- Eligibility: 3 unsuccessful repairs or 30 calendar days out of service within shorter of 1 year or 12,000 miles.
- Resolution Attempt: Written notice by certified mail + opportunity to repair (not more than 10 business days) to manufacturer only if manufacturer informed consumer of such at time of sale.
- State has certified guidelines for arbitration. Law specifically applies to leased vehicles.
There’s good news for you South Carolina consumers who have recently bought a new car and found out you got way less than you bargained for. South Carolina’s lemon laws make it possible for you to be reimbursed for all your trouble.
Danny from the Attorney General’s department of Consumer Affairs explained that the lemon law could be applied to new vehicles less than 1 year old or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first) that don’t live up to the written warranty of the manufacturer. He said the problem has to affect the safety, use, or market value of the vehicle and cannot be repaired within a reasonable time.
“A reasonable time is 3 repair attempts for the same item or 30 days out of service and they do not have to be consecutive,” he said.
He added that while used vehicles and motorcycles are not covered in the law, leased vehicles tend to have more interpretation.
“There are no appellate decisions on leased cases,” he explained. “It is a trial court decision.”
Danny said that it is necessary to go through a type of alternative dispute resolution to ensure that they will be entitled to all of their rights, including a constituent demanding that the other party pay their attorney fees should they win the case.
In addition to basic rights, consumers can also enjoy further benefits if they win their case. Danny said that often times, manufacturers will have to oblige to the consumers’ requests to replace the vehicle.
“If they are ordered to replace it or give a refund, there is a formula in the statute itself that tells how it is portioned as far as the use of the vehicle before the problem showed up,” he said.
For more information, you can contact the Attorney General’s department of Consumer Affairs via telephone at (803) 734-4200.