Lemon Law in North Carolina
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In North Carolina, drivers are entitled to a refund or a replacement car if their new vehicle’s recurring problem is unable to be fixed after a reasonable number of attempts by the manufacturer. To qualify for lemon law coverage in North Carolina, cars must be new and covered under a warranty.
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Of course, anyone can have car trouble (hopefully you won’t), so read on to get acquainted with North Carolina’s lemon laws.
What is a lemon law?
Lemon laws are designed to protect drivers if they are dealing with a recurring defect on their vehicle, which remains unfixed even after a manufacturer’s multiple attempts to repair it.
In such a case, most lemon laws mandate a driver be compensated by either a refund or a replacement car, usually of a similar make and model.
Drivers’ lemon law rights don’t last forever—most provide coverage for a certain amount of time after delivery, or a certain number of miles driven, whichever comes first.
Key Takeaway Every state has a lemon law, but they don’t all cover the same thing—be sure to check out your state’s lemon laws.
MORE: Types of insurance
Is there a lemon law in North Carolina?
Yes, North Carolina’s lemon law covers new cars, pick-up trucks, motorcycles, and most vans bought in-state, under warranty for a period of 24 months after delivery, or within the first 24,000 miles driven, whichever comes first.
To qualify for lemon law protection, any problems or defects must be brought to the manufacturer’s attention within the specified timelines. To receive a refund or a replacement, the problem would need to be proven to impact the vehicle’s safety, use, or market value.
As well, the car needs to be under warranty, and the recurring problem must be covered under warranty as well to ensure lemon law coverage.
Is my defect covered under the lemon law?
In order for a defect to be covered under North Carolina’s lemon law, the manufacturer must have made at least four attempts to fix it, or it must be out of service for 20 or more business days within 12 months.
North Carolina is notable for having a strong lemon law that looks out for the best interests of the consumer, especially in comparison to other states. This is because any recurring issue—say, peeling paint, a faulty air conditioning system, or a constant whirring sound—may qualify you for lemon law coverage in North Carolina.
If the manufacturer is unable to fix even a minor recurring problem, consult with a lemon law attorney to determine if pursuing relief under the law is the best path forward.
Key Takeaway North Carolina’s lemon law is stricter than other states, so even minor recurring problems can be eligible for lemon law coverage.
Are used cars covered under the lemon law?
Used cars are not covered under North Carolina’s lemon law.
What about new cars?
Yes, North Carolina’s laws cover new cars, pick-up trucks, motorcycles, and most vans bought in the state.
How to pursue your lemon law rights in North Carolina
If you’re dealing with a problem with your new car, and are within North Carolina’s lemon law timeline, notify the manufacturer in writing about the issue.
If the problem remains after the manufacturer has had four attempts to fix the problem, you may be entitled to a refund or a replacement car, as per state law.
Make sure that you hang onto copies of your invoices and receipts from all of the repair work you had done on your vehicle.
If the manufacturer of your car has an arbitration process, you will have to try that out first before filing a claim in court. We suggest you go this route, as arbitration is faster and cheaper than going to court.
It is important to remember that the lemon law is complex, so it is advised to speak with a lawyer before pursuing relief under North Carolina’s lemon law. If your claim is valid, the manufacturer will end up paying your legal fees, not you.
Keep in mind that if you go the legal route, any small mistake on your part could hurt your case. Alternatively, it is possible for you to do everything right and still run into problems with your case.
Key Takeaway Consult a lawyer before pursuing relief under North Carolina’s lemon law, as the manufacturer might not take your claim seriously if you represent yourself.
Lemon law tips
Here are some tips to keep in mind when thinking about pursuing a lemon law case in North Carolina:
- In North Carolina, pursuing redress under the lemon law will demand you make a case—be sure to keep complete and accurate records of any repairs, determine if you are entitled to a mileage credit after said repairs, remember that small, recurring issues may be eligible for lemon law coverage.
- Remember, North Carolina’s lemon law is more generous than other states. If you're stuck with a car whose paint won’t stop peeling, or an air conditioning unit that won’t work properly after multiple repair attempts, you might be covered under the lemon law.
- As a rule of them, always take your car in for repair to the manufacturer, dealership, or repair facilities authorized by the dealer.
- Be sure to use the same language to describe a repeated problem with the vehicle, as lemon laws mostly apply to repairs needed to fix a single problem multiple times.
- If North Carolina’s lemon law does not apply in your case, you should look into the Federal Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act.
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