Lemon Law in Florida

Few things are more frustrating than bringing home a new car, only to find that it is unsafe or defective. A major purchase such as a car should be conducted in good faith, but this is not always the case. If you are facing such a situation in Florida, you can exercise your rights through Florida’s Lemon Laws. However, you may want to seek the counsel of a lemon law attorney to make sure you can exercise your rights.

What Is a Lemon Law?

Lemon laws deal with consumer protections that are particularly applicable to automobile purchases. For any lemon law to apply, the automobile must suffer from a defect. This problem should be outside the purchaser’s control, like a manufacturer issue. Furthermore, lemon laws apply if a certain number of reasonable repairs happened to the vehicle in question to no avail.

When Do Florida Lemon Laws Apply?

Lemon laws only apply when the vehicle in question is under warranty. This restriction does not mean it has to have a new guarantee. There are often dealership warranties attached to certified used cars. Under the federal lemon law requirements, conditions must meet the following criteria:

  • The manufacturer attempted to fix the issue on several occasions. Note that the number of conditions that merit a lemon law application can vary based on the court’s opinion.
  • There have been attempts to address the issue(s) in question within the first two years of owning and operating the vehicle.
  • The car has been out of service for at least 30 days. Note that the days do not have to be consecutive.

How Do You Ensure the Application of Lemon Laws?

There are some common practices that you can take that better position you when citing lemon law:

  • You should only take the vehicle in question to the corresponding dealership for repairs. By taking it there, you establish credibility by showing the responsible party attempted to address the issue. If you take the vehicle to a mom-and-pop mechanic, the manufacturer cannot be held liable for any attempts made to fix the problem.
  • Keep accurate and detailed records of any repairs made. This way, if your case goes to trial, have accurate logs that detail the manufacturer’s opportunities to fix the mechanical issues. This detail also helps build a timeline of how long you could not use your vehicle.

Lemon law statutes vary by state. You should research the lemon law requirements in Florida to ensure you remain within the legal confines.

The Attorney General of Florida states that Florida’s Lemon Laws are designed to protect consumers from defects in new or demonstrator vehicles. Any defect, referred to legally as a “nonconformity”, that affects the value, safety, or impairs the use of the car is covered by the Lemon Law. However, these defects must be reported to the manufacturer or the authorized service agent within 24 months of taking possession of the car.

What Exactly Are Consumers Entitled To Under Lemon Laws?

You have a legal entitlement to a replacement vehicle or refund if Florida lemon laws apply. However, manufacturers may deduct a fee in proportion to the miles the owner put on the car or truck before it became unusable. This compensation should include:

  • Down payment
  • Registration
  • Taxes
  • Car rentals
  • Monthly payments
  • Tow expenses
  • Attorney costs

Do Lemon Laws Apply to Used Vehicles?

Lemon laws can apply to used vehicles. However, this is for written warranties distributed along with the vehicle upon sale. Often, a used car dealership sells vehicles with a portion of the guarantee remaining. This situation incentivizes the purchase and (allegedly) puts the buyer’s mind at ease.

While certain states have provisions for used cars within their lemon laws, Florida does not. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department also states that a copy of the Consumer Guide to Florida Lemon Law is only required to be given to purchasers of new or demonstrator vehicles.

When Should You Hire a qualified Florida Lemon Law Attorney?

Have you attempted to have your vehicle repaired at the dealership? Consumers should consider legal action when it doesn’t work for 30 days. If you can’t resolve the issue with the manufacturer, it may be time to bring in an experienced Florida lemon law attorney.

How Does the Lemon Law Litigation Process Work?

Consumers can expect to go through a series of motions by bringing in an experienced Florida lawyer. However, introducing legal counsel into the situation is the best way for consumers to receive a fair outcome. With most Florida lemon law attorneys, you can expect the following:

  • Free Case Evaluation – Attorneys should review your case for free. They will determine its merit and whether you have a justifiable claim.
  • Filing Your Claim – Your Florida legal representative should handle filing a claim with the manufacturer after determining the facts.
  • Further Action – Your vehicle’s manufacturer may refuse to comply with the claim under federal and state statutes. Then your attorney files suit to seek entitled compensation on your behalf.
  • Pursuing Settlement – The manufacturer should cover all costs and fees if you achieve a settlement before trial. This compensation will often include attorney fees.
  • Contingency Fee Basis – At the end of the ordeal, clients should not have to pay for attorney’s fees. Even if you ultimately lose your case, a reputable Florida law firm should not charge clients fees. If you win your case, the manufacturer pays the attorney’s fees.

Initial Lemon Law complaints should be filed with the Florida Attorney General’s Office. In coordination with this, the AG provides the number for a toll free hotline dedicated to lemon law complaints. The Florida Bar also states that before filing a civil action in a lemon law cas, the filer has to go through a period of arbitration without involving the courts.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer In Florida

Do you need immediate help? Then one of our experienced lawyers in Florida can help guide you through the Lemon Law litigation process. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Florida state lines!

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