florida Lemon Law FAQ

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Florida Lemon Law Basics

Is there a Lemon Law in Florida?

Yes, Florida’s Lemon Law protects consumers who purchase or lease defective vehicles. If manufacturers are unable to repair warrantied defects, the law compels them to provide consumers with a choice of a refund or a replacement vehicle.

What Is the Lemon Law in Florida and How Does It Work?

The Florida Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act is the official name of the Florida Lemon Law. It provides expansive protection to the purchasers and lessees of defective motor vehicles.

To qualify for compensation under the law, consumers must first give the manufacturer an opportunity to repair the defect. If the manufacturer does not repair the defect after a “reasonable number of attempts,” the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement. But in most cases, the consumer will need to take legal action to collect what they’re owed.

Before filing a lawsuit, consumers must try to resolve the matter via the manufacturer’s informal dispute resolution program, an arbitration board. This generally involves sending the arbitrators all documentation to support the claim and waiting for the board to respond. Consumers may do so themselves but getting help from a Florida Lemon Law attorney dramatically improves the chances of success.

If consumers are dissatisfied with the outcome of arbitration, the next step would be to file suit against the manufacturer. Although it may be necessary to file suit, it’s unlikely the case will go to trial. Of the 50,000+ cases we’ve handled at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center®, fewer than 1% have gone to trial. So, if you have a lemon, let us help you collect the compensation you deserve.

Does Florida Lemon Law Apply to Leased Vehicles?

YES, the Florida Lemon Law applies to leased vehicles. Just be aware that refunds for lessees are limited to the amount paid into the lease. The law is designed to make you whole by refunding your losses. Thus, you can’t profit by collecting a refund for the purchase price of the vehicle if you lease a lemon.

Does the Florida Lemon Law Apply to Used Cars?

Although the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects Floridians who purchased used cars, the Florida Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act only applies only to new vehicles. Regardless of which law provides the protection, what matters is that YES, a consumer who purchases a used lemon in Florida may be entitled to compensation.

The federal Lemon Law does not distinguish between new and used vehicles. As long as the vehicle’s defect is first reported during the warranty period, it’s covered by the law. Plus, you have up to five years from the date of the breach of warranty to file a claim. And in some cases, vehicles may be classified as lemons under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act after just one (1) repair attempt.

Are Certified Vehicles Subject to Florida Lemon Laws?

Given that certified vehicles are used cars, yes, they are protected by the federal Lemon Law. Just know that the deadlines for reporting an issue and filing claims are still based on the original purchase date and the date when the warranty was breached, even if those events took place before you purchased the vehicle.

Does Lemon Law Apply to Private Sales in Florida?

Yes, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects Floridians who purchase lemons from private sellers. The vehicle must be under warranty to qualify for protection under this law. But that simply means that the defect needs to be reported during the warranty period. And for some vehicles, the warranty period can be as long as a decade.

Under the federal Lemon Law, manufacturers must repair any defects reported while under warranty. This holds true even if the warranty expires before repairs are complete or if the repairs fail to fully fix the issue. If you feel the vehicle you purchased from a private seller is a lemon, we’re happy to review your case free of charge. Contact us today so we can help.

Do Florida Lemon Laws Cover Salvage Vehicles?

No, salvage vehicles have been written off as “totaled” by an insurance company. Doing so voids any warranty on the vehicle. And because Lemon Law only applies to warrantied vehicles, it does not cover salvage vehicles.

Does Florida Have a Lemon Law for RVs?

Yes, the Florida Lemon Law applies to RVs. However, the law does not cover the “living facilities of recreational vehicles.” So, if you have a leaky shower in your new RV, that won’t be covered by the Florida Lemon Law. But a leaky oil tank will be covered.

Additionally, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act covers all warrantied consumer products. So, if manufacturers fail to fix a defect of any warrantied component of an RV purchased in Florida, this federal Lemon Law can hold them accountable.

Do Recalls Counts as Defects Under Florida’s Lemon Law?

Yes, when a manufacturer issues a recall, they are acknowledging that the affected vehicles are defective. But the manufacturer still must be given a “reasonable number” of attempts to repair the defect before consumers can seek compensation under the Florida Lemon Law.

It’s also important to remember that the Florida Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act only applies to defects reported within the first 24 months of ownership. So recalls that are announced outside of this Lemon Law Rights Period will not be covered by the law.

That said, other laws, such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, can hold manufacturers responsible if they fail to repair defects that prompt a recall.

How Do I File a Lemon Law Claim in Florida?

If your vehicle still has a defect after a reasonable number of repair attempts, you need to provide the manufacturer with written notice of defect via certified, registered, or express mail. Most consumers have a Florida Lemon Law attorney, like our experienced team at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center®, do this on their behalf.

After providing notice, you need to grant the manufacturer with one final attempt to repair the defect. If this final attempt fails, consumers (or their attorneys) must submit a Request for Arbitration Form to the Department of Legal Affairs with all available documents that support the claim.

An arbitration board will then review the case and issue a ruling. If you are dissatisfied with the ruling, the next step is to file your claim with the courts.

Both the Florida Lemon Law and the federal Lemon Law include fee-shifting provisions that require manufacturers to pay the legal fees of consumers who win their Lemon Law case in court. Plus, our firm only charges for our services if we succeed in collecting compensation for our clients.

So rather than trying to file your Lemon Law claim by yourself, let us help. Having a knowledgeable attorney in your corner greatly increases your chance of success. And knowing that you’ll never pay out of pocket for our help should make the decision to contact us for a free case review an easy one to make.

Why Should I Hire a Lemon Law Attorney in the State of Florida?

Simply put – to level the playing field! Car manufacturers represent some of the world’s biggest corporations. They have unlimited resources, which makes going it alone very difficult. Therefore, rather than trying to go toe to toe with such a big corporation, you may retain the experienced attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® who will fight for your rights and who will only be paid if you get a recovery!

Plus, if you hire Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® and do not win your case, we will not send you a bill for our time. We only get paid if you do!

How Do I Calculate a Refund Under the Florida Lemon Law?

Calculating a refund under the Florida Lemon Law is very straightforward. You’re entitled to the amount you’ve paid for your vehicle. This includes sales tax, finance interest, and other costs you’ve paid or accrued for the vehicle, including incidentals. However, the manufacturer is entitled to withhold a portion of the refund to offset the time you were able to use the vehicle without issue.

To calculate the maximum amount of the offset, take the vehicle’s purchase price, divide it by 120,000, and multiply the result by the number of miles driven up to the point that the case goes to arbitration. Even if the case ultimately goes to court, the offset is still limited by the vehicle’s mileage at the start of arbitration.

As an example, let’s consider a lemon vehicle with a purchase price of $60,000, including all additional costs. And let’s say the owner drove the car 8,000 miles by the time their case went to arbitration. Thus, the maximum offset would be $60,000 ÷ 120,000 x 8,000 = $4,000. So, assuming the vehicle was fully paid for, the refund would be $60,000 – $4,000 = $56,000.

How Much Time Do I Have to Pursue a Lemon Law Case in Florida?

The Florida Lemon Law protects consumers from lemons for two (2) years from the purchase or lease date of a new motor vehicle. After this Lemon Law Rights Period, you have an additional sixty (60) days to file an arbitration request. Thus, you have two (2) years and two (2) months after purchasing or leasing a vehicle to file a Lemon Law claim in Florida.

Additionally, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act provides consumers in the State of Florida with five (5) years to file a claim, starting from the date the manufacturer breached its warranty. For lemon vehicles, this often translates to five (5) years from the first failed repair attempt.

What Documents Do I Need to Provide to Prove that My Vehicle Is a Lemon in the State of Florida?

Technically speaking, you don’t need any documents to file a Lemon Law claim in Florida; if your dealer will not provide you with copies, your attorneys can obtain any necessary documents on your behalf. However, any repair records you have, documents related to the sale of the vehicle, and documents detailing incidental costs will all be useful.

If you’re unsure what documents you even have, reach out to us so we can review your case free of charge. We can help you make sense of the paperwork you already have and help to obtain any additional documents that may support your case.

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