Understanding The North Carolina Lemon Law, A Lemon Law Attorney’s Perspective
The North Carolina Lemon Law applies to new cars that suffer a nonconformity; a defect or condition, which substantially impairs the use or value of the vehicle; that cannot be repaired after four (4) attempts by an authorized manufacturer’s dealership. This nonconformity must first occur within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, you may still file a claim after the vehicle reaches 24,000 miles as long as you are within the applicable statute of limitations. The North Carolina Lemon Law also applies to new vehicles that are in the shop for repair twenty (20) or more cumulative business days during any 12-month period of the manufacturer’s warranty.
The NC Lemon Law only applies to vehicles that were purchased or leased new in the State of North Carolina. However, if you have a used vehicle that is giving you problems that can’t be repaired under a manufacturer’s warranty after a reasonable number of attempts, there are other laws that may apply.
If you meet the criteria for the NC Lemon Law, the law says that the manufacturer must accept return of the vehicle and give you a new one, or give you your money back (less an amount based on the mileage of the vehicle at a certain point in time.) The Lemon Law also provides that the manufacturer must pay your attorney’s fees if you prevail, and the manufacturer has failed or refused to comply with the Lemon Law.
In the last several years, our office has noticed a trend that has emerged in the way that automobile manufacturers and their authorized dealerships deal with “customers” with problem vehicles. Remember, the dealerships are the auto manufacturer’s “front line” of defense in Lemon Law Claims. The dealership personnel are trained and educated on the requirements of the lemon laws. There are many tricks and traps that are employed to deny you your rights under the law. As the consumer, you need to protect yourself and your rights well before a claim arises.
The Lemon Law can be confusing and is open to numerous interpretations. If you don’t understand how it works, you will most likely allow the auto manufacturers to take advantage of you. Our experience is that the auto manufacturers will minimize your problems and try to discourage you from pursuing your claim. Without the assistance of an attorney, you will most likely experience frustration and give up many of your rights.
Here are a few tips:
Always obtain and keep copies of the repair orders before and after each repair attempt.
Make sure the repair documentation is accurate, including dates the vehicle was dropped off and picked up for the repair, and the mileage on the vehicle at these times.
Make sure that the repair orders accurately describe your vehicle’s issues before you leave the vehicle for repair.
If the dealership says that they “cannot duplicate” your complaint (a red flag), make sure that you request a test drive with the service manager or shop foreman, so that you may demonstrate the problems that you are having with your vehicle, in order to assure that your issues are addressed, and not “blown off”.
If you feel that they are not repairing your vehicle in a timely fashion, or they are trying to ignore the issues that you are having with your vehicle, don’t try to negotiate with the dealership or the manufacturer on your own – contact a Lemon Law Attorney and ask for help.
Make sure to keep up with your vehicle’s recommended maintenance as outlined in your owner’s manual. If you don’t, the manufacturer will deny your claim.
If you are driving a defective vehicle and you think it might be a lemon, contact our office directly, or fill out our online “Lemon Law” claim form, to speak to an attorney right away. If you have a valid lemon law claim, the services of Soboleski Law, PC are at absolutely no cost to you.
Source by Sean Soboleski