief under the North Carolina Lemon Law, you must first give the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem. This generally means that the manufacturer has tried to fix the problem, and failed, four (4) or more times or that the car has been out of service for twenty (20) business days for service during a single year, even if those days are not consecutive. If the problems still persist or re-occur after the manufacturer’s reasonable attempt, then the consumer must provide the manufacturer with written notice, and one (1) final chance of no more than fifteen (15) days, to restore the car to warranty condition. If the manufacturer fails to do so, then it has violated the North Carolina Lemon Law and the purchaser may seek relief.

Contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney today!

Call Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® or submit your information to us online to see if you qualify under the North Carolina lemon law right or the Federal Lemon Law. You could be entitled to a refund, a replacement vehicle or cash compensation for your “lemon.” Over 99% of our cases settle without going to trial and we work to get your case settled as quickly as possible.

We work with North Carolina attorneys associated with Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® in an “of-counsel” relationship to handle lemon law claims for consumers in North Carolina. We stay informed of the newest legal developments so you can get the best results for your lemon law claim.

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