The North Carolina Lemon Law, also known as the New Motor Vehicles Warranties Act, applies to new passenger cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles and most vans purchased in the state of North Carolina. The law requires manufacturers of those vehicles to repair problems or defects that affect the use, safety or value of a new motor vehicle within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The North Carolina Lemon Law does not cover used vehicles, mopeds, house trailers or any motor vehicle purchased or leased before October 1, 2005 with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more, or was purchased or leased on or after October 1, 2005 that weighs more than 10,000 pounds.

Vehicles That May Be Covered Under North Carolina Lemon Law

Under the North Carolina Lemon Law, vehicles may be covered if all of the following have occurred:

–      The problem or defect occurs in some part of the vehicle that is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and the vehicle is still under warranty.

–      You advise the manufacturer about the problem in writing and allow the manufacturer or its authorized agent, the dealer, a reasonable amount of time to repair it, but not more than 15 days.

–      The manufacturer makes a reasonable number of attempts to fix the vehicle. Under North Carolina Lemon Law, this is considered to be four or more times to repair the same problem, or the vehicle has been out of service for a cumulative total of 20 or more business days during a 12-mont period of the warranty.

–      The manufacturer is unable to fix the problem. Under state lemon law, the manufacturer must either replace your vehicle or buy it back. As the customer, you have the option to choose between a comparable new car and a refund.

What Consumers are Entitled to Under North Carolina Lemon Law

Should your vehicle turn out to be a lemon, you are entitled to a refund of the full contract price, including but not limited to charges for undercoating, dealer-preparation and installed options, plus the nonrefundable 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 the dealer; any incidental damages, less a reasonable allowance for your use of the vehicle.

In the Case of Disputes

Many automobile manufacturers have a dispute resolution program for their customers with warranty problems.  Some of these programs require the customer to use the dispute resolution program prior to going to court.

The North Carolina Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, advised consumers to read their warranty for more information. Consumers may also wish to see if the Better Business Bureau’s dispute resolution service can help. Alternatively, consumers may wish to consider seeking advice from a private attorney.

If you have a complaint about new car warranties, contact the North Carolina Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or go to the website to learn about how to file a complaint.

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