Florida Lemon Law
The Florida lemon law protects purchasers of new vehicles after discovering chronic defects. When a car manufacturer or dealer sells an unsuitable car, the law guidelines give drivers protection and hold the manufacturers responsible so that drivers can properly handle their circumstances and get permissible reparations.
The federal lemon law describes basic rules for car owners who purchase bad vehicles so that they do not get stuck with defective cars when nonconformities are not their fault. Many vehicle owners look to hire lemon law attorney representation to help them properly follow the laws, so they do not make any mistakes that jeopardize the opportunity for resolution or compensation.
What is the Lemon Law in Florida?
The FL lemon law defines that any new car that has a nonconformity that cannot be repaired is then classified as a lemon. The details of these laws tend to vary by state, but Florida lemon laws require that a car be in new condition, or be a demonstrator vehicle, in order for it to meet the lemon law definition. Under state law, a vehicle must:
- Have been purchased in new condition within two years.
- Demonstrate a significant defect. The defect must be extreme, and must affect the vehicle’s operation ability, such as the engine, brakes, transmission or other major areas in the car.
- Have undergone at least three repair attempts to fix the problem.
- Have been in the mechanic’s shop and out of service for at least 30 days.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles enforces lemon laws in Florida, which cover the purchase of new vehicles and demonstrator vehicles, including both cars and trucks. These laws also include nonconformities with the communicated warranty of the vehicle that jeopardize its safety, value or use.
Note that motorcycles, motor homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) are not eligible to be designated as lemons in FL.
Does the Florida Lemon Law apply to used cars?
A used car lemon law is not enacted in the state of Florida. Instead, car owners must look to used car laws that do not classify them as lemons.
Whenever you plan to purchase a used vehicle in the state of Florida, take the time to order a VIN report that delivers the history of the vehicle, including any red-flag repairs or issues associated. In addition, be sure to request options related to extended warranties for further protection.
How does the Lemon Law work in Florida?
Lemon vehicles in FL are designated if, within two years of purchase, they present a defect that does not meet the warranty from the manufacturer, they meet the 30-day lemon law used cars requirement and at least three previous attempts to fix the problem failed.
If cars are in and out of the repair shop for at least 15 cumulative days and the defect cannot be fixed, drivers should reach out to the vehicle manufacturer. A complaint letter should be authored, and should include:
- Information on the issue(s) with the car.
- Copies of any associated work orders and invoicing paperwork.
- A request for a refund or a lemon law buyback.
If these state lemon law conditions are found to be true, drivers should fill out a Motor Vehicle Defect Notification form and mail it to the manufacturer of the vehicle in question. Then, the driver should send the form through registered or express mail and request a return receipt.
The car manufacturer has 10 days to refer drivers who file complaints to a repair facility, and 10 days after delivery to the facility to attempt the proper repairs. Doing this offers the manufacturer one last chance to try and fix or, at least, inspect the vehicle. After 10 days, if the last repair attempt or examination is not complete, the Florida driver should turn to the state law for settlement.
If, for any reason, the car manufacturer refuses assistance, the vehicle owner should take the time to consult with a lemon law attorney to defend his or her case, while seeking due compensation.
When your car is confirmed to be a lemon, the manufacturer must either provide a suitable and equivalent replacement vehicle, or buy the vehicle back from you.
Florida residents can contact the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to go through the process and get their entitled returns. To follow federal lemon law procedures, it is important to copies of records and documents of a vehicle’s service history, including proof of its defective status.
Additionally, any records of correspondence between vehicle owners and manufacturers or car dealers should be set aside for future use, in case of a lawsuit.
Florida Lemon Law Lawyers
You can hire a lemon law attorney in FL for assistance in designating your car a lemon, and to consult on the procedures to follow. Attorneys who specialize in lemon law warranty are experienced and knowledgeable in the field, and should be able to provide efficient strategy surrounding your case.
Prior to hiring an attorney to handle your lemon car case, make sure to:
- Do your research: Speak with several lawyers before choosing one to represent you. Shopping around for suitable counsel will ensure you can find affordable and proper legal assistance surrounding your case.
- Review past cases: Make sure your lawyer has adequate experience, including successful wins. Ask about wins and losses, so you can gauge the lawyer’s true experience in this field.
- Find local assistance: Understanding Florida lemon law is crucial, since these laws vary by state. Your lawyer should be well-educated, and able to defend you in the state of Florida.
- Compare rates and services: Ask about the cost of your lemon law attorney prior to signing any contract for assistance. Review all terms and fees beforehand.
Those uneducated in FL lemon law will often find that attorneys with proper experience can work in their favor. Lemon law attorneys are smart investments for drivers who have the funds to hire them, especially when vehicle manufacturers do not make conflict resolution a priority, and do not want to comply under state laws.
Experienced legal counsel can help you resolve your car lemon law case by:
- Outlining all of your personal rights and options related to the filing.
- Ensuring the vehicle manufacturer is complying by all state laws.
- Confirming you have access to everything to which you are entitled.
- Helming your case, from beginning to end.
- Filing and handling all of the paperwork related to your claim.
Additional New and Used Car Laws in Florida
If a Florida resident purchases a used car that is not eligible for the FL lemon law, he or she must solve the issue on his or her own. There are no laws providing refund or repair options for those deemed to be used lemon cars in Florida.
How to Tell if Your New Car is a Lemon in Florida
Are you unsure if your vehicle meets the current Florida lemon law standards? Your car likely meets new car lemon law qualifications if:
- A nonconformity is outlined as covered under a warranty.
- It has an extensive nonconformity that appeared within two years following your purchase.
- The nonconformity cannot be fixed, even after three, documented and failed attempts.
As of 2018, there are several vehicle models that have been reported as lemon cars. These models include the below:
- Chrysler Pacifica
- Chevrolet Volt
- Tesla Model S
- Mercedes-Benz B
- Hyundai Santa Fe Sport