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The Florida Lemon Law

The Florida lemon law, known officially as the the Motor Vehicle Sales Warranties Act, protects you if you buy a new motor vehicle that turns out to be defective.

Is My Vehicle Covered by the Florida Lemon Law?

Your vehicle is covered by the law for two years from the date you took delivery of the new or demonstrator ("demo") vehicle, via either purchase or long-term lease. The defect must substantially affect your use of the vehicle, or substantially impair its value or safety.

In addition you must have taken your lemon for repairs to the same substantial problem at least three times, or the vehicle must have been out of service (in for repairs) for at least 15 calendars (this is a cumulative total, not 15 consecutive days) for one or more problems.

You must also have mailed the Motor Vehicle Defect Notification (MVDN) to the manufacturer by registered or express mail, with return receipt requested. And the manufacturer must have been given one final opportunity to fix or inspect your lemon.

Finally, you must have all work orders or work invoices to verify that your lemon has been repaired at least three times, or has been off the road for at least 15 accumulated calendar days.

If your situation fits all the criteria above, you're eligible for Florida lemon law protection.

Important Note: If you bought a recreational vehicle (RV), you need to contact the Florida Lemon Law program at 1-800-321-5366 to see if the additional requirements apply to your case.

I Own a Florida Lemon. What Do I Do Next?

Florida's lemon law system is different than that in most other states. Florida has set up arbitration boards to hear consumer complaints about lemon vehicles. So everything is done through the state.

You can call 1-800-321-5366 or 850-410-3807 to ask for a Request for Arbitration Package or you can download the PDF version by right-clicking here.

You have up to 60 days after your 24 month period ends to file a State Arbitration Request.

If there have been at least three repair attempts, mail your MVDN to the manufacturer by registered mail. They have up to 10 days after receipt of the MVDN to let you bring in your lemon for a final repair attempt, and has another 10 days to fix the problem.

If the manufacturer does not reply to you within 10 days, or takes more than 10 days to attempt the repair, or the problem still exists after the repair attempt, you move on to a dispute resolution program or state arbitration.

Dispute Resolution Programs

The following manufacturers use the Better Business Bureau (BBB) arbitration program...

  • Acura

  • Audi

  • Bentley

  • Ford Motors

    • Ford

    • Lincoln

    • Mercury

  • General Motors

    • Buick

    • Cadillac

    • Chevrolet

    • GMC Trucks

    • Hummer 2

    • Pontiac

    • Saturn

  • Honda

  • Hummer

  • Hyundai

  • Infiniti

  • Isuzu

  • Kia

  • Mazda

  • Nissan

  • Saab

  • Volkswagen

Is your vehicle manufacturer listed above? Then call the BBB at
1-800-955-5100 to begin your claim. Or click here to start your claim online.

If you own any of the following, you need to contact the National Center for Dispute Settlement at 1-800-777-8119, or click here to begin your claim.

  • Chrysler

  • Lexus

  • Mitsubishi

  • Suzuki

  • Toyota

If you own a Porsche, contact CAP-Motors at 1-800-279-5343 to begin your claim. Or download their claim form here.

Important Note: If there is no decision within 40 days of filing a claim, you have the right to withdraw from the informal dispute resolution program and apply to Florida's state program. You can also reject the decision and apply to the state program.

Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board

The Florida lemon law allows you to go to the state for a ruling on your case, should you wish to have one. You must apply within two years and 60 days of original delivery of the lemon vehicle to you, or within 30 days after the final ruling of the informal dispute resolution procedure you used, whichever date is later. You must file on time, or your request will be rejected by the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board.

If your request is accepted, the board will hear the dispute within 40 days of your application, and make a decision within 60 days (another 20 days). A ruling in your favor gives the manufacturer another 40 calendar days to refund the purchase price, plus incidental expenses, or replace the vehicle, whichever you choose. Whether you choose a refund or replacement, a reasonable charge for your use of the vehicle will be factored in. Click here for a Florida state calculator to determine what that charge will be in your case.

The ruling is final, but either side can take appeal to the courts by filing a law suit. Since the Florida lemon law allows a judge to double or triple damages if manufacturer appeals a case in bad faith, I highly recommend that you consult a lemon law attorney to ensure that you receive what is your due.

Florida Lemon Law Summary

The lemon law process in Florida is very different from that in other states. However, the success rate for consumers is quite good. Follow the steps outlined above within the required deadlines, and you should receive the compensation that you are owed.

NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.


 

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