Florida Lemon Law
Few purchases are as significant as buying a new car, and few feeling are as bad as realizing you’ve purchased a lemon. Luckily, Florida has a lemon law that protects consumers who have a defective car on their hands. Here’s a summary:
New cars: Yes
Used cars: Yes
Business vehicles: No
Leased vehicles: Yes
Lemon law period: 2 years
What is a Lemon Car Under Florida Lemon Law?
Florida lemon law covers new passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, and trucks under 10,000 pounds that are purchased in Florida. It also covers demonstrator vehicles, vehicles that are lease-purchased, and leased vehicles if the lease is for one year or more and the lessee is responsible for taking the vehicle in for repair. In addition, it covers used cars that are sold by dealers within two years of the original purchase and if both the old owner and the new owner use the vehicle for personal, family, or household purposes. In order to be considered a “lemon,” the vehicle must meet the following requirements:
- Does not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty
- Has substantial defects affecting the use, safety, or value of the vehicle
- Has manufacturer’s defects that occurred during the first two years from the original owner’s delivery date
- Has been taken in three times for the same problem or if it has been out of service for 30 business days due to a series of unrelated problems
- After the dealer has tried to repair the vehicle three times or a total of 15 days, the manufacturer has been notified and given an opportunity to repair the vehicle
Florida Statutes Chapter 681 is the state’s lemon law.
Getting Lemon Justice: Florida Lemon Law Relief
Florida lemon law provides several options for a successful lemon law claimant. First, you may be awarded a replacement vehicle of the same year, make, and model. You may also qualify for a monetary award, which can include:
- The full contract price, less any outstanding amounts owed to a lender
- Sales tax
- Registration fees
- Finance charges paid on your loan
- Cost of dealer-installed options
- Cost of extended warranty
- Non-dealer added options
- Incidental costs
- Allowance for trade-in vehicle
- Attorney’s fees
The amount of the monetary reward may be reduced by a deduction for your use of the vehicle. That deduction is calculated by taking the purchase price, less any manufacturer rebate or negative equity resulting from a trade-in, and multiplying it by the mileage on the date of the arbitration hearing, and then dividing it by 120,000. Mileage that is accrued from dealer test drives, pre-arbitration inspections, and independent inspections for the manufacturer’s informal dispute process is not included in the equation.
Pursuing a FL Lemon Law Claim
Under Florida lemon law, you must notify the manufacturer of the problem with your vehicle after the third repair attempt or after the vehicle has been out of service for 15 days, and give the manufacturer the opportunity to fix it one last time. The demand letter should be sent by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. Here’s a sample demand letter that you can adapt for your use. If your vehicle has had three or more repair attempts, the manufacturer has 10 days from the day it receives your letter to contact you and arrange an appointment for a final repair attempt.
Before you are eligible to file a Lemon Law claim in court, you must also participate in your vehicle manufacturer’s state-certified dispute resolution process (for example, arbitration, conciliation, or mediation). If your vehicle manufacturer does not have a state-certified program, you must submit your dispute to the Florida New Vehicle Arbitration Board. If you are offered a settlement through the arbitration process, you can decline the settlement and file suit.
How We Can Help
Wherever you are in the lemon law claim process, we’re happy to help. Whether you need help gathering the material documenting your lemon, submitting the final demand letter, negotiating a settlement, or suing the automaker, Lemberg Law will be at your side every step of the way.
Helping consumers is what we do. We’ve helped more than 15,000 people recover more than $35 million. You can read more about us here.
Remember that vehicle manufacturers have teams of lawyers that do nothing but fight lemon law claims. Lemon laws try to level playing field by forcing automakers to pay the consumer’s attorney fees in successful lemon law claims. That’s why our representation won’t cost you a dime.
There’s a limited window of opportunity for filing a lemon law claim. If you suspect you have a Florida lemon, give us a call today. We understand your frustration, and will do our best to deliver the justice you deserve.