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Lemon Law in South Carolina

South Carolina Lemon Law

If you've purchased a new vehicle in South Carolina only to find it has a major defect that makes it unsafe, impairs its normal function, or significantly lowers its resale value, you've likely bought a lemon.

The South Carolina lemon law is designed to protect you from new vehicle purchases like that. Basically, the lemon law allows your vehicle's manufacturer a certain number of repair attempts over a certain amount of time before it will likely need to either replace your defective vehicle or refund your money.

On this page you'll find an overview of some of the aspects of the South Carolina lemon law and some of the steps you may need to take if you've ended up with a lemon.

Lemon Law Protection in South Carolina

Your new vehicle may be covered under the lemon law in South Carolina if all of the following apply:

  • It does not conform to the manufacturer's warranty within the first:
    • 12 months of your purchase.
      OR
    • 12,000 miles of operation.
  • The defect puts the vehicle out of service or lowers its market value.
  • The manufacturer is unable to fix the vehicle in a timely fashion.
    • The law stipulates the manufacturer must be given at least 3 attempts or 30 days to resolve the defect.

If your vehicle meets the above criteria, you may you need to get some help in preparing your case for a trial. You can start by reading the suggestions above and reaching out to lemon law attorneys in your area.

Taking Lemon Law Action in South Carolina

If the manufacturer cannot repair your vehicle during that time frame, they must either:

  • Replace the vehicle.
    OR
  • Refund a portion of your money, based on the amount of time you used the vehicle and the mileage you placed on it during that time.
    • They must also refund all taxes and fees you paid in the purchase of the vehicle.

Between the time you request repairs and the time you request a refund or replacement, you must participate in any arbitration program the manufacturer offers. If you are not happy with the mediation process, you can then file a lawsuit.

If all efforts fail and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may file a complaint with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The agency provides an FAQ section for any questions you may have.

You can print a copy of the complaint form so you'll know exactly what documentation you'll need.

Tips for Handling a Lemon in South Carolina

You should always buy your vehicles from reputable dealers; however, if you feel you've purchased a lemon, remember these tips:

  • Keep all paperwork concerning your car, including registrations, warranties, repair receipts, and correspondence.
  • Make a list of names and phone numbers of all contacts you have concerning repairs of your car.
  • Keep a log of all the times the car was out of service due to repairs.
  • Check out the Buyer Beware List provided by the DCA. It's an updated, comprehensive list of businesses who do not respond to complaints. This list includes businesses both in and out of state and is updated regularly to educate consumers.

If you are looking for legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.

Hiring a South Carolina Lemon Law Attorney

There are many benefits to hiring a SC lemon law attorney, but it's important you find the right one. You'll want to hire a lawyer who is:

  • Knowledgeable.
    • You'll need to find a lawyer who has experience in similar SC lemon law cases.
  • Reasonably priced.
    • Ask about attorney fees to ensure you can afford their legal representation.
  • A history of success in lemon law cases.
    • You may want to ask how many cases the lawyer has won and/or lost.

If you've been unsuccessful at working out a deal with the manufacturer, you may have to consult a lemon law attorney and file a civil suit in South Carolina.

SC Lemon Law Attorney Advice

If you have any questions about your lemon law case, you should speak with a South Carolina attorney to have these questions answered. Lemon law attorneys help by:

  • Negotiating a settlement with an authorized dealer or manufacturer.
  • Explaining what to expect if you file a civil action in court.
  • Gathering documentation for your trial.

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