Many consumers are overwhelmed by recurring vehicle problems that never seem to get fixed. Fortunately, states with lemon laws exist to help protect these consumers.
Florida’s lemon law requires manufacturers to repurchase new vehicles that are unreasonably difficult to repair within the first 24 months of ownership or lease. Manufacturers must also repay reasonable incidental charges directly caused by the non-conformity and a statutory offset for use.
The Florida Lemon Law is a legal provision that provides consumer protection to individuals who purchase or lease new or demonstrator motor vehicles that turn out to be defective. The law allows consumers to seek remedies if their vehicles have recurring problems or issues that substantially impair their use, value, or safety.
How Does the Law Work?
Typically, state lemon laws offer car buyers a process for getting compensation from manufacturers for faulty cars that don’t meet specific requirements. Florida’s lemon law statute, also known as the Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act, requires car manufacturers to repurchase new vehicles with severe defects or recurring problems that the manufacturer has been unable to fix in a reasonable amount of time. Consumers should contact a lawyer registered with the state bar association or visit a local Department of Motor Vehicles to learn more about the qualifications, rights, and processes of filing a lemon law claim.
The statute applies to new and demonstrator vehicles sold or leased in the state for transporting persons or property. It does not apply to vehicles that run on tracks, off-road vehicles, trucks with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds, mopeds, motorcycles, the living facilities of recreational vehicles, and the transportation of passengers for charter.
To qualify for Lemon Law relief, the vehicle must have a significant defect or recurring problem that the dealer and other mechanics cannot fix. Consumers must follow strict time limits for filing lemon law claims.
How Do I Know if My Vehicle is a Lemon?
In most states, a vehicle qualifies as a lemon if it needs multiple repairs only partially fixed within a specific period after its purchase or lease. This period varies by state, but it generally includes the first 24 months after you get your new car or 24,000 miles driven, whichever comes first. The problems must be severe, affecting the use or value of the vehicle and not just regular wear and tear.
To qualify for a refund, you must notify the manufacturer about the problem and give them reasonable repair attempts. Once you have given the manufacturer a chance to fix the problem, you must keep track of all the dates and times you took your vehicle in for repairs or were out of commission.
If your vehicle meets the requirements of Florida’s lemon law, you could be eligible for repair or replacement options, including a full refund. Working with a Florida lemon law attorney who can help you navigate this complex legal process and understand your options is critical.
What Are the Remedy Options?
Lemon law provides consumers with various legal remedies if their vehicle has several non-conformities that cannot be resolved despite the manufacturer making reasonable reports. Depending on state law, these remedies can include refunds or replacement vehicles. Before a consumer files a lemon law lawsuit, they must typically participate in the manufacturer’s informal dispute resolution process, referred to as arbitration. This involves submitting documentation to an arbitrator who either decides or sends the matter back for further review. A lemon law attorney can significantly improve a consumer’s chances of success when seeking compensation.
What is Covered by the Law?
The law provides refund and replacement remedies to consumers who can prove they own or lease a vehicle with one or more manufacturing defects that substantially impair the car’s value, use, or safety. These defects must be persistent and have been subject to multiple repair attempts within the warranty period, 24 months from purchase or 24,000 miles on the odometer, whichever comes first.
The Lemon law applies to new and used cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, and boats with factory-installed motors. It does not apply to vehicles damaged in an accident or by weather, nor covers trucks with a gross vehicle weight over 10,000 pounds or living facilities on recreational vehicles.
When pursuing a claim, precise record keeping can help Florida lemon law lawyers craft claims more likely to be successful for consumers. This includes detailed account records spanning retailer-consumer interactions through bills, invoices, and contract copies.
If a consumer’s case succeeds, the manufacturer will agree to replace the vehicle or provide a full refund. Refunds and replacements will include the payment by the manufacturer of collateral charges (reasonable expenses directly caused by the substantial defect) and towing and rental fees. In some cases, the manufacturer may also require an offset for mileage, which considers the time the vehicle was out of service for repairs due to its being a lemon.