South Carolina Lemon Law
South Carolina Lemon Laws and the federal Lemon Law (the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) provide for compensation
to South Carolina consumers of defective automobiles and trucks and other vehicles and products including
motorcycles, RV’s, boats, computers and other consumer appliances and products. To qualify under the
South Carolina Lemon Law or the federal Lemon Law, you must generally have a product that suffered multiple
repair attempts under the manufacturer’s factory warranty. Lemon Law compensation can include a refund,
replacement or cash compensation. If you think you qualify for a Lemon Law,
click here for a free South Carolina Lemon Law case review or for an immediate evaluation,
simply fax your repair records to 866-773-6152. An experienced Lemon Law attorney will personally review
your inquiry and records and quickly contact you for a free consultation.
For other useful South Carolina Lemon Law information, click here to visit the South Carolina section of our
State Lemon Laws summaries page. Or just keep reading below for the entire South Carolina Lemon Law, or
click here to read the federal lemon law.
South Carolina State Statutes
Title 56, Chapter 28
Enforcement Of Motor Vehicle Express Warranties
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Consumer" means the purchaser or lessor, other than for
purposes of resale, of a motor vehicle normally used for personal, family, or household
purposes and subject to the manufacturer's express warranty, and any other person
entitled by the warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty.
(2) "Manufacturer" means any person, resident, or nonresident, who
manufactures or assembles or imports or distributes new motor vehicles which are to be
sold in the State.
(3) "Manufacturer's express warranty" or "warranty" means
the written warranty, so labeled, of the manufacturer of a new motor vehicle, including
any terms or conditions precedent to the enforcement of obligations under that warranty.
(4) "Motor vehicle" means a private passenger motor vehicle, as
classified by Section 56-3-630, but excluding the living portion of recreational
vehicles and off-road vehicles, which is sold and registered in this State.
(5) A "new motor vehicle" means a private passenger motor vehicle
which has been sold to a new motor vehicle dealer by a manufacturer and which has not
been used for other than demonstration purposes and on which the original title has not
been issued from the new motor vehicle dealer.
(6) "Nonconformity" means a defect or condition that substantially
impairs the use, value, or safety of a motor vehicle, but does not include a defect or
condition that results from an accident, modification, or alteration of the motor
vehicle by persons other than the manufacturer or its authorized service agent.
56-28-20 Manufacturers to provide annual written summaries of certain motor
Forms; records to be made available; penalties.
Every manufacturer, in a format and a form that must be mailed annually to each
manufacturer approved by the Administrator of the Department of Consumer Affairs, shall
provide a written summary of all motor vehicles repurchased or replaced under this chapter
no less than once each calendar year. In addition, every manufacturer shall make available
any paperwork, reports, or other information regarding vehicles subject to this chapter
upon request by the administrator. Failure to supply either the written summaries of
repurchased vehicles or respond to reasonable requests for information by the
administrator subjects the manufacturer to an administrative penalty not to exceed one
thousand dollars for each violation which the administrator in his discretion may impose.
56-28-30 Nonconformity with express warranties.
Notice required; repairs required.
If a new motor vehicle does not conform to all applicable express warranties within the
first twelve months of purchase or the first twelve thousand miles of operation, whichever
occurs first, and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer or its agent
during the term of the express warranties, the manufacturer, or its agent, shall make
those repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to the express warranties at no cost
to the consumer, notwithstanding the fact that the repairs are made after the expiration
of the term.
56-28-40 Replacement of motor vehicle.
Refund of purchase price.
If, within the term specified in Section 56-28-30, the manufacturer, through its agents
or authorized dealer, is unable to conform the motor vehicle to any applicable express
warranty by repairing or correcting any defect or condition which substantially impairs
the use, market value, or safety of the motor vehicle to the consumer after a reasonable
number of attempts, the manufacturer shall replace the motor vehicle with a comparable
motor vehicle, or at its option, accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund
to the consumer the full purchase price as delivered including applicable finance charges,
sales taxes, license fees, registration fees, and any other similar governmental charges,
less a reasonable allowance for the consumer's use of the vehicle. Refunds must be made to
the consumer and lien holder, if any, as their interest may appear on the record of
ownership kept by the Division of Motor Vehicles. A reasonable allowance for use must be
that amount directly attributable to use by the consumer before his first report of the
nonconformity to the manufacturer, agent, or dealer, and must be calculated by multiplying
the full purchase price of the vehicle by a fraction having as its denominator one hundred
twenty thousand and having as its numerator the number of miles that the vehicle traveled
before the first report of nonconformity. The consumer is not entitled to a refund or
(1) the nonconformity does not substantially impair the motor vehicle's use,
market value, or safety;
(2) the nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or modification or
alteration of the motor vehicle by the consumer.
56-28-50 Presumption of attempts to conform.
Information to be provided to consumers; obligations of manufacturer; costs and
attorney's fees; notice requirements.
(A) It is presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken
to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable express warranties if:
(1) the same nonconformity has been subject to repair three or more times by
the manufacturer, or its agent, within the express warranty term, but the
nonconformity continues to exist; or
(2) the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total
of thirty or more calendar days during the express warranty. The term of an express
warranty, and the twenty-day period must be extended by any period of time during
which repair services are not available to the consumer because of a war, invasion,
strike, fire, flood, or other natural disaster.
(B) The manufacturer must provide information regarding consumer complaint
remedies with each new motor vehicle. It is the responsibility of the consumer, or his
representative, before availing himself of the provisions of this chapter, to give
written notification to the manufacturer of the need for the repair of the
nonconformity, in order to allow the manufacturer a final opportunity to cure the
alleged defect if the manufacturer has clearly and prominently informed the consumer of
the requirement of written notification to the manufacturer at the time of sale. The
manufacturer, within ten business days, must notify the consumer of a reasonably
accessible repair facility of a franchised new vehicle dealer to conform the new vehicle
to the express warranty. After delivery of the new vehicle to an authorized repair
facility by the consumer, the manufacturer must attempt immediately to repair the
vehicle within a period not to exceed ten business days in order to conform the new
motor vehicle to the express warranty. If the manufacturer is unable to repair properly
the vehicle within the final ten-business-day period, the manufacturer must replace the
vehicle with an identical or reasonably equivalent vehicle or refund the purchase price
subject to the provisions of Section 56-28-40.
(C) Upon notification from the consumer that the new vehicle has not been
conformed to the express warranty, the manufacturer shall inform the consumer if an
informal dispute settlement procedure has been established by the manufacturer as
enumerated in Section 56-28-60. However, if prior notice by the manufacturer of an
informal dispute settlement procedure has been given, no further notice is required.
(D) Any consumer who finally prevails in any action brought under this
chapter, may be allowed by the court to recover as part of the judgment a sum equal to
the aggregate amount of cost and expenses (including attorney's fees based on actual
time expended) and other such costs which are directly attributable to the nonconformity
of the motor vehicle determined by the court to have been reasonably incurred by the
plaintiff for or in connection with the commencement and prosecution of such action,
unless the court in its discretion determines that such an award of attorney's fees
would be inappropriate.
(E) All written notifications required by this section shall be sent by
registered, certified, or express mail.
56-28-60 Informal dispute settlement procedures.
If a manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement procedure which
substantially complies with Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 703, or if
the manufacturer participates in a consumer-industry appeals, arbitration, or mediation
panel or board, whose decisions are binding on the manufacturer, the provisions of Section
56-28-40 concerning refunds or replacement do not apply to any consumer who has not first
resorted to those procedures or to the alternate procedure provided in Section 56-28-90.
56-28-70 Limitation of actions.
Any action brought under this chapter must be commenced within three years following
the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer.
56-28-80 Construction of chapter.
Reimbursement from dealer prohibited; exception.
Nothing in this chapter may be construed as imposing any liability on a motor vehicle
dealer or creating a cause of action by a consumer against a motor vehicle dealer under
Section 56-28-40. The manufacturer shall not charge back or require reimbursement by the
dealer for any costs, including, but not limited to, any refunds or vehicle replacements
incurred by the manufacturer arising out of this chapter in the absence of evidence that
the related repairs had been carried out by the dealer in a manner substantially
inconsistent with the manufacturer's published instructions.
56-28-90 State arbitration board may be established.
The Administrator of the Department of Consumer Affairs may establish by regulation a
state arbitration board consisting of five members appointed by him to serve at his
pleasure. The board shall review matters involving manufacturers that have not created an
informal dispute settlement procedure that substantially complies with Title 16 of the
Code of Federal Regulations, Part 703. The cost of the arbitration board must be borne by
the manufacturer of the vehicle purchased or leased by the consumer.
56-28-100 Repurchased vehicles not to be resold; exceptions.
Any vehicle required to be repurchased by a manufacturer under this chapter or any
other provision of law relating to motor vehicle warranties may not be resold, reassigned,
or retransferred, either at wholesale or retail in this State, unless:
(1) The manufacturer notifies the Administrator of the Department of Consumer
Affairs within thirty calendar days, in writing, of the vehicle identification number of
that motor vehicle, the reason that the vehicle was repurchased, and provides a
statement that all necessary repairs and adjustments have been made and that the vehicle
meets acceptable operating standards.
(2) The manufacturer provides a written warranty to the subsequent retail
purchaser of the vehicle covering the vehicle for twelve months or twelve thousand
miles. The warranty must expressly include any component related to the manufacturer's
decision to repurchase the vehicle.
(3) The manufacturer shall disclose to any dealer or other wholesale purchaser
of the fact that the vehicle was required to be repurchased under this chapter or
another provision of law relating to motor vehicle warranties.
56-28-110 Notification to subsequent purchasers.
Penalties for failure to notify.
Every subsequent purchaser must be notified by the seller of the fact that the vehicle
was required to be repurchased under the terms of this chapter or another provision of law
relating to motor vehicle warranties. Failure to notify properly any purchaser of the
requirements of this section subjects the seller to an administrative penalty to be
imposed by the administrator up to a maximum of five hundred dollars for each vehicle.
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