How to Identify a Lemon?

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Most vehicle owners have heard that there is a lemon law in North Carolina, but few of them know how to determine whether their vehicles would qualify for relief.  As is usually the case, there is not always a simple answer to that question.  Our experienced lemon law attorneys will always to review your vehicle’s history to see if you might be able to pursue a claim, whether under the North Carolina lemon law or other related laws.  To simplify the question as much as possible, we are interested in reviewing your vehicle’s report records if it was purchased or leased new (or used but it was still under warranty when you bought or leased it), and: 

  • it has been repaired at least 3 times for the same problem, OR
  • it has been in the shop for repairs for a total of 30 days or longer, OR
  • it has been repaired at least 8 times total for the same problem or different problems.

The easiest way to determine if your North Carolina vehicle is a “lemon” is to talk to one of our experienced lemon law attorneys by calling us at (877) 846-1209, or fill out our form for a free lemon case review.  Even if you think your vehicle does not qualify under the North Carolina lemon law, you have nothing to lose by calling us, except of course for that lemon you are driving.  The above rules are not absolute, they are only generalizations, and there are other laws which we may be able to use to pursue a claim for your defective vehicle or consumer product.  Our review of your situation is always free, even if you do not ultimately become our client.

TYPES OF VEHICLES COVERED:

The North Carolina lemon law applies to all “motor vehicles” as defined by state law, which were sold or leased in North Carolina, except for house trailers and vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds.  It must have been purchased or leased as “new,” meaning it has never been supplied to another consumer, or the manufacturer advertised it for sale as “new.”  However, if you bought or leased a used car which came with a warranty, you may still qualify for relief under the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.  This federal law covers all consumer products which were priced more than $10 and which came with some sort of warranty.  The Warranty Act is most commonly used for motor vehicle cases, but the lemon law lawyers at Luxenburg & Levin have handled cases for clients under the Warranty Act which involved motor homes, campers, travel trailers, boats of many different sizes, personal watercraft (e.g. Jet-Ski’s), computers, washer/dryer sets, refrigerators, televisions and many other consumer products.  

Business vehicles are often excluded unless you use it as your personal vehicle as well.  However, our lemon law attorneys have handled many cases involving commercial and business vehicles in the past under your state’s Uniform Commercial Code.  Please call our lawyers at (877) 846-1209 with questions about your commercial vehicle and to see how we can help you, or fill out our form for a free case review.  Just because you think you don’t meet the requirements of the North Carolina lemon law doesn’t always mean that we can’t help you.

LEMON LAW COVERAGE PERIOD:

The North Carolina lemon law, like all states, has a definite time period after the delivery of the vehicle during which your vehicle can possibly qualify for lemon law relief.  The North Carolina lemon law coverage period is two years or 24,000 miles from the date of original delivery of the vehicle.  In order to qualify as a “new” motor vehicle, it must never have been previously titled to a consumer.

There are sometimes exceptions to the general rules.  Even if you vehicle was repaired after the expiration of the North Carolina lemon law coverage period, or if you purchased your vehicle used, you may also qualify for compensation under the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.  The best way to find out if we can help you is speak to one of our experienced lemon law attorneys by calling us at (877) 846-1209, or fill out our form for a free lemon case review.  

LEMON LAW REPAIR ATTEMPT PRESUMPTIONS:

North Carolina’s lemon law requires that the manufacturer and/or its authorized dealers repair a defect or condition, which substantially impairs the value of your vehicle (and which first occurred within the lemon law time period), within a “reasonable” number of repair attempts.  “Reasonable” is a word which is used every day in the law in many different contexts.  To clarify what North Carolina’s legislature felt was a “reasonable” number of attempts, the North Carolina lemon law, like many state’s laws, uses “presumptions.” Under the North Carolina lemon law, it is presumed that the manufacturer and/or its authorized dealers have failed to conform your vehicle to its warranty within a “reasonable” number of repair attempts if either of the following situations apply:  

  • The same nonconformity has been presented for repair 4 or more times and continues to exist after the 4th repair opportunity; OR
  • Your vehicle has been out of service during repair or while awaiting repair for a total of 20 or more business days during any 12-mointh period of the warranty.

Not every defect or condition in your vehicle would always qualify for lemon law relief.  The North Carolina lemon law states that the defect or condition must “substantially impair value of the motor vehicle to the consumer.”  This definition was intended to exclude from the North Carolina lemon law very minor or trivial problems which do not substantially impair the value of your vehicle.  In addition, before a consumer can invoke one of the above presumptions, the consumer must provide proper written notice to the manufacturer and allow the manufacturer 15 days to correct the nonconformity in the vehicle.

You should not just presume that because your situation does not meet either of the presumptions above, or because you think the problem with your vehicle might be minor, that there is nothing you can do.  Let one of our experienced lemon law attorneys review your situation.  The review is always free and all you have to do is call us at (877) 846-1209, or fill out our form for a free lemon case review.

 

Get started with a free consultation and get what you deserve