Thousands of lemons are sold to unknowing consumers in Florida annually. A lemon is a new vehicle that does not work as ensured by its warranty, even after repeated attempts by the manufacturer to solve the issues.
In Florida, a lemon qualifies as a purchased/leased, new/demonstrator motor vehicle with nonconformities that the manufacturer or dealer has not been able to repair after a reasonable number of attempts. This nonconformity must be a condition or defect that severely impairs the use, safety, or value of said vehicle.
Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act
The Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act provides solutions under Florida’s lemon law. These solutions may be of use to you if:
• You have purchased or leased a vehicle from a Florida dealer or the vehicle’s first owner in Florida within 2 years of its original purchase
• You use the vehicle mainly for personal, family, or household purposes
• The vehicle does not conform with the manufacturer’s express written warranty
• You have the right to enforce said warranty
• The manufacturer or dealer have not fixed the vehicle’s defect after a reasonable number of repair attempts
• You have provided the legally required notice to this manufacturer about the issue and given them one final chance to address the problem
If the manufacturer or service center has made at least three unsuccessful service attempts covered under warranty, then Florida law merits a “reasonable number of attempts”. Your vehicle will also be deemed a lemon if it is out of service due to efforts of repair for a total of 30 days (60 days for a recreational vehicle).
There are specified timing, notice, and other requirements that must be met at risk of forfeiting your lemon law rights. This is why it is vital to speak with an experienced Florida lemon law attorney if you believe that you have purchased a lemon.
After three unsuccessful attempts have been made to repair, you must give the manufacturer written notification by mail of the need to repair the nonconformity. The manufacturer then has 10 days (45 days for RVs) to respond and provide you with the opportunity to have the vehicle fixed at an accessible facility within reasonable time of the receipt of your notification. If your vehicle is out of service because of the nonconformity and has had repair attempts of 15 days or more, you must notify the manufacturer by mail to give them a chance to inspect/repair your vehicle.
Informal Dispute Resolution Process
If the issue still has not been fixed, you may be required to go through an informal dispute resolution process with the manufacturer and/or arbitration before the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board. It is highly recommended that you are represented by an attorney during these crucial periods, but it is not required.
If your vehicle is deemed a lemon, the manufacturer will be required to replace the vehicle or refund at full purchase price. The choice is yours. Both solutions include the manufacturer’s payment of related expenses (within reason).
Strict deadlines and complex nuances under Florida lemon laws make it of absolute importance to hire the services of an experienced Florida Lemon Law Attorney. If you believe that your vehicle is a lemon, consult an expert today.