Florida Lemon Laws

Lemon Laws in Florida

In a state known for growing lemons, Florida Lemon Laws are actually meant to protect car buyers and not citrus farmers. The farmers have their own set of laws. For car buyers, the Lemon law covers only new cars that were bought in the state. A new car is defined as a car that is still under the manufacturer’s basic warranty.

Chapter 681, Florida Statutes, provides remedies for consumers who purchase or lease new or demonstrator motor vehicles with “nonconformities” that have not been corrected by the manufacturer, or its authorized service agent (typically a dealership), “within a reasonable number of repair attempts.”

The lemon laws also apply to lease cars if the driver is responsible for any repair costs. What the Florida Lemon Laws won’t cover are any trucks that tip the scales at 10,000 pounds, ATVs, motorcycles, mopeds, or RVs. For everyone else with a car that’s not working and can’t be fixed, you may be eligible for a replacement or refund. First, you’ll need to qualify.

Who is Covered by Florida Lemon Law?

The Florida Lemon Law is a consumer protection law that covers individuals who have purchased or leased a new or demonstrator vehicle that is found to have a serious defect or malfunction. The law also covers individuals who have purchased a used vehicle that is still under the manufacturer’s original warranty.

In Florida, the Lemon Law covers cars, trucks, and motorcycles, as well as motorhomes and recreational vehicles that are self-propelled. The law also covers vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds and were purchased or leased for personal or family use.

It’s important to note that the Lemon Law does not cover vehicles that were purchased for business or commercial use, such as fleet vehicles. Additionally, the law does not cover defects or malfunctions that are the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications made by the owner.

Florida Lemon Law Qualifications

Most people consider a lemon car to be a car that constantly breaks down even when it’s new. That’s basically right, but these breakdowns need to be something that can be traced back to the manufacturer’s error. It can’t be the result of an accident you might have been involved in or neglect.

To qualify as a lemon car, there are a few conditions that must be met.

  1. The vehicle must have been taken in for repairs at least three times for the same issue within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles of ownership (whichever comes first).
  2. The car must have been out of service for a total of 15 days or more within that same time frame due to the same recurring issue.
  3. The issue in question must be a significant defect that affects the safety, value, or use of the vehicle.

Minor issues or wear and tear are not covered by the Florida Lemon Law.

To get the Florida Lemon Law process rolling, you will have to report the defect with your car within the first two years of taking ownership. You will also have to have made what they call a “reasonable number of repair attempts.” In Florida, “reasonable” means at least three times. If the defect in question has also prevented you from being able to use the car for at least thirty days (not in a row) then you might also qualify for remedy.

You will have to notify the original car manufacturer of the problem by certified mail. They will have the option to try one last attempt at fixing your car before the next step. That next step will be an arbitration hearing.

Florida Lemon Law Arbitration Hearing

The only time you should go to arbitration is if the carmaker hasn’t lived up to their end of the bargain. They might have their own internal lemon car replacement policies. Of course, that doesn’t mean they always use them. Once you feel that the carmaker isn’t doing what it should be doing, you can present your case to the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board. This is controlled by the State Attorney General.

After your case has been approved for arbitration, you’ll be allowed to present your evidence of the defect and repair attempts to a panel consisting of three arbitrators. The more written detail you have, the stronger your case will be. Not only should this include your own notes, but also any statements and repair invoices from the mechanic.

The carmaker also will be presenting their own side, but this isn’t like a “Law & Order” trial. You don’t need a lawyer to make your case. If the board rules in your favor then you get to pick whether you want a replacement car or total refund. The rulings are final unless there is an appeal. The carmaker has 30 days to file an appeal. If they don’t, they’ll need to rectify the situation within 40 days.

What are Your Options Under Florida Lemon Law?

If you have purchased a vehicle in Florida that has turned out to be a “lemon” – a vehicle with recurring defects that impair its safety, value, or use – then you have options under Florida Lemon Law. The law provides for a range of remedies to be afforded to consumers who find themselves in this position, including a refund, replacement, or repurchase of the defective vehicle.

If you choose to pursue a refund, then the manufacturer will be required to buy back the vehicle from you at its full purchase price. This includes any down payment, trade-in value, and the loan payoff amount. The manufacturer will also be required to pay for any associated costs such as taxes, registration fees, and finance charges.

If you choose to pursue a replacement, then the manufacturer will be required to provide you with a new vehicle with an equivalent value to the defective one. The replacement vehicle must be of the same make and model, and any options or accessories that were included in the original purchase must also be included in the replacement.

If you choose to pursue a repurchase, then the manufacturer will be required to buy back the vehicle from you at its full purchase price minus any allowance for use. This means that the manufacturer will deduct a certain amount for the miles you put on the vehicle before discovering the defect.

How to Prove Your Case Under Florida Lemon Law?

To prove your case under Florida Lemon Law, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that the vehicle you purchased has a problem that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety. This is the first key element to proving your case.

You’ll need to show that the manufacturer was given a reasonable amount of time or number of attempts to fix the problem. In Florida, there is a presumption that the manufacturer has had a reasonable number of attempts to repair the problem if they have attempted to repair the same problem three or more times, or if the vehicle has been out of service for repairs for a cumulative total of 15 or more days.

It’s important to keep detailed records of any repair attempts, including dates, descriptions of the problem, and any repair work that was done. If possible, it’s a good idea to get written documentation from the dealership or repair shop detailing what work was done and the outcome of the repair attempt.

Having these records will help you to build a strong case and demonstrate to the manufacturer that you are serious about seeking a resolution to the problem. If you can prove that your vehicle meets the criteria for a lemon under Florida law, then you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle.

What are the Remedies Available Under Florida Lemon Law?

If you buy or lease a defective vehicle in Florida, you may be entitled to compensation under the Florida Lemon Law. The remedies available under the law include a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price, which includes any finance charges, registration fees, and taxes, minus a reasonable allowance for the use of the vehicle.

If you choose to receive a replacement vehicle, the manufacturer is responsible for providing a vehicle that is identical or substantially similar to the vehicle you purchased. In addition, the manufacturer is responsible for paying all taxes and fees associated with the replacement vehicle, including the cost of transferring the registration and any sales tax due.

If you choose a refund, the manufacturer is required to refund the full purchase price of the vehicle, including any finance charges, registration fees, and taxes. However, the manufacturer is allowed to deduct a reasonable allowance for the use of the vehicle, which is calculated based on the number of miles driven before the defect was discovered.

It’s important to note that if you choose a replacement vehicle, the manufacturer has the right to deduct a reasonable allowance for the use of the defective vehicle before providing you with a replacement. In addition, the manufacturer is not required to provide a replacement or refund if the defect is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications to the vehicle.

What You Should Do If Your Car is a Lemon in Florida?

If you’ve bought a car that turns out to be a lemon, it can be frustrating and stressful. Fortunately, Florida has lemon laws in place to protect consumers in such situations.

The first thing you should do is notify the manufacturer or dealer that you have a lemon vehicle. This should be done in writing, and you should keep a copy of the letter for your records. The manufacturer or dealer is then required to either offer a repair or replacement of the vehicle.

If the manufacturer or dealer is unable to repair or replace the lemon vehicle, you have the right to file a claim under Florida Lemon Law. This process involves filing a formal complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. You will need to provide evidence that the car is a lemon, such as repair invoices, work orders, and any other documentation related to the vehicle’s history and defects.

After filing a claim, the manufacturer or dealer will have one final opportunity to repair or replace the vehicle. If they are still unable to do so, you may be entitled to a refund or a replacement vehicle.

FAQs on Florida Lemon Laws

What qualifies for lemon law in Florida?

The Florida Lemon Law covers any new motor vehicle purchased or leased in the state of Florida. A new motor vehicle must conform to the manufacturer’s applicable express warranties and must not be out of service due to warranty repairs for a cumulative total of 30 or more business days during the first year after delivery to the consumer.

Does Florida have a lemon law on used cars?

Unfortunately, no. The Florida Lemon Law does not apply to used vehicles. However, buyers of used vehicles may still be protected under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. This federal law requires manufacturers to honor warranties on items sold as ‘new’, including used vehicles.

What does the Florida lemon law cover?

The Florida Lemon Law covers any new motor vehicle purchased or leased in the state of Florida. This includes both passenger cars and light trucks. The Lemon Law also applies to any defects that significantly impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.

How much is the Lemon Law in Florida?

In the event of a successful claim, buyers may be entitled to a refund of their purchase price minus a deduction for usage, or a replacement car of comparable value and model. Additional compensation for damages may also be available depending on the individual case.

How long can you return a used car in Florida?

Unfortunately, there is no specific return period for used cars in Florida. However, you may still be protected under legislation such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act mentioned above.

Can I sue a used car dealership in Florida?

You may be able to file a lawsuit if the dealership has engaged in fraudulent behavior such as failing to provide accurate information about the vehicle’s condition or misrepresenting the terms of purchase. You should contact an attorney in your area to learn more about your legal options.

Does Florida have buyers remorse law?

Yes. In certain circumstances, buyers can cancel their contract within 3 days of purchasing a vehicle as long as they have not already taken possession of it. Other restrictions may also apply, so please consult with an attorney to learn more about your rights and obligations under this law.

Can a dealership sell an unsafe vehicle in Florida?

No. Under state law, dealerships cannot sell vehicles that are deemed unsafe by the manufacturer or that fail to meet emission control standards. If you believe you have purchased an unsafe vehicle, contact the dealership immediately and notify them of your concerns.

How to file a complaint against a car dealership in Florida?

If you would like to file a complaint against a dealership in Florida, you can do so through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The DHSMV provides an online complaint form to allow consumers to report unethical or misleading practices at nearby dealerships.

Can I sue a dealership for selling me a lemon in Florida?

Yes, under the terms of the Lemon Law in Florida, you may be entitled to financial compensation for a defective new vehicle purchased or leased in Florida. You should contact an attorney to determine if you qualify for legal remedies under this law.

What happens if you buy a car from a dealer and it breaks down in Florida?

Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to financial compensation if your car breaks down soon after purchase or lease. Please consult with an attorney in your area to discuss your individual case and learn more about the legal remedies available to you.

What is the law on car dealerships in Florida?

The laws governing car dealerships in Florida are numerous and complex. Different laws may apply depending on whether a buyer purchases new or used vehicles, whether they pay cash or financing, and how quickly they take possession of the vehicle. Generally speaking, all dealerships must disclose important information about each vehicle listed for sale – such as make, model year, odometer reading, and any repairs made – as well as inform customers of their right to receive copies of any written warranties included with purchase.

How to Hire an Attorney for Your Florida Lemon Law Claim?

When dealing with a Florida Lemon Law claim, it is always recommended to hire an attorney who specializes in this area of law. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate with the manufacturer or dealer, and ensure that your rights are protected.

When looking for an attorney, it is important to choose one who has experience handling Lemon Law cases specifically in Florida. Check their credentials, read reviews from previous clients, and make sure you feel comfortable with their communication style and approach to handling your case.

During your initial consultation, be sure to ask the attorney about their experience in handling Lemon Law cases and their success rate. Ask about the fees they charge for their services and whether they work on a contingency basis (meaning they only get paid if you win your case).

It’s also important to ask about their communication policy and how often they will be in touch with you to update you on the progress of your case. A good Lemon Law attorney will be transparent about their communication style and be available to answer any questions or concerns you may have throughout the process.

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