What is a LEMON?

What is a Lemon?

The North Carolina Lemon Law covers new motor vehicles that are sold or leased in North Carolina,
including passenger cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles, vans and motor homes that weigh less than 10,000 pounds.

The North Carolina Lemon Law does not cover motor vehicles that weigh more that 10,000 pounds, but you may be protected by the Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), implied and express warranties, unfair and deceptive acts and practices (UDAP) and strict liability and negligence.

The North Carolina Lemon Law allows the manufacturer of the new motor vehicle:

4 chances to fix one defect, or

Vehicle in shop for 20 cumulative business days over 12 months of a warranty, for series of different defects, or
Defect causes substantial impairment to value of vehicle (safety issue)

You must read your warranty and follow the procedures as outlined. These procedures may require giving written notice of a last chance to fix to the manufacturer and allowing them 15 calendar days after such written notification to make the final repair attempt. They are not allowed more repair attempts after that last repair attempt and the lemon law should now be invoked for a repurchase or replacement.

If the manufacturer requires arbitration, it must be completed within 40 days pursuant to Federal Law.

MANUFACTURER’S TACTICS:

The five common tactics of the manufacturer are:

  1. Not the right number of repair attempts. – You must have repair orders for each repair attempt with the defect or complaint properly described. Use the same language for each repair order for the same defect. Make sure the repair order shows the correct number of days the vehicle has been in the shop for repairs.
  2. Defect never existed or not the same defect. – Always complain about the same problem using the same description and insist it is written on the repair order by the dealer’s service rep.
  3. The defect is not substantial. – The defect must be substantial as to cost of repairs, downtime and issues of safety and diminished value.
  4. The consumer abused or neglected the vehicle. – If the vehicle is advertised as a off road vehicle, it can be taken off road and this should not be considered abuse.
  5. “That’s normal” or “They all do that”. – Drive similar vehicles to verify this claim and usually the claim will turn out to be false.

WHAT IS THE CONSUMER ENTITLED TO AFTER THE VEHICLE IS A LEMON:

The consumer has the option for a buyback pursuant to the statutory formula, or a replacement with a comparable new vehicle. YOU ARE ENTITLED TO WHAT YOU ORIGINALLY BARGAINED FOR.

You must invoke the lemon law as soon as possible as you are charged mileage as an offset to the buyback option.

NEVER RETURN OR TURN A VEHICLE IN TO THE DEALER OR LENDER WITHOUT CONSULTING AN ATTORNEY – THE VEHICLE WILL BE SOLD AT AUCTION BY THE LENDER AND YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DEFICIENCY, WHICH COULD BE SUBSTANTIAL. YOU MUST HAVE THE VEHICLE TO COLLECT UNDER THE LEMON LAW!

MANUFACTURER’S TACTICS:

  1.  The manufacturer’s representatives will offer to continue to make more repairs and inform you that is your only option. This is to discourage you and to force you to trade and take a loss. This tactic also makes you continue to put more miles on vehicle for the manufacturer to use against you in an offset for a buyback.
  2. The manufacture’s representative will sometimes offer to give you an extended warranty, but the problems will remain and there is no solution to downtime and inconvenience.
  3. The manufacturer’s representative or dealer will offer to assist you to trade in the defective vehicle (trade assist). If the trade assist equals the trade-in value of your vehicle (see http://edmunds.com for your trade-in value), then you need to invoke the lemon law as your recovery will likely be substantially more.

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WHAT IS THE CONSUMER ENTITLED TO IF THE MANUFACTURER UNREASONABLY REFUSES TO COMPLY WITH THE LEMON LAW?

Upon a jury verdict, the consumer may be entitled to treble damages and attorney’s fees.

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3209 Cromwell Road, Durham, NC 27705