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South Carolina Lemon Laws

There may be no better feeling than taking your new car out for a spin. And there may be no worse feeling than when that new car starts breaking down just a few weeks or even days into ownership. So what can you do when your new car starts having old car problems, and you're worried you have a "lemon" on your hands? Lucky for you, the Palmetto State has a few legal protections for new car buyers. Here are the basics of “lemon laws” in South Carolina.

State Lemon Laws

Most states have consumer protection divisions that can enforce lemon laws in order to protect for new car owners, and get them replacement cars or even refunds rather than sticking them with a malfunctioning or even nonfunctioning vehicle. South Carolina’s statutes, similar to lemon laws in other states, require dealers to replace the car or refund the purchase price if the car cannot be repaired within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles of the purchase date.

Lemon Laws in South Carolina

The chart below highlights some of South Carolina’s lemon law statutes.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 56-28-10, et seq.: Enforcement Of Motor Vehicle Express Warranties

Title of Act

Not specified

Definition of Defects

Nonconformity to all applicable express warranties which significantly affects the use, safety, or market value of vehicle

Time Limit for Manufacturer Repair

Within 1 year of purchase or first 12,000 miles of operation, whichever occurs first and if it is reported during terms of express warranty


Manufacturer's option: replace with comparable vehicle or accept return and refund 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 consumer's use of vehicle

South Carolina’s lemon law protections only cover new cars purchased from a dealership. If you’re unsure whether you’re new car is a lemon or not, there a few general lemon law guidelines:

  • Your vehicle must have a substantial nonconformity that appears within a certain time after purchase;
  • The nonconformity must be covered by a warranty; and
  • The nonconformity must continue to exist, even after a reasonable number of attempted repairs.

Related Resources for Lemon Laws

Having a broken down new car can be heartbreaking. For more articles and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw's lemon law section. If you would like legal assistance with a possible lemon law matter, you can consult with an experienced lemon law attorney in South Carolina.

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