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Almost all states in the US have a lemon law. For instance, North Carolina lemon law legally known as New Motor Vehicles Warranties Act was enacted to protect consumers against faulty vehicles. This law only covers new vehicles, but not used cars. To qualify for protection under this law, your vehicle must meet the following criteria:
- The defect must be serious and that it impacts the vehicle’s safety, use or resale value
- The manufacturer must have attempted to fix the defects for more than 4 times
- The vehicle must have been out of service for 20 days or more
- The defect must occur during the first 12 months of purchase.
Under North Carolina lemon law, the manufacturer is required to replace the vehicle or refund the money equivalent to the purchase price.
Vehicles defined as seriously defective
The vehicle that is defined as seriously defective must have a fault that keeps on recurring after a reasonable number of repair attempts. The said fault must be serious enough to impair its safety, use or market value. If there are serious problems with air conditioning, heat or paint, the vehicle can still be considered a lemon. This law does not lack its limitations. The said defect on your new vehicle must have occurred within or up to 24,000 miles covered or the first two years of ownership.
How to Get Justice under North Carolina lemon law
After your vehicle gets a defect, you must immediately report it to the manufacturer for repair. The manufacturer will try to repair the defects. If the problem keeps on recurring, you can write to the manufacturer asking them to have a final repair attempt. The manufacturer will have up to 15 days from the day of notice to fix the problem. If the problem is not fixed within this period, you can now go ahead to request your refund or vehicle replacement. Under North Carolina lemon law, the manufacturer is required to put this information in the manual given to owners after vehicle purchase. In fact this manual must contain the manufacturer’s contact information in case you want to get in touch with them after the vehicle purchase.
Filing a complaint
In most cases, your vehicle manufacturer may make it hard for you after asking them to refund your money or replace your vehicle. If this is the case, you must give them a written notice before filing your complaint at the office of the Attorney General or in a civil court. Reputable manufacturers will take this issue seriously since they want to maintain their good reputation. If your manufacturer fails to resolve the issue with you, you can hire a qualified lemon law attorney to argue your case in court. If the case is decided in your favor and the manufacturer choose to repurchase the car, you can get the full contract price including registration fees, sales tax and other fees that you might have spent on the vehicle. If you choose a replacement vehicle as compensation, your car dealer or manufacturer must replace the vehicle with a similar one. For more information regarding North Carolina lemon law, visit the Attorney General’s Office or consult your attorney.