North Carolina Lemon Law

North Carolina Lemon Law – Do you have a case?

The manufacturer must be allowed to make a “reasonable” amount of repair attempts to your vehicle before you can seek compensation. Here are the stipulations under the NC laws:

  • One repair attempt: If your car’s defect creates a severe safety concern, such as faulty brakes, your dealer or car manufacturer may attempt to fix the issue. If the problem remains unfixed after one repair attempt, you should contact a lawyer.
  • Three repair attempts: If your car’s defect is substantial but doesn’t present a severe safety risk, your dealer or car manufacturer may attempt to repair the vehicle four times. If the issue remains unfixed after four repair attempts, you have a claim.
  • Length of car repair: If your car is in the shop for 20 days in one calendar year to repair one or more substantial defects, you can file.

Summary of the Statute

The North Carolina Lemon Law is a comprehensive statute that protects consumers against lemons. A “lemon” is a new car with either one major defect or a series of recurring problems that render the car unfixable. Lemon laws were enacted across various states in the United States to protect consumers and give them peace of mind when making an expensive car purchase.

The Lemon Law in NC gives consumers the legal power to hold auto manufacturers accountable for cars that don’t conform to the terms of their written warranty. In some cases, consumers should receive a full refund. Meaning that consumers don’t need to put up with a defective vehicle but can instead walk away from the situation as if the purchase never took place.

Similar to many other legal provisions, the NC Lemon Law includes specific stipulations that can be confusing and complex to understand. This article provides an overview of the statute and the requirements to qualify for a claim. This article identifies the remedies available under the statute and explains how to seek compensation under the law. The goal of this piece is to inform you and other consumers of the protections afforded to you, potentially saving you a significant amount of time and money.

North Carolina Lemon Law – Definition

A lemon is a new car with serious problems that render it inoperable. It can also refer to a new vehicle with diminished due to severe pain, which the dealer or manufacturer cannot fix within the designated timeframe.

NC Lemon Law Qualifications

North Carolina is unique in that the statute only applies to new vehicles. The statute covers drivers whose brand-new vehicles suffer a nonconformity or substantial defect within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. The car must have been to a manufacturer-approved shop between one and three times.

What is a substantial defect?

It’s important to note that not all defects or problems with a car will qualify under the statute. To be covered, a defect must be substantial. It must be a warranty-covered problem that affects a car’s use, value, or safety. A significant defect could include faulty brakes or steering, not a loose radio knob or loose carpet mat. A substantial defect does not cover a defect caused by abuse or alteration you’ve made to the car. Sometimes, the line between what is considered a minor defect and a substantial defect is a fine line. It’s always a good idea to consult a legal professional to assist you with your case.

NC Lemon Law – Remedies

The statute requires the manufacturer to repair any defect or problem covered under the vehicle’s warranty if you notify the manufacturer within the designated timeframe. Here are the complete remedies, according to the State of North Carolina:

  • The full contract price including, but not limited to, charges for undercoating, dealer-preparation and installed options, plus the non-refundable portions of extended warranties and service contracts.
  • All upfront charges, including but not limited to, sales tax, license and registration fees.
  • All finance charges you incurred after you first reported the problem to the manufacturer, or authorized dealer.
  • Any incidental damages, less a reasonable allowance for your use of the vehicle. 

Under the law, the refund is reduced by a “reasonable allowance” for your use of the vehicle. The following formula is used to calculate the refund:

Amount to be Refunded = Purchase Price  –   (Number of miles driven by the consumer  X  Purchase Price)


What should you do if you become aware of a problem with your car?

If you become aware of a problem or defect with your vehicle, complete the following steps:

  1. Immediately report any defect or “condition” either directly to the manufacturer or its authorized dealer. Suppose the consumer reports the problem to the dealer. In that case, the statute requires the dealer to forward written notice to the manufacturer within seven days.
  2. Keep careful records of all complaints and copies of all work orders, repair bills, and correspondence.
  3. Follow the proper protocols for filing a lemon law claim in North Carolina. It is recommended to hire a lawyer to fight your case. The statute allows a consumer to recover all attorney fees with their claim. Dealing with the lemon law yourself can be time consuming.

While it is possible to apply yourself, most people are better off hiring a lawyer. A qualified attorney will handle all paperwork for you and cost you nothing. Additionally, a good law firm will take all expenses for the case and receive compensation for them after the case. This is known as a contingency fee.

Contact a Lawyer Now..