What is Lemon Law in Florida?
Lemon Law is the term we use when we discuss Florida’s Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act. Generally speaking, Lemon Law covers defects and nonconformities that substantially impair the use, value, or safety of a new or demonstrator car, truck, or SUV. Consumer rights under Lemon Law are limited to the first 24 months after the date of delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer. The right to recover is not triggered unless the defects and nonconformities have been reported to both the Manufacturer and their authorized service agents. Authorized service agents (usually dealerships) should have at least three (3) attempts to cure the defect. If they are unable to cure, then the Manufacturer should be properly notified and given a chance to cure. If the Manufacturer is unable to cure within a reasonable number of attempts, Manufacturer must then either purchase the vehicle from the Consumer or replace the vehicle.
Note: While lemon law is not available to all consumers, be sure to contact us as you might have a claim that falls under the federal Magnuson-Moss Breach of Warranty Act (new vehicles more than 24 months from delivery but still under warranty) or Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (used vehicles).
Do you qualify under Florida Lemon Law?
Generally, the following list of Consumers will qualify under Lemon Law:
- Consumers who received their new motor vehicle less than 2 years and 60 days before making their claim.
- Consumers who have either purchased or leased a new or demonstrator car, truck, or SUV.
- 2nd owner of a vehicle if the claim is made within 24 months of when the vehicle was delivered to the 1st owner and both owners have used the vehicle solely for personal, family, or household purposes.
Generally, the following list of Consumers will not qualify under Lemon Law:
- Consumers of trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
- Consumers with off-road vehicles.
- Consumers with vehicles purchased for and through resale.
- Consumers of motorcycles or mopeds.
- Consumers of living facilities of recreational vehicles.
***Note: These lists are non-exhaustive. While lemon law is not available to all consumers, be sure to contact us as you might have a claim that falls under the federal Magnuson-Moss Breach of Warranty Act (new vehicles more than 24 months from delivery but still under warranty) or Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (used vehicles).***
Before taking legal action, Consumers must:
- Review your warranty and ensure that your defect is covered.
- Allow Authorized Servicing Agent (usually a dealership) at least 3 attempts to fix the motor vehicle.
- Provide proper written notice to the Manufacturer in accordance with the warranty plan and then allow Manufacturer an opportunity to fix the defect.
- Arbitration is a process that allows the parties to litigate their case in front of an Arbitrator (a neutral party who acts as a judge). This process is meant to take less time than a circuit court case would take. With the exception of a repurchase, Consumers are entitled to the same relief they would be entitled to in the circuit court.
- Before a consumer can file a case in the circuit court, purchase contracts (also known as Buyer’s Order) usually require the consumer to participate in Arbitration.
- Arbitration is typically limited to vehicles that are no more than 2 years and 60 days from delivery. Typically, the courts will require an arbitration program to deny the case for being more than 2 years and 60 days before the consumer can move forward in circuit court.
- Many dealerships name a specific Arbitration program in their purchase contracts requiring the consumer to utilize that program for any and all arbitration claims against both the dealership and the manufacturer.