May 26, 2016

South Carolina Vehicle Identification Numbers
Where do you get a VIN check in the state of South Carolina?

The state of South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has a DMV Inquiry Search Vehicle Title Inquiry search page which is accessible on the Internet; however, in order to use the feature you must have a SC.gov subscription. The SC.gov subscription also gives one access to the DMV Lien Inquiry, and the DMV License Plate Inquiry; however the requirements to become a subscriber are somewhat strict. You must be a monthly account holder and you must fill out the “South Carolina Interactive Subscriber Agreement” and the “Personal Information Release Agreement” which is essentially South Carolina’s version of the Driver Privacy Protection Act.

In order to get access to the License Plate Inquiry or the Lien Inquiry you must also send a cover letter with the following information included:

  • Use Company Letterhead;
  • Include the Company FEIN#;
  • Include the Reason for performing searches;
  • Any extra information listed in brackets on the DPPA, following the exemption code; and
  • It must be signed by an officer of the Company.

If you are able to meet those criteria, then the annual fee is $75.00 and is billed monthly. It is easier to register online, although your registration won’t be approved until your “South Carolina Interactive Subscriber Agreement” and “Personal Information Release Agreement” are approved. You are also able to register by mail or fax.

South Carolina Interactive, LLC

1301 Gervais Street, Suite 710

Columbia, SC 29201

Fax: 803-771-7660

You are able to transfer a title online, through the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Titles and Registration page, but this can only be done if you are transferring the title between two people who are already in the SC DMV system. You can go to a local SCDMV branch, or can mail all of the documents, including and fees or payments due to the state, to:

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

P.O. Box 1498

Blythewood, SC 29016


In South Carolina, the lemon law falls under the Department of Consumer Affairs:

South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs

221 Devine Street

Suite 200

Columbia, SC 29205



Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 5757

Columbia, SC 29250

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Inquiry Login

SCI Subscriber Registration

Benefits of a SC.gov Registration

South Carolina Interactive Subscriber Agreement

Personal Information Release Agreement

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, Titles and Registration

Find a local branch of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles payment and fees

Title Application – FORM 400 – South Carolina DMV Form

Email for the SCDMV: help@scdmvonline.com

South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs contact information

Should I perform additional motor vehicle history or VIN checks on a vehicle in South Carolina?

Yes, definitely. While it is good to know the current title information on a car, knowing the history is very important. There are quite a few companies which run VIN and/or license plate checks in the state of South Carolina, some of which cost money and some which provide a certain number of free searches per IP address in a 24 hour period.

One of the more complete VIN checks that you can get is from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. NMVTIS is a database which provides data on cars that have been in recycling yards, junkyards, and salvage yards. They provide information in five key areas which are associated with auto fraud and theft:

  1. Current State Title and Last Title Date;
  2. Brand History – these are descriptive labels applied by motor vehicle titling agencies and include the terms “junk,” “salvage,” and “flood.” This helps protect consumers from purchasing a damaged vehicle without knowing the condition of the car. In South Carolina, which allows consumers to purchase “rebuilt” cars, knowing the history and the “brand” of a car may save you from paying far more than a vehicle is worth or from buying a vehicle which is unsafe or has the potential to be unsafe due to its history;
  3. Odometer Reading – people have been known to “roll the odometer back” to decrease the appearance of miles on a vehicle. This makes the vehicle appear to be worth more than it is worth, and it may also cause a consumer to purchase a vehicle which is unsafe. Odometer readings are recorded at the transfer of the title, so it can be a useful tool to check for any discrepancies of the vehicle’s history;
  4. Total Loss History – when a vehicle has been declared a total loss it has had severe damage. Knowing this information could save a consumer from paying more than what the vehicle is worth or from purchasing a vehicle which is unsafe; and
  5. Salvage History – vehicles with a salvage history have had severe damage. Knowing this information could save you money or save you from purchasing a car that is unsafe.

The data reported to NMVTIS must be reported on every vehicle which they receive into inventory each month and includes:

  • The name, address, and contact information for the reporting entity;
  • VIN;
  • Date the automobile was obtained;
  • Name of the individual or entity from whom automobile was obtained (this information is only to be used by law enforcement and other government agencies);
  • A statement of whether the automobile was crushed or disposed of, offered for sale, or other purposes; and
  • Whether the vehicle is intended for export out of the United States.

The public can’t access the NTMVIS database, but you can use one of the services which can access it and you should. Some of the ones that are advertised on the NTMVIS website include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Clearvin.com
  • Vinaudit.com
  • Instavin.com
  • Titlecheck.us
  • Vinsmart.com

There is also a database, VINcheck, which is run by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and recommended by the state of South Carolina. They provide VIN checks to the public which will tell you if the car has been reported stolen and not found, and if the vehicle has been in a salvage yard. South Carolina also recommends using a private agency, i.e. Carfax, for a vehicle history check, conducting a physical inspection, taking the car on a test drive, and getting an independent inspection.

If you purchase a car and believe that you have been the victim of fraud you are asked to contact the National Insurance Crime Board by:

  • Texting the keyword “FRAUD” to TIP411 (847411);
  • Call 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422); or
  • Submit a form online.

Consumers can file complaints with the state of South Carolina through the Department of Consumer Affairs online or by calling 1-800-922-1594.



Consumer Protection Unit complaint form for South Carolina

Lemon Law in South Carolina

The lemon law in the State of South Carolina became effective on October 3, 1989 and can be found in the South Carolina Code Ann. §§ 56-28-10 through 56-28-110. They fall under the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs.

The lemon law in South Carolina covers any “motor vehicle” sold and registered in the state. “Motor vehicle” is defined as a private passenger motor vehicle which is:

  1. A motor vehicle designed and used for the transportation of ten (10) or less people; and
  2. Trucks having an empty weight of 9,000 pounds or less and a gross weight of 11,000 pounds or less;

Motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, the living portion of recreational vehicles, and off-road vehicles are not covered under the lemon law in South Carolina, while vehicle converters are covered.

The lemon law covers the following consumers:

  • The purchaser, including a lessor, of a motor vehicle which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes and is subject to the manufacturer’s express warranty. The vehicle must have not been purchased with the intent to resell; and
  • Any other person entitled by the warranty to enforce its obligations.

This appears to mean that while the lemon law may not expressly cover used cars, it would cover a new car which is transferred to another owner if it was transferred early enough so that it was still under the terms of the original manufacturer’s warranty.

The lemon law covers any nonconformity, defined as a defect or a condition that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. Vehicles which are not covered by the Lemon Law include those which:

  • The problems or issues with the vehicle do not impact the vehicle’s use or its value; and
  • The problem is a result of neglect, abuse, or vehicle alterations performed by persons other than the manufacturer or its authorized service agent.

If the new vehicle doesn’t conform to all applicable express warranties within the first twelve months after the purchase or the first 12,000 miles – whichever comes first – and the consumer reports this to the manufacturer or its agent during the terms of the express warranty, then the manufacturer or its agent must make the necessary repairs to conform the vehicle to the express warranties. This is known as the “manufacturer’s duty to repair.”

If the manufacturer, its agents or authorized dealers are unable to conform the vehicle to the express warranty by repairing or correcting any nonconformity or defect after a reasonable number of repair attempts during the period of the express warranty, the manufacturer must either replace or repurchase the vehicle.

The state of South Carolina has established that a “reasonable number of repair attempts” has been undertaken if any of the following occurs:

  1. The same problem has been subject to repair three or more times by the manufacturer or its agents, but the problem continues to exist; or
  2. The motor vehicle is out of service due to repair for a cumulative total of thirty (30) or more calendar days.

Before the consumer can file a lemon law claim, they must notify the manufacturer, in writing, by registered, certified, or express mail, of the need of the repair and to allow the manufacturer a final opportunity to repair the defect. This does not apply unless the manufacturer informed the consumer, at the time of the sale of the vehicle, that a written notification of a nonconformity would be necessary. After receiving the notification, the manufacturer has ten (10) business days to notify the consumer of a repair facility which is reasonably accessible repair facility of a franchised new vehicle dealer to fix the vehicle. Once the vehicle has arrived at the repair facility, the manufacturer has up to ten (10) business days to repair the vehicle.

If the manufacturer has established an informal dispute settlement procedure that complies with 16 C.F.R. Part 703, or if they participate in a consumer-industry appeals, arbitration, mediation panel or board whose decisions are binding on the manufacturer then the consumer must first utilize one of these settlement procedures before the manufacturer is forced to either replace or refund the consumer’s money.

The Better Business Bureau AUTO LINE is often the entity in charge of the arbitration process and the same is true in the state of South Carolina. The following manufacturers have an informal dispute resolution process which meets the standards set by the South Carolina law and operates in the state of South Carolina:

  • Audi, Bentley, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC Truck, Hyundai, Indian Motorcycle, Infiniti, Kia, Land Rover, Lincoln, Lotus, Mazda, Mercury, Nissan, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, smart USA, Volkswagen, and Workhorse Custom Chassis.

If you decide to take any action against the manufacturer, then you must do so within three years of the date of the original delivery of the vehicle.

South Carolina State Lemon Law Information

Better Business Bureau AUTO LINE South Carolina

Consumer Protection Unit complaint form for South Carolina

Do you need to hire an attorney for a lemon law case in South Carolina?

No, it is not necessary to hire an attorney but it may be a wise decision it may be a wise decision depending on the amount of time that you are able to commit to fighting a large company and your knowledge of the law and the legal system. It is important to remember that the manufacturer of the car and the dealers will have legal experts on their side and you might want the same kind of expertise on your side.

A lawyer will represent you in court, but they will also:

  • Explain the lemon law in the state of South Carolina to you and help you to understand both the process and the possible outcomes;
  • Help you to gather all the necessary documents;
  • Help to ensure that the manufacturer is treating you fairly;
  • Help save you time by handling the communication and other actions on your behalf; and
  • Help you to navigate the courts and the legal terms.

If you do not have an attorney already you should ask friends and family for referrals or even ask attorneys who specialize in other areas for a recommendation for a lemon law attorney. If nothing else, the South Carolina Bar Association has a lawyer referral service.

You are searching for an attorney who:

  • Seek experienced attorneys – A South Carolina lawyer who specializes in lemon law cases will have specialized knowledge in relevant South Carolina laws and procedures;
  • Comes highly recommended – ask friends and family if they know any good attorneys. Ask for a recommendation from people you know who may have worked with lemon law lawyers before;
  • Schedule a consultation – book a free consultation with a few lemon law attorneys so that you can learn more about them and their experience; and
  • Ask about their fees – Make sure that you understand how much the attorney charges and when you will be expected to pay (up front, installments, after the case, or do they take the case on a contingency basis?)

South Carolina State Bar Association

South Carolina Lawyer Referral Service

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
122 Park Rd
1 803-356-8537

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
228 Oneil Ct
1 803-419-9403

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
509 Liberty St
1 803-532-5285

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
415 Chestnut St
1 803-874-1950

10311 Wilson Blvd
1 803-896-5000

South Carolina DMV
341 Lacey St
1 803-245-0837

South Carolina Department Of Motor Vehicles
430 S Pike E
1 803-775-8559

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles – Camden Dmv
1056 Ehrenclou Dr
1 803-432-4340

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles – Greenwood
510 W Alexander Ext
1 864-227-6434

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
1630 Shop Rd
1 803-737-8350

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
1711 Ascauga Lake Rd
1 803-896-5000

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
15 Sheridan Park Cir
1 843-815-6981

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
331 US-29 #1
1 864-260-2205

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
3102 E Palmetto St
1 843-317-4007

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
1694 Pageland Hwy
1 803-286-4859

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
8794 Fairforest Rd
1 864-587-4713

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
180 Lockwood Boulevard
1 843-727-6477

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
610 Arlington Rd
1 864-801-9375

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
1119 Wappoo Rd
1 843-769-5879

Motor Vehicles Department
3790 Leeds Ave
1 843-740-6168

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
300 University Ridge #105
1 864-241-1145

10311 Wilson Blvd
1 803-896-5000

South Carolina DMV
123 O’Neil
1 864-338-5114

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
107 State Hwy 57 N #4
1 843-399-5567

Bennettsville DMV
337 SC-9
1 843-479-0785

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
1016 State Rd S-40-2805
1 803-749-9041

Department Motor Vehicles
13009 S Radio Station Rd
1 864-882-8698

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
102 Mable T Willis Blvd
1 843-538-7248

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
1000 N Pinckney St
1 864-427-9278

Department of Motor Vehicles
275 Mt Bethel Garmany Rd
1 803-276-4816

DMV Office
351 S Main St
1 864-476-5913

Motor Vehicles Division
728 S Ron McNair Blvd
1 843-394-7902

St. George DMV Office
5315 E Jim Bilton Blvd
1 843-563-6130

Motor Vehicles Department – Orangeburg
1720 Charleston Hwy
1 803-531-6866

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
445 N U.S. Hwy 52
1 843-761-5385

Motor Vehicles Department
1189 Sweetgrass Basket Pkwy #500
1 843-884-9760

SC Department Of Motor Vehicles
2133 Gentry Memorial Hwy
1 864-878-1396

Dept of Motor Vehicles
3721 Alex Harvin Hwy
1 803-473-3432

Ladson DMV
135 Wimberly Dr
1 843-572-7854

Department of Motor Vehicles
451 Hyatt St
1 864-488-1386

Department of Motor Vehicles
1310 N Main St
1 864-967-4013

Department of Motor Vehicles
390 Fairgrounds Rd
1 864-682-3213

Motor Vehicles Department
214 Ridge St
1 843-527-8730

Department of Motor Vehicles Beaufort
802 29906, 28 State Spur S-7-802
1 843-379-8822

Department of Motor Vehicles
1755 Richland Ave E
1 803-641-7752

Vehicle License Sales Tags
305 Hands Mill Hwy
1 803-329-6332

Chesterfield DMV Office
100 Laney St
1 843-623-3541

Department of Motor Vehicles
1625 Southport Rd
1 864-594-4940
Closed today

South Carolina Department of Transportation
1400 Shop Rd
1 803-737-6660

South Carolina Department of Transportation
955 Park St
1 803-737-2314

South Carolina Department of Transportation
8890 Fairforest Rd
1 864-587-4720

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
521 S Sandhills Blvd
1 910-944-7555

Concord License Plate Agency
929 Concord Pkwy S
1 704-723-4991

DMV Driver’s License Office
4650 Kahn Dr
1 910-618-5551

Driver’s License Offices
2314 S Main St
1 336-248-5179

DMV – Driver License Office
831 Elm St
1 910-484-6249

DMV Offices
85 Boone Trail
1 336-903-1283

Motor Vehicle Department
2390 Carolina Beach Rd # 4
1 910-251-5747
Open until 5:30 PM

DMV-Driver’s License
131 S Fuquay Ave
1 919-552-1895

8446 N Tryon St
1 704-527-2562
Permanently closed

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