Buying or leasing a new car can be a nightmare when the car starts having problems right away. There is good news. Florida law protects consumers when they buy a car that has big problems right after its sale.
Does your vehicle qualify?
Certain requirements must be satisfied for Florida’s Lemon Law to apply.
The vehicle must be a new vehicle. Florida’s Lemon Law does not apply to used cars.
The vehicle must have been sold, transferred or leased in the state of Florida.
The vehicle must have been used for personal, family or household purposes.
Florida’s Lemon Law applies to vehicles with “nonconformities” that substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle that have not been repaired by the manufacturer or dealership “within a reasonable number of repair attempts.” Nonconformities can include problems such as faulty paint, leaks and electrical or mechanical problems.
If a vehicle has been taken for repair for the same nonconformity three or more times and the nonconformity has still not been repaired, the vehicle owner should notify the manufacturer (not the car dealership) of the nonconformity in writing, by certified, registered or express mail. The manufacturer has ten days after receiving the letter to direct the owner to a repair facility. After the vehicle is delivered to the repair facility, the manufacturer has ten days to repair the nonconformity. If the nonconformity is not fixed within ten days, the vehicle is presumed to be a “lemon” covered under Florida’s Lemon Law.
If a vehicle is in and out of a repair shop for one or more different problems for fifteen or more days total, the consumer should notify the manufacturer (not the car dealership) in writing by certified, registered or express mail. After the manufacturer receives the letter, the manufacturer or authorized service agent (usually the car dealership) is allowed at least one opportunity to inspect and repair the vehicle. Once the vehicle is out of service for repair for a total of 30 days (60 days for a recreation vehicle), the vehicle is presumed to be a “lemon” covered under Florida’s Lemon Law.
The nonconformities must occur within the first 24 months of ownership or leasing of the vehicle.
What vehicles do not qualify?
Florida’s Lemon Law does not apply to used cars, off-road vehicles, mopeds, trucks over 10,000 lbs., the living facilities of recreation vehicles, or motorcycles.
Keep your records!
Make sure you keep copies of all your records! Your repair records will be important if you need to establish a claim under Florida’s Lemon Law.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.