If you’ve recently purchased a new vehicle, you expect it to be in perfect working condition. But what happens if your new car has defects or problems that can’t be fixed?
This is where South Carolina Lemon Law comes in. It’s a law that protects consumers who purchase new motor vehicles and experience nonconformities that substantially impair the use, value, or safety of their vehicle.
All of this information was taken from the South Carolina Code of Laws, and presented here in an easily digestible format.
The South Carolina Lemon Law is applicable to all new motor vehicles that are sold and registered in the state. This includes private passenger motor vehicles and motorcycles.
A vehicle is considered “new” if it has been sold to a new vehicle dealer by a manufacturer and has not been used for anything other than demonstration purposes. The law covers defects or conditions that significantly impair the use, value, or safety of a motor vehicle.
However, it does not include defects resulting from accidents, modifications, or alterations made by anyone other than the manufacturer or authorized service agent.
Remedies for Nonconformities
If your new vehicle experiences a nonconformity or defect within the first 12 months of purchase or the first 12,000 miles of operation, you may be eligible for coverage under the South Carolina Lemon Law.
During this period, if you report the defect to the manufacturer, they must make the necessary repairs to conform the vehicle to the standards of a new vehicle at no cost to you, even if the repairs are made after the expiration of the term.
In case the manufacturer is unable to repair the nonconformity after a reasonable number of attempts, they must either replace the motor vehicle with a comparable one or refund you the full purchase price including applicable taxes, fees, etc.
However, if the nonconformity does not significantly impair the vehicle’s use, market value, or safety or results from abuse, neglect, or modification or alteration by you, the consumer, then you may not be entitled to a refund or replacement.
Sometimes, a defect in your new vehicle can be hard to fix. If the same issue happens three or more times or your vehicle is out of service for a total of 30 or more days, the law presumes that enough repair attempts have been made to fix the problem.
To make use of this law, you must inform the manufacturer in writing of the need for repair. This way, they have a chance to try and fix the problem.
Informal Dispute Settlement Procedures
If you have an issue with your new vehicle that falls under the South Carolina Lemon Law, and the manufacturer has an informal dispute resolution process that follows federal regulations, you need to go through that process before exploring other options. This could include a consumer-industry appeals, arbitration, or mediation panel or board that has the power to make decisions that the manufacturer must follow.
Limitations and Exceptions
There is a time limit of three years from the date of delivery for you to take any legal action under the South Carolina Lemon Law. The law does not hold motor vehicle dealers responsible for any issues, nor does it allow you to sue them. The manufacturer cannot force the dealer to pay any costs related to this law, unless it can be shown that the dealer did not follow the manufacturer’s instructions for repairs.
If a manufacturer is required to repurchase a vehicle, it may not be resold in South Carolina unless the manufacturer notifies the Administrator of the Department of Consumer Affairs, provides a written warranty to the subsequent retail purchaser, and discloses the fact that the vehicle was required to be repurchased. Subsequent purchasers must also be notified of the repurchase requirements, and failure to do so may result in penalties.
If you have recently purchased a new vehicle and are experiencing issues, it is important to understand your rights under South Carolina Lemon Law and take action if necessary.
Remember that the law requires the manufacturer to repair the defect at no cost to you within the warranty period and provides options for a replacement vehicle or refund if the defect cannot be repaired.
As a consumer, it is important to stay informed and be proactive in protecting your rights. By doing so, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your new vehicle purchase.