Lemon Law - South Carolina
Lemon Law - "Lemon
law" is that body of state law which defines an automobile
owners rights when the manufacturer is not able to repair the
automobile within the limits specified. In
such cases, the automobile is referred to as a "lemon",
and is subject to the conditions of the state lemon law.
Your Lemon Law
These pages are created to inform and educate the public about lemon
law and under the lemon law in your state. They are not and
should not be considered legal opinions or advice as to whether you
have rights under lemon law or whether you should pursue "a
lemon law case". If after reading this information,
you believe you qualify, you should seek the advice and counsel of
an attorney specializing in lemon law in your state. Remember
that each state's lemon laws vary.
As used in this chapter:
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
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.
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.
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
"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 vehicles.
Forms; records to be made
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
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
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
(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
Information to be provided to
consumers; obligations of manufacturer; costs and attorney's fees;
(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
(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
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
Reimbursement from dealer
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
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
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