Florida Lemon Law covers the motorized portion of new recreational vehicles (motor homes), but not the living quarters. In order to be considered a "lemon," the RV must meet the following requirements:
Under Florida Lemon Law, you must notify each manufacturer that may provide warranty coverage of the problem with your RV after the third repair attempt or after the vehicle has been out of service for 15 days, and give the manufacturer(s) the opportunity to fix the problems one last time. You can download Florida's Motor Vehicle Defect Notification here.
Once you download the form, you need to print multiple copies of the form. Complete the form and mail one, either by registered mail or Express mail, return receipt requested, to each manufacturer. Keep one copy, along with your mail receipt, for your records. Send the third copy to Office of the Attorney General, Lemon Law Research Unit, The Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050.
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.
If your vehicle has been out of service 15 days, once you get the return receipt for your letter you should take your vehicle in to the dealer for inspection or repair (the dealer's or manufacturer's choice) at least one more time. Make sure to get a repair order, as you will need it for arbitration.
Before you are eligible to file a Lemon Law claim in court, you must also participate in the RV Mediation/Arbitration Program, which is currently administered by the Collins Center for Public Policy, Inc. in Tallahassee. To submit a claim, call the Collins Center at 888-505-8592 and ask for a RV Program Request for Mediation/Arbitration form. You must file your claim within 60 days after the Lemon Law period ends (24 months from the date of delivery).
If the Collins Center rules that your claim is eligible, a mediation conference will be scheduled. The Collins Center will provide you with a procedural guide to help you in presenting your claim. The mediator cannot force the manufacturer(s) to give you a refund or replace your vehicle, and cannot force you to agree to a settlement. If you do come to an agreement with the manufacturer(s), the settlement will be put in writing.
If you and the manufacturer do not reach an agreement to mediation, your case will move on to mandatory arbitration. The process is similar to the arbitration process for new car lemons [link to The Arbitration Hearing], except there is only one arbitrator, who will issue a written decision within 10 days.
Wherever you are in the Lemon Law claim process, it is generally in your best interest to have an attorney represent you. After all, RV manufacturers have teams of lawyers that do nothing but fight Lemon Law claims. As you consider your options, imagine the difference between going up against a team of lawyers on your own, versus having a Lemon Law attorney speak on your behalf.
Florida Lemon Law provides several options for a successful Lemon Law claimant. First, you may be awarded a replacement RV of the same year, make, and model. You may also qualify for a monetary award, which can include:
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 60,000. 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.
As with other types of Lemon Law claims, organization is key to presenting a convincing case. Keep spotless records of every malfunction and problem you have had with your RV since you bought it. Save all of the paperwork that you received every time you brought your RV to be serviced. Catalog the days the RV spent in the shop and out of your possession. Remember, the more organized your evidence is, the more likely it is that your attorney can win your case.