RV Fraud & Lemon Laws
When making a vehicle purchase, a consumer wants some sort of a promise of quality that will guarantee that the expensive machine they’re buying will work properly without issues for at least a certain amount of time. This guarantee is instituted on a federal level through the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, but North Carolina also has their own laws written as well, better known as lemon laws. The good news for consumers is that these laws extend beyond simple passenger cars and trucks; they can also include recreational vehicles, or RVs, which can experience many of the same problems that cars do and more due to their large size and number of features.
If you’ve recently purchased an RV and you’ve had to bring it in for repairs of the same issue multiple times already, then you may have purchased a “lemon.” On this blog, we’ll explain what you can do, when you are eligible for a claim, and what you can expect from these cases.
North Carolina’s Lemon Laws, Explained
North Carolina passed its lemon law back in 1987 in order to better-define what was classified as a “lemon” and what consumers who get a lemon are entitled to for relief. Contrary to popular belief, North Carolina’s laws do not cover just regular passenger cars; it applies to any form of a motor vehicle with the exception of a house trailer, so long as the vehicle does not have a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more.
That may seem fairly heavy, but when it comes to the size of a vehicle, that really isn’t all that much. Class A motorhomes, the largest and most luxurious recreational vehicles, are usually anywhere from 30 to 40 feet in length and have an average weight of between 13,000 and 30,000 pounds. Class C motorhomes can even exceed this number with weights between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds. As a result, don’t be surprised if your RV does not qualify for a lemon law claim in North Carolina.
Federal RV Lemon Laws, Explained
Fortunately, you don’t have worry if North Carolina’s the federal RV lemon law also helps to cover defective RVs, as well as towable RVs like travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth-wheel trailers, and truck campers. While you do have to file these claims a little differently, you may still be able to either get a refund from the manufacturer for your vehicle or have it replaced with a brand new one.
According to the federal law, an RV becomes a lemon when two criteria are met: (1) it is still under warranty by the manufacturer or a third party that’s providing it, and (2) it has at least one problem that “substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle,” and which has not been fixed within a “reasonable” number of attempts.
That term “reasonable” is subject to some bit of interpretation, and is the reason why RV manufacturers will all fight back so fiercely against lemon law claims. “Reasonable” simply means a number of repair attempts that a problem should be expected to be repaired in. Some simple fixes may only need one shot to be repaired properly. Other, more complex problems may take a few different attempts or strategies to try and get to the bottom of the issue. If repair attempts move beyond this number to the point where you lose confidence that the issue will ever be properly fixed, the warranty on your vehicle will be breached and you’ll be able to file a lemon claim!
How to File a Claim
If you suspect your vehicle may be a lemon, take a look back through your records and gather all correspondence you’ve had with the manufacturer about your issues, plus all records of service and any invoices you’ve had to pay. You’ll need this to demonstrate how many times an issue has emerged, and to prove how many visits were for the same repair issue. You should also contact a North Carolina lemon law attorney for help with creating and filing your claim with the appropriate authorities.
When your lemon law claim is accepted, you’ll generally have two options. First, you’ll have the opportunity to get a brand new RV (of the same make, model, and year if possible) to replace the defective one. You could also choose to get your money back and walk away from the deal entirely. Manufacturers and dealers will often try to steer you towards taking the new vehicle as it costs them less in the long run, however remember that you have the final say in which option you take. You may also be able to have the dealer and manufacturer pay your attorney fees as a part of the federal lemon law as well, should your claim be accepted.If you think your RV may a lemon, don’t hesitate to review your case and see if your issue qualifies. Call The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor today at (828) 266-0216 to request a case evaluation.