If you have purchased a defective vehicle, understanding if the Florida lemon law applies to you could be the first step toward obtaining compensation. The term lemon law refers to consumer products that do not function as promised, despite numerous repairs.
The lemon law Florida has been put into place in order to protect consumers. Different states have different statutes regarding if a vehicle qualifies as a lemon. Below you’ll find a summary of the Florida lemon law, what you should do if you think your car is a lemon, and lemon law resources.
One of the main things to consider as to whether your state’s lemon law applies to your case is whether your vehicle is new vs. used. A majority of lemon law state statutes apply only to new cars. However, some states do have provisions under their used car lemon laws.
The issue is specifically linked to your vehicle’s warranty. New cars are sold with vehicle warranties that specify coverage for a specified number of miles or months. It is under the umbrella of this warranty that the lemon law generally applies. For used cars sold by dealers with warranties, coverage under the state’s lemon law may apply. If your state does not have specified lemon laws for used cars and you purchased your used car with a warranty, federal lemon laws may apply.
The following are the key aspects of the lemon law Florida. In order for your car to qualify under the lemon law, your vehicle must meet these conditions:
• The law covers vehicles sold, transferred or leased , in the state of Florida, and used primarily for personal, family or household purposes, excluding off-road vehicles, mopeds, trucks over 10,000 lbs., the living facilities of recreation vehicles, and motorcycles.
• In order to qualify, a minimum of 3 repair attempts - 30 calendar days out of service.
• The coverage period is 18 months or 24,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
If the above conditions apply to your situation and your purchased vehicle, under the lemon law Florida the manufacture or dealer is required to compensate:
• By repurchasing the motor vehicle or refunding the full purchase price to the consumer, less a reasonable offset for use
• Or, in consideration of its receipt of payment from the consumer of a reasonable offset for use, replace the motor vehicle with a replacement motor vehicle acceptable to the consumer.
• The refund or replacement must include all reasonably incurred collateral and incidental charges. However, the consumer has an unconditional right to choose a refund rather than a replacement motor vehicle.
First, if you want to consider making a lemon law claim, you’ll need to keep accurate records. Keep detailed records of all problems, repairs performed, and the amount of time your car is not available for your use while the repairs are being made. Without these documents, proving that your car qualifies as a lemon will be a challenge. If you did not collect documents when problems first arose, ask the dealer for the repair records as the dealer is required to provide this information to you.
To help you organize your documentation, click on this link for a repair log: Lemon Law Repair Log
Second, in order to potentially invoke the Florida lemon law, you must communicate with the dealer attempting to fix the vehicle that you feel your car qualifies. If the dealer is not complying, contact the manufacturer directly, detailing the problem.
When contacting the manufacturer, specifically ask for their procedure for making a lemon law claim. In the state of Florida there are specific time line requirements during which communication must occur.
A final step you can take is to hire a lemon law attorney. Requesting a review or your case by a lemon law lawyer can help determine if you qualify as well as ensure that the requirements for communication are followed.
The good news is that the attorney fees are generally free to the consumer. If an attorney who specializes in the lemon law Florida loses your case, they don’t get paid. If they win, the manufacturer pays the legal fees. Thus, if you do not feel like the dealer or manufacture has provided sufficient restitution, consulting a lemon law attorney can definitely be worth the effort.
If your situation appears to not qualify under the lemon law Florida, there may be another option. A potential resource is the federal lemon law. This statute is called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. In general it falls under the breach of warranty (BOW) theory. Restitution under this act is different than under than lemon law Florida. Instead of a refund for the defective vehicle, restitution is the difference between the Kelly blue book value of the car in excellent conditions vs. the value of the car in good or poor condition.
Again, if you are unclear if the Florida lemon law applies to your situation, a lemon law attorney can be consulted at no cost to you to review your situation and determine if the federal lemon law applies to your case.
If you have specific questions regarding the lemon law Florida, you can also contact the Attorney General’s Office at the following address:
Office of the Attorney General
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Florida Toll Free: 1-866-966-7226
You can also visit their website at: Florida Attorney General's Office
The Better Business Bureau also has a printable summary of the lemon law Florida: BBB Lemon Law State Statutes