When purchasing a car, customers must put trust in their dealership to provide them with a vehicle that is free of defects. However, some drivers may still end up with a defective car, despite their best efforts. These vehicles are known as “lemons.”
Lemon Law in Florida Overview
Happily, federal and state lemon car laws protect customers in the instance that they purchase a lemon. US News explains that these laws vary from state to state. In Florida, the lemon law protects buyers of new vehicles, almost new vehicles, and some recreational vehicles from the costs associated with repairing a lemon.
How Does the Lemon Law in Florida Work?
In Florida, if your vehicle is a lemon, the vehicle’s manufacturer is required to give you a replacement vehicle or provide a full refund for the full purchase price of the vehicle. The consumer has the right to choose which remedy they wish to receive. Reportedly, both the replacement vehicle benefit and the payment benefit must include compensation for expenses.
For a vehicle to be deemed a lemon, the vehicle must meet certain standards and you must take specific action.
A vehicle is classified a lemon if it does not conform to the express written warranty provided by the manufacturer, and the manufacturer is unable to fix the problem with the vehicle. You must have the right to enforce the vehicle’s warranty. Only personal, household, or family use vehicles may be considered lemons.
If your new (or nearly new) vehicle has had significant problems, and a “reasonable number of repair attempts” were made, it may qualify as a lemon. Specifically, the lemon law in Florida considers a vehicle to be a lemon if it meets one of two conditions: the manufacturer or authorized service provider has tried three times to fix the vehicle and has failed, or if the vehicle has spent a cumulative 30 days in the shop to be repaired.
If the vehicle is a recreational vehicle, this number rises to 60 days.
Does the Law Only Apply to New Cars?
The lemon law in Florida applies to new and demonstrator vehicles, which are vehicles driven by the dealership but not registered with the state. Auto Blog cautions drivers considering purchasing a demo vehicle, noting that they may have hidden wear and tear that could be costly later on. Though sometimes demo vehicles come at a discount, their possible problems may not be worth the savings.
New vehicles included under Florida law are those purchased or leased from a dealer in Florida. Additionally, some used cars are included in the law, in limited circumstances. Your vehicle may be covered under the Florida lemon law if you purchased it in state from the vehicle’s first owner within 24 months of the first owner’s original purchase of the vehicle. Autos whose problem is caused by a car accident are not eligible.
What Can You Do If You Have a Lemon?
To file a claim under the lemon law in Florida, a driver must have fulfilled a number of requirements. Taking these actions in a timely manner will help you have the best shot of receiving compensation for a lemon.
You must provide a notice to the manufacturer about the problem within 24 months after you received the vehicle. If the manufacturer makes the required three attempts at repair but the vehicle is still in disrepair, you then must send another notice. This notice will give the manufacturer one last chance to fix the problem before you file a claim under the lemon law.
The Florida Office of the Attorney General says at this point the manufacturer has 10 days to connect a consumer with an accessible repair facility, and 10 days after the vehicle is taken to the repair facility to fix it.
Even after sending this notice, you may have to participate in an arbitration with the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board or participate in out-of-court dispute resolution before you can file a claim.
Problems Covered by Florida Lemon Law
According to the Better Business Bureau, problems covered by Florida lemon law include defects or conditions that substantially impair the value, safety, or use of the vehicle. These problems are called “nonconformities” and must also not conform to the warranty that applies to the vehicle.
While the state’s lemon laws apply to new cars and trucks, it does not apply to motorcycles, mopeds, off-road vehicles, vehicles that run on tracks, and trucks that are over 10,000 pounds, notes the BBB. The law does not cover the living facilities of recreational vehicles, as well.
Remedies Under Florida Lemon Law
Consumers who can show that they purchased a lemon can be entitled to certain remedies or damages under the state’s lemon law, according to the BBB. Specifically, carmakers must provide the following to the lemon owner:
- The purchase price of the vehicle
- Sales taxes
- Service charges
- Charges for installed items
- Earned finance charges
- Costs caused by the nonconformity
The BBB warns that the purchase price does not include the debt from a trade-in or previous vehicle, however. In addition, lemon law awards can be subject to a number of deductions, called “offsets.” Offsets take into account the use of the vehicle by the consumer and are calculated using the number of miles the owner drove.
Lessees are able to recover the basic repurchase amount of lemons, notes the BBB. This includes the cost to the lessee and reasonably incurred additional and incidental charges. The lessees’ award is also subject to deductions.
In addition, lemon owners can get a replacement vehicle under Florida lemon law. According to the BBB, the replacement must be identical or a reasonable equivalent to the lemon.
Do You Need a Lemon Law Florida Attorney?
You may want to seek the help of a Florida lemon law attorney to help you best understand Florida’s lemon law and file a claim, if necessary. The law makes specific time requirements of both drivers and manufacturers, and an experienced lawyer can help you work through the technicalities. A lawyer can also help you gather documentation necessary to help you make your case.
If you do find that you must participate in an arbitration or dispute resolution, a lawyer can help advocate for you. Similarly, if you end up filing a lawsuit, a lawyer can help you build the strongest case possible. Their help can ensure that you have the best chance at getting the compensation for your car that you deserve.
Join a Free Lemon Law Defective Vehicle Investigation
You may qualify for this Lemon Law investigation under the following circumstances:
- You purchased your vehicle new;
- Your purchased your vehicle in 2018-2020;
- Your vehicle is still under warranty;
- You have taken your vehicle in for repair several times; and
- It is still having the same problem.
(Note: Residents of North Carolina do not qualify for this investigation.)
See if you qualify by filling out the form on this page for a case evaluation by experienced Lemon Law lawyers or call (877) 289-0615.
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