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North Carolina Lemon Law

North Carolina Lemon Law State Statutes

Presented By:
Weisberg Consumer Law Group, PA

Article 15A, Chapter 20, Section 351
New Motor Vehicles Warranties Act

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351 Purpose.

This Article shall provide State and private remedies against motor vehicle manufacturers for persons injured by new motor vehicles failing to conform to express warranties.

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North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.1 Definitions.

As used in this Article:

(1) “Consumer” means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, or lessee from a commercial lender, lessor, or from a manufacturer or dealer, of a motor vehicle, and any other person entitled by the terms of an express warranty to enforce the obligations of that warranty.

(2) “Manufacturer” means any person or corporation, resident or nonresident, who manufactures or assembles or imports or distributes new motor vehicles which are sold in the State of North Carolina.

(3) “Motor vehicle” includes a motor vehicle as defined in G.S. 20-4.01 which is sold or leased in this State, but does not include “house trailer” as defined in G.S. 20-4.01 or any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more.

(4) “New motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle for which a certificate of origin, as required by G.S. 20-52.1 or a similar requirement in another state, has never been supplied to a consumer, or which a manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer states in writing is being sold as a new motor vehicle.

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.2 Require repairs.

When mileage warranty begins to accrue.

(a) Express warranties for a new motor vehicle shall remain in effect at least one year or 12,000 miles. If a new motor vehicle does not conform to all applicable express warranties for a period of one year, or the term of the express warranties, whichever is greater, following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer, and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer during such period, the manufacturer shall make, or arrange to have made, repairs necessary to conform the vehicle to the express warranties, whether or not these repairs are made after the expiration of the applicable warranty period.

(b) Any express warranty for a new motor vehicle expressed in terms of a certain number of miles shall begin to accrue from the mileage on the odometer at the date of original delivery to the consumer.

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.3 Replacement or refund; disclosure requirement.

(a) When the consumer is the purchaser or a person entitled by the terms of the express warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty, if the manufacturer is unable, after a reasonable number of attempts, to conform the motor vehicle to any express warranty by repairing or correcting, or arranging for the repair or correction of, any defect or condition or series of defects or conditions which substantially impair the value of the motor vehicle to the consumer, and which occurred no later than 24 months or 24,000 miles following original delivery of the vehicle, the manufacturer shall, at the option of the consumer, replace the vehicle with a comparable new motor vehicle or accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund to the consumer the following:

(1) The full contract price including, but not limited to, charges for undercoating, dealer preparation and transportation, and installed options, plus the non-refundable portions of extended warranties and service contracts;

(2) All collateral charges, including but not limited to, sales tax, license and registration fees, and similar government charges;

(3) All finance charges incurred by the consumer after he first reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer; and

(4) Any incidental damages and monetary consequential damages.

(b) When consumer is a lessee, if the manufacturer is unable, after a reasonable number of attempts, to conform the motor vehicle to any express warranty by repairing or correcting, or arranging for the repair or correction of, any defect or condition or series of defects or conditions which substantially impair the value of the motor vehicle to the consumer, and which occurred no later than 24 months or 24,000 miles following original delivery of the vehicle, the manufacturer shall, at the option of the consumer, replace the vehicle with a comparable new motor vehicle or accept return of the vehicle from the consumer and refund the following:

(1) To the consumer:

a. All sums previously paid by the consumer under the terms of the lease;

b. All sums previously paid by the consumer in connection with entering into the lease agreement, including, but not limited to, any capitalized cost reduction, sales tax, license and registration fees, and similar government charges; and

c. Any incidental and monetary consequential damages.

(2) To the lessor, a full refund of the lease price, plus an additional amount equal to five percent (5%) of the lease price, less eighty-five percent (85%) of the amount actually paid by the consumer to the lessor pursuant to the lease. The lease price means the actual purchase cost of the vehicle to the lessor.

In the case of a refund, the leased vehicle shall be returned to the manufacturer and the consumer’s written lease shall be terminated by the lessor without any penalty to the consumer. The lessor shall transfer title of the motor vehicle to the manufacturer as necessary to effectuate the consumer’s rights pursuant to this Article, whether the consumer chooses vehicle replacement or refund.

(c) Refunds shall be made to the consumer, lessor and any lien holders as their interests may appear. The refund to the consumer shall be reduced by a reasonable allowance for the consumer’s use of the vehicle. A reasonable allowance for use is that amount directly attributable to use by the consumer prior to his first report of the nonconformity to the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer, and during any subsequent period when the vehicle is not out of service because of repair. “Reasonable allowance” is presumed to be the cash price or the lease price, as the case may be, of the vehicle multiplied by a fraction having as its denominator 100,000 miles and its numerator the number of miles attributed to the consumer.

(d) If a manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer resells a motor vehicle that was returned pursuant to this Article or any other State’s applicable law, regardless of whether there was any judicial determination that the motor vehicle had any defect or that it failed to conform to all express warranties, the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer shall disclose to the subsequent purchaser prior to the sale:

(1) That the motor vehicle was returned pursuant to this Article or pursuant to the applicable law of any other State; and

(2) The defect or condition or series of defects or conditions which substantially impaired the value of the motor vehicle to the consumer.

Any subsequent purchaser who purchases the motor vehicle for resale with notice of the return, shall make the required disclosures to any person to whom he resells the motor vehicle.

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.4 Affirmative defenses.

It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this Article that an alleged nonconformity or series of nonconformities are the result of abuse, neglect, odometer tampering by the consumer or unauthorized modifications or alterations of a motor vehicle.

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.5 Presumption.

(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 presented for repair to the manufacturer, its agent, or its authorized dealer four or more times but the same nonconformity continues to exist; or

(2) The vehicle was out of service to the consumer during or while awaiting repair of the nonconformity or a series of nonconformities for a cumulative total of 20 or more business days during any 12-month period of the warranty, provided that the consumer has notified the manufacturer directly in writing of the existence of the nonconformity or series of nonconformities and allowed the manufacturer a reasonable period, not to exceed 15 calendar days, in which to correct the nonconformity or series of nonconformities. The manufacturer must clearly and conspicuously disclose to the consumer in the warranty or owners manual that written notification of a nonconformity is required before a consumer may be eligible for a refund or replacement of the vehicle and the manufacturer shall include in the warranty or owners manual the name and address where the written notification may be sent. Provided, further, that notice to the manufacturer shall not be required if the manufacturer fails to make the disclosures provided herein.

(b) The consumer may prove that a defect or condition substantially impairs the value of the motor vehicle to the consumer in a manner other than that set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) The term of an express warranty, the one-year period, and the 20-day period shall be extended by any period of time during which repair services are not available to the consumer because of war, strike, or natural disaster.

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.6 Civil action by the Attorney General.

Whenever, in his opinion, the interests of the public require it, it shall be the duty of the Attorney General upon his ascertaining that any of the provisions of this Article have been violated by the manufacturer to bring a civil action in the name of the State, or any officer or department thereof as provided by law, or in the name of the State on relation of the Attorney General.

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.7 Civil action by the consumer.

A consumer injured by reason of any violation of the provisions of this Article may bring a civil action against the manufacturer; provided, however, the consumer has given the manufacturer written notice of his intent to bring an action against the manufacturer at least 10 days prior to filing such suit. Nothing in this section shall prevent a manufacturer from requiring a consumer to utilize an informal settlement procedure prior to litigation if that procedure substantially complies in design and operation with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 USC 2301 et seq., and regulations promulgated there under, and that requirement is written clearly and conspicuously, in the written warranty and any warranty instructions provided to the consumer.

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.8 Remedies.

In any action brought under this Article, the court may grant as relief:

(1) A permanent or temporary injunction or other equitable relief as the court deems just;

(2) Monetary damages to the injured consumer in the amount fixed by the verdict. Such damages shall be trebled upon a finding that the manufacturer unreasonably refused to comply with G.S. 20-351.2 or G.S. 20-351.3. The jury may consider as damages all items listed for refund under G.S. 20-351.3;

(3) A reasonable attorney’s fee for the attorney of the prevailing party, payable by the losing party, upon a finding by the court that:

a. The manufacturer unreasonably failed or refused to fully resolve the matter which constitutes the basis of such action; or

b. The party instituting the action knew, or should have known, the action was frivolous and malicious.

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.9 Dealership liability.

No authorized dealer shall be held liable by the manufacturer for any refunds or vehicle replacements in the absence of evidence indicating that dealership repairs have been carried out in a manner substantially inconsistent with the manufacturers’ instructions. This Article does not create any cause of action by a consumer against an authorized dealer.

North Carolina Lemon Law 20-351.10 Preservation of other remedies.

This Article does not limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law.

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32 comments

  1. kenyatta boyd-batts

    2013 Dodge Dart Limited with 6 sp turbo, three shop visits in last for sticking clutch, bad ignition coils, and now computer problems

  2. We live in North Carolina and bought a used car from a private person for $5,000.00. The seller claimed other then the car needing new tires there was nothing wrong with the car. We took the car for a state inspection prior to registration and it failed for the horn and engine seals. Total cost is $3,300.00 for the two repairs. I was told we have 30 days for which the seller is responsible for anything required to pass inspection. Is this true? we bought the car 10 days ago. Please advise

    • Private parties are not subject to the lemon law. You may have rights under the NC commercial code, try googling “North Carolina revocation of acceptance.”

    • i bought a 94 z71 truck at a car lot ani gave 3400 for it i was told thats its a great running truck no motor or tranny problems i drove the truck home after buying it i only drove about 20 miles if that an the head gasket blew i have contacted the owner at the car lot an told him about it an no response but on my paper work it dose not say as is so what can i do to get my money back

  3. Angel Alexander

    i have a ford truck, the AC quit working so I took it to a local car repair place, they said it was the compressor, I paid 1474.55, drove the truck a couple months, it stopped working again, took it back, they said now it is the evaporator core and they were not equipped to service that type of repair at their garage. I was very upset, cutting my losses and feeling there was nothing I could do, I decided to take it to the dealership because they have warranties right? they are more knowledgeable? I told them the story and that I was very upset and felt as if I was cheated, and that I was not even sure now what they were telling me was the truth, maybe it was the compressor I just had replaced? they fixed the evaporator core, charged me 1300.00, this was in the fall, the truck blew cold air but I didn’t use it much as it was getting cold outside. six months later, while I am driving in town the air is warm but on the freeway it is cold, I took it back to the dealership, now they tell me that it is the compressor and that it is going to cost me $1700 to fix, shouldn’t they have checked all of that at the time of service? I am so upset, I feel so screwed that my husband spent a year in Afghanistan saved money to have this happen. the dealership said that I TOLD them to replace the evaporator core, so they did, they didn’t diagnose it, this I don’t understand, because I explained to them, as I have in this letter the whole situation, how would I know what was wrong with the truck and I didn’t trust the previous mechanic. is there anything I can do about this situation?

  4. Purchased a 2012 Kia Sorento in 2013 from Kia dealership. Have had the vehicle in at least 3 times for alignment. Car pulls to the right each time. Nearly 100% certain that it is NOT caused by bumps in road, etc.

  5. Does the NC Lemon Law cover travel trailers (tow behind rv’s)?

  6. I bought a used 2006 Mercedes from a local dealer. Was told he had done full maintenence on the car. He did not. The vehicle had cylinder misfires, computer shut down whole vehicle. Returned to dealer and he would not help — at all!! This happened 10 months after purchase. Replace coil pack etc , got car back on road only for it to blow the motor up less than 30 days later. Needless to say the car has gone back to the bank. Dealer feels he has done NOTHING wrong. Did not give us a copy of the service done to car that was supposidly done at his dealership.

  7. I bought a 2014 F150 new 06/2014. I had the transmission pump replaced. Since then more problems with transmission. Dealer kept for 5 days and drove 300 miles and said runs great. Back at dealer for a few days, no problem found. At another dealer now on end day there. Tired of driving rentals.

  8. I bought a 2002 Toyota Tacoma from a used car dealership. I have had truck for less than a month and the clutch has gone bad. Is the dealership responsible since its been less than 30 days?

  9. I bought a car for my son at Metro Auto Sale in Greenville NC. Have had the car less than 30 days and had nothing but problems. First the horn disnt work, then the driver side window started leaking then a vibration in the back end. Contacted the guy and he says he isn’t giving me ANYTHING back, that he is in the business of selling cars not fixing them. I even offered to take less back. Anything i can do? Have heard others have problems also

  10. In 2012 I bought a new 2012 Fiat 500C from the dealership the car is still under warranty we have been having problems with the A/C cutting off the last time we took it in which was late August they kept the car for 6 weeks. When we got it back my wife drove the car for 3 days and the A/C cut off again. We are very frustrated and saying what is this car going to cost us when it is out of warranty. The A/C is an automatic climate controlled system why can’t they fix it!!

  11. My mother bought a KIA Sorrento with 145000 miles on it. She has had the car less the 48 hours and the car keeps cutting off on her. The vehicle was solded as is by a known car company. Just wondering if the lemon law applies?

  12. Bought a 2009 Nissan Armada LE from a local dealership and within a week of buying it had to take it in only to find out that there was a problem with the power steering. Don’t know if they are going to try to stick me with the bill. What are my options?

  13. Bought 2014 Dodge Ram 5500 for over 50k in North Carolina in November 2014
    Car sitting almost 30 days at California Ram dealership
    They replace parts for over 10k!!!included front differential and transfer case
    It is commercial vehicle!Lost wages!time!Customers!

  14. On 12/10/15 I bought an Infiniti M37x from used dealer. Test drive was AWESOME. Drove the car off the lot & when I approached 45 there was an audible LOUD vibration. I took it immediately back to the lot. They took it to Infinity dealer to keep from the warranty getting void. It’s 12/14 &, so far, no word on the vehicle. I know I can go somewhere else & get something just as nice for a lot less payment. I need a little advice on what can be done to just back out of the contract since it’s only been a few days. Mainly, I’m concerned that if it’s in the shop after a 5 minute test drive, what will happen if I drive it somewhere for a vacation or day-trip? If I don’t feel that the car is reliable, I know that I won’t be happy with the purchase.

  15. 2006 Pontiac G6 140,000 miles.
    Purchased at 109,000 miles.

    Keep in mind I purchased this vehicle on March 18, 2014, less than two years ago.

    When purchasing the vehicle the dealer stated he had pulled the carfax and it had never been in an accident. I just pulled the carfax report and it shows that the vehicle was involved in an accident.

    In May 2015 the vehicle has gotten where at times it is very sluggish and the steering wheel will shake VERY VERY BADLY while driving but when stopped with the vehicle still in drive it acts as if the brakes are still being applied. This only happens a few times a week and I haven’t found anyone who can figure out the problem. When this started I had it hooked to a computer and it was showing zero exhaust angle input and output.

    At times, but no connection to the brake and steering wheel shaking issue, the vehicle will idle very ruff and sounds as if it pay turn off.

    In September 2015 half of the muffler came off while driving down the road. It appeared as if some type of chemical had slowly eaten the metal down the center. I also had to have the flex pipe replaced.

    On December 26, 2015 I was driving and the power steering just stopped working. After the vehicle sat for a few hours the power steering was fine when started again. Ever since there is a strong smell of gas when the car is first started and air starts coming out of the vents.

    The headlight plug has burnt/melted and had to be replaced.

    The trunk release bottom only works when the driver door is open at the right position.

    Low coolant message is always on.

    Disc changer stopped working.

    The list goes on and on…..

    Check engine light is on and code is for Camshaft position. So is the timing chain next?

    A vehicle should not have so many problems one after another with 140,000 miles. I have two vehicles 15 years only with 245,000 miles and the other has 335,000 miles, both with no problems, only regular small repairs.

    Any advice?

  16. We bought a vehicle June of 2014 from a Chevy dealership where we live….it is a 2010 Chevy Silverado crew cab…..I believe it had a round 79,000 miles on it when we fiananced it and now has right at 120,000 miles on it. When we pulled truck off lot of dealership the check engine light was on…dealership said it was evaporator coil…they replaced it right about when our 30 day warranty was up….2 weeks later check engine light was on again…took to dealerships we purchased it at and they said it was out of warranty…would be over $600 to fix it….we declined it since we thought price was outrageous. Had fixed somewhere else….check engine light on again….hasn’t been off since we had vehicle…..do we have any recourse now that the engine needs replaced according to dealearship???

  17. Hi, we leased a 2002 Jeep Liberty Sport 3.7 V6 engine with 150k miles September 2015 without a warranty. At time of purchase were told there was nothing wrong with the car. By December 2015 the breaks went out completely, the car began over heating, popping and smoking, the reservoir coolant tank cracked, head gasket blew and according to the dealership the motor is dead. We replaced the coolant tank, the breaks and brake pads, before we could get the oil changed the car shut down and would not move or start. Not being able to afford the other repairs we are surrendering the Jeep to the bank, however we are still being held responsible for the remaining $8,571 in cost and interest. Is there anything that we can do to counteract this cost and protect our credit from inquiring this substantial defenciency which also prevents us from financing for another car for our family of 7?

  18. Just bought a 2012 f150 from a ford dealership. We haven’t even had the truck for 30 days and the 4 wheel drive doesn’t work on it. My ectothermic in law come to find out was the previous owner and that’s why he traded the truck in! So it’s in the shop and they are trying to charge us to fix this . Is this legal

  19. Purchased a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition in February 2015 with 7,800 miles on the vehicle. Vehicles original service date May 2014. I took the vehicle in for a roof leak. After having my vehicle 5 days I was told they could not find a leak, picked up the vehicle. Left for a trip, rained the entire seven days I was gone, upon my return I found the entire interior of the vehicle to be wet examples : roof had water droplets formed as if it were raining inside the vehicle, seats, dash, doors all covered in condensation, carpet soaked with an inch of water. Called the dealership was told I had to make an appointment five days from the call. Took the vehicle in, dash,vseats, doors had dried up however the carpet was still soaked to the point if touched your hand would become soaked, also smelled of mildew, dealership kept the vehicle ten days, I was called and told they could not find the leak to come and pick it upossible (carpet was left wet). The next rain the vehicle began to leak, with no call I first took photos and drove the vehicle directly to the dealership, they kept the vehicle for two weeks before they could find the leak, they finally agreed to replace the top, with the Jeep still at the dealership this took another seven days to replace the top and carpet. Upon picking up the vehicle found the vehicle to be damaged, tailgate dinged, rear window scratched, all four floor panels (two on each side) were damaged, carpet was improperly installed and the paint was scratched with swirl marks due to poor wash. The dealership agreed to fix these issues which for the most part they have, these repairs took another seven days. Now as a result of expensive water intrusion the vehicle is having other related issues. The metal dash frame has excessive rust, the steering column was replaced (one day repair) due to excessive rust. The internal firewall joining weld seem is rusted, bolts beneath the dash are heavily rusted. Now after unplugging the radio and simply plugging it back in the radio/ speakers are not working properly. Now at this point the dealership is warning me that they will charge to repair the issue due to the factory speakers being upgraded.

    Do I have a case? I am completely fed up with this vehicle, it has almost been a weekly visit to the dealership since the water leak.

  20. Just bought a car, come to find out I was set up by 3 people on offerup.com. fake names and all.
    Any way, I was driving it home with a temp transport ticket in the sellers name and BOOM … Check Engine Light pops on. Sooo now I can not get it inspected
    And even though I signed a bill of sale and “As Is” warranty from the private seller, it is not considered a legal document.
    As follows..

    Dmv.org

    Bill of Sale Summary:

    You will likely need a bill of sale form whenever you buy a vehicle from, or sell one to, another person. This form serves as a record of necessary information, including the date of sale, price, vehicle information, and names/addresses for both the seller and the buyer. The bill of sale form is NOT an official document proving ownership, but rather a record of the transaction between parties.

    So with that being said, seller promises to fix the problem and is recommending that I go to the dmv to transfer the title.
    Little does she know that I’m pissed and she has met her match. But I have done alot of research and until I sign and transfer title at dmv it still belongs to her, and she is still legally responsible for this vehicle. Tickets, towing, accidents, is this a true statement ?? How do I beat this scamming bitch at her own game ?

  21. I bought a 2013 Dodge Ram back in beginning of March. I drove it for 2 weeks and left to do something with the military and got back 2 weeks ago. And right after I got back my truck had a message and said service air bag system. I haven’t drove the truck for a full month and my airbag system needs to be serviced.

  22. Richard Rogowski

    Hello, I bought a new 2016 gmc 2500hd. To keep this short the dealership has had the car 4 times to try to fix the bad buff/paint/detail job by the dealership. So far of the 7 weeks I have owned it the vehicle has been in the shop for 2 weeks of it. The last time they re clear coated the quarter panel just to have the same problem. Spider web looking paint and holograms. At this point I just want a new factory painted quarter panel and or not sure what else. When I took this to a private detail place they said they did not want to mess with it. When I took it to a body shop they said it needed to be completely repainted. They said they didn’t have time for the job so I know what they were saying was true. Also, the dealership refused to fix after the 3rd time so I had to get the GM of the entire dealership automall to finally try. I am very unhappy and not sure what to do. The truck cost me 53,000 plus all fees and stuff and it only has 1500 miles. 400 of which were back and forth to the dealership. Thanks

  23. I purchased a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix Gt from a dealer here in town who told me the vehicle was in good condition nothing was wrong with the car.I took the car to a local garage because the battery went dead in it and the security lights on dash was flashing on and off. When this happens the vehicle is not suppose to even crank. The mechanic discovered the wiring system had been altered and the system had been altered,. The check engine light is on along with the air nbag lights, and the ABS lights. The vehicle was not inspected properly before the dealer sold me the vehicle and signed the paperwork. They the dealer just put a 30 day tag on it and turned it over to me. What can I do in this situation?

  24. I bought a 2000 ford escort with 122,000 on the clock for $3000 from a dealer in Fayetteville NC two days ago, no warranty, I have travelled 47 miles and it has died on me, it keeps blowing the fuel injector fuse, the dealer is closed today, do I have any recourse when I contact him in the morning?

  25. I just got a car 2weeks ago and now it won’t run nor crank up. Can’t I get my money back it has not been 3weeks yet.

  26. Bought a new 2014 BMW 3 series February 2014. May 2016 got drivetrain malfunction warning saying drive car to dealer at moderate speed. Did that immediately. Took 4 days to diagnose problem. On board computer had corrupted files. Dealer diagnosed, unloaded software & reloaded latest version software. Returned car back to me. 3000 miles later, 6 mos. got drivetrain malfunction warning light again. This time the car was not safe to drive. Had it towed back to dealer. It’s been 2 days & they are still diagnosing the problem. If this occurs a 3rd time, is this car a lemon?

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