If you have recently been in the market for a new car it is reasonable to expect that it will be a reliable source of transportation. More often than you may think, consumers end up purchasing a new car with ongoing mechanical problems. If this is something you are experiencing it may be time to face the facts and consider whether or not you have been stuck with a “lemon”. In Florida, you likely have legal recourse through the Lemon Law that is designed to protect consumers like yourself.
Does Florida Have a Lemon Law?
In most states, the Lemon Law protects those consumers who buy new vehicles that continually break down due to manufacturing defects. Lemon Laws are unique in each state, requiring some research on the part of the consumer to gain an understanding of how the law works in their state. Understanding the statues for your state is worth the time in order to discover if you have a legal case.
Does Florida Have a Lemon Law?
It is important to note that the Florida Lemon Laws apply to both newly leased and newly owned vehicles. Any time you lease or purchase a car the law states that you must be given a booklet, outlining your consumer rights. Here are some other important things to remember when it comes to exercising your consumer rights:
• If you feel that you have been stuck with a lemon, the law requires you to make a report of the problem to the dealership within the first 24 months after the date of delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer. If the manufacturer fails to conform the vehicle to the warranty after a reasonable number of attempts to repair these defects, the law requires the manufacturer to buy back the defective vehicle and give the consumer a purchase price refund or a replacement vehicle. Keep in mind that the law limits you to reporting within the time frame.
• Let’s say you have taken your car in to the dealer for repairs on more than one occasion and the problem persists. Florida law states that after you have made three unsuccessful attempts with vehicle repairs, it is incumbent upon you to communicate the problem to the manufacturing company. This shows due diligence on your part as a consumer as you make efforts to try and resolve the issue.
• Florida state Lemon Law protects only against defects with newer long-term leases or purchases of a new vehicle.
• If you buy a car from a dealer within the state of Florida who is offering a warranty then this critical document does entitle you to protection under the Florida Lemon Law.
• Consumers should keep records of all repairs and maintenance. A written repair order should be obtained from the service agent (dealer) for each examination or repair under the warranty. The consumer should note the date the vehicle was taken in for repair and date he or she was notified that work was completed. Odometer mileage when the vehicle was taken to the shop and when it was picked up after repair should also be noted. Consumers should keep all receipts or invoices for payment of expenses related to the purchase/lease of the vehicle and to any repair.
Florida Statutes Annotated, Chapter 681
681.10 Short title.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act.”
681.101 Legislative intent.
The Legislature recognizes that a motor vehicle is a major consumer purchase and that a defective motor vehicle undoubtedly creates a hardship for the consumer. The Legislature further recognizes that a duly franchised motor vehicle dealer is an authorized service agent of the manufacturer. It is the intent of the Legislature that a good faith motor vehicle warranty complaint by a consumer be resolved by the manufacturer within a specified period of time; however, it is
not the intent of the Legislature that a consumer establish the presumption of a reasonable number of attempts as to each manufacturer that provides a warranty directly to the consumer. It is further the intent of the Legislature to provide the statutory procedures whereby a consumer may receive a replacement motor vehicle, or a full refund, for a motor vehicle which cannot be brought into conformity with the warranty provided for in this chapter. However, nothing in this chapter shall in any way limit or expand the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law.
As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Authorized service agent” means any person, including a franchised motor vehicle dealer, who is authorized by the manufacturer to service motor vehicles. In the case of a recreational
vehicle when there are two or more manufacturers, an authorized service agent for any individual manufacturer is any person, including a franchised motor vehicle dealer, who is authorized to service the items warranted by that manufacturer. The term does not include a rental car company authorized to repair rental vehicles.
(2) “Board” means the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board.
(3) “Collateral charges” means those additional charges to a consumer wholly incurred as a result of the acquisition of the motor vehicle. For the purposes of this chapter, collateral charges
include, but are not limited to, manufacturer-installed or agent-installed items or service charges, earned finance charges, sales taxes, and title charges.
(4) “Consumer” means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, or the lessee, of a motor vehicle primarily used for personal, family, or household purposes; any person to whom such motor vehicle is transferred for the same purposes during the duration of the Lemon Law rights period; and any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty.
(5) “Days” means calendar days.
(6) “Department” means the Department of Legal Affairs.
(7) “Division” means the Division of Consumer Services of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(8) “Incidental charges” means those reasonable costs to the consumer which are directly caused by the nonconformity of the motor vehicle.
(9) “Lease price” means the aggregate of the capitalized cost, as defined in s. 521.003(2), and each of the following items to the extent not included in the capitalized cost:
(a) Lessor’s earned rent charges through the date of repurchase.
(b) Collateral charges, if applicable.
(c) Any fee paid to another to obtain the lease.
(d) Any insurance or other costs expended by the lessor for the benefit of the lessee.
(e) An amount equal to state and local sales taxes, not otherwise included as collateral charges, paid by the lessor when the vehicle was initially purchased.
(10) “Lemon Law rights period” means the period ending 24 months after the date of the original delivery of a motor vehicle to a consumer.
(11) “Lessee” means any consumer who leases a motor vehicle for 1 year or more pursuant to a written lease agreement which provides that the lessee is responsible for repairs to such motor
vehicle or any consumer who leases a motor vehicle pursuant to a lease-purchase agreement.
(12) “Lessee cost” means the aggregate deposit and rental payments previously paid to the lessor for the leased vehicle but excludes debt from any other transaction.
(13) “Lessor” means a person who holds title to a motor vehicle that is leased to a lessee under a written lease agreement or who holds the lessor’s rights under such agreement.
(14) “Manufacturer” means any person, whether a resident or nonresident of this state, who manufactures or assembles motor vehicles, or who manufactures or assembles chassis for recreational vehicles, or who manufactures or installs on previously assembled truck or recreational vehicle chassis special bodies or equipment which, when installed, forms an integral part of the motor vehicle, a distributor as defined in s. 320.60(5), or an importer as defined in s. 320.60(7). A dealer as defined in s. 320.60(11)(a) shall not be deemed to be a manufacturer,
distributor, or importer as provided in this section.
(15) “Motor vehicle” means a new vehicle, propelled by power other than muscular power, which is sold in this state to transport persons or property, and includes a recreational vehicle or a vehicle used as a demonstrator or leased vehicle if a manufacturer’s warranty was issued as a condition of sale, or the lessee is responsible for repairs, but does not include vehicles run only upon tracks, off-road vehicles, trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, motorcycles, mopeds, or the living facilities of recreational vehicles. “Living facilities of recreational vehicles” are those portions designed, used, or maintained primarily as living quarters and include, but are not limited to, the flooring, plumbing system and fixtures, roof air conditioner, furnace,
generator, electrical systems other than automotive circuits, the side entrance door, exterior compartments, and windows other than the windshield and driver and front passenger windows.
(16) “Nonconformity” means a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a motor vehicle, but does not include a defect or condition that results from an accident, abuse, neglect, modification, or alteration of the motor vehicle by persons other than the manufacturer or its authorized service agent.
(17) “Procedure” means an informal dispute-settlement procedure established by a manufacturer to mediate and arbitrate motor vehicle warranty disputes.
(18) “Program” means the mediation and arbitration pilot program for recreational vehicles established in this chapter.
(19) “Purchase price” means the cash price as defined in s. 520.31(1), inclusive of any allowance for a trade-in vehicle, but excludes debt from any other transaction. “Any allowance for
a trade-in vehicle” means the net trade-in allowance as reflected in the purchase contract or lease agreement if acceptable to the consumer and manufacturer. If such amount is not acceptable to the consumer and manufacturer, then the trade-in allowance shall be an amount equal to
100 percent of the retail price of the trade-in vehicle as reflected in the NADA Official Used Car Guide (Southeastern Edition) or NADA Recreation Vehicle Appraisal Guide, whichever is applicable, in effect at the time of the trade-in. The manufacturer shall be responsible for providing the applicable NADA book.
(20) “Reasonable offset for use” means the number of miles attributable to a consumer up to the date of a settlement agreement or arbitration hearing, whichever occurs first, multiplied by the purchase price of the vehicle and divided by 120,000, except in the case of a recreational
vehicle, in which event it shall be divided by 60,000.
(21) “Recreational vehicle” means a motor vehicle primarily designed to provide temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, or travel use, but does not include a van conversion.
(22) “Replacement motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle which is identical or reasonably equivalent to the motor vehicle to be replaced, as the motor vehicle to be replaced existed at the time of acquisition. “Reasonably equivalent to the motor vehicle to be replaced” means the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the replacement vehicle shall not exceed 105 percent of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the motor vehicle to be replaced. In the case of a recreational vehicle, “reasonably equivalent to the motor vehicle to be replaced” means the retail price of the replacement vehicle shall not exceed 105 percent of the purchase price of the recreational vehicle to be replaced.
(23) “Warranty” means any written warranty issued by the manufacturer, or any affirmation of fact or promise made by the manufacturer, excluding statements made by the dealer, in connection with the sale of a motor vehicle to a consumer which relates to the nature of the material or workmanship and affirms or promises that such material or workmanship is free of defects or will meet a specified level of performance.
681.103 Duty of manufacturer to conform a motor vehicle to the warranty.
(1) If a motor vehicle does not conform to the warranty and the consumer first reports the problem to the manufacturer or its authorized service agent during the Lemon Law rights period, the manufacturer or its authorized service agent shall make such repairs as are necessary to conform the vehicle to the warranty, irrespective of whether such repairs are made after the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period. Such repairs shall be at no cost to the consumer if made during the term of the manufacturer’s written express warranty. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to grant an extension of the Lemon Law rights period or to expand the time within which a consumer must file a claim under this chapter.
(2) Each manufacturer shall provide to its consumers conspicuous notice of the address and phone number for its zone, district, or regional office for this state in the written warranty or owner’s manual. By January 1 of each year, each manufacturer shall forward to the Department of Legal Affairs a copy of the owner’s manual and any written warranty for each make and model of motor vehicle that it sells in this state.
(3) At the time of acquisition, the manufacturer shall inform the consumer clearly and conspicuously in writing how and where to file a claim with a certified procedure if such procedure has been established by the manufacturer pursuant to s. 681.108. The manufacturer
shall provide to the dealer and, at the time of acquisition, the dealer shall provide to the consumer a written statement that explains the consumer’s rights under this chapter. The written statement shall be prepared by the Department of Legal Affairs and shall contain a toll-free number for the division that the consumer can contact to obtain information regarding
the consumer’s rights and obligations under this chapter or to commence arbitration. If the manufacturer obtains a signed receipt for timely delivery of sufficient quantities of this written statement to meet the dealer’s vehicle sales requirements, it shall constitute prima facie evidence of compliance with this subsection by the manufacturer. The consumer’s signed acknowledgment of receipt of materials required under this subsection shall constitute prima facie evidence of compliance by the manufacturer and dealer. The form of the acknowledgments shall be approved by the Department of Legal Affairs, and the dealer shall maintain the consumer’s signed acknowledgment for 3 years.
(4) A manufacturer, through its authorized service agent, shall provide to the consumer, each time the consumer’s motor vehicle is returned after being examined or repaired under the warranty, a fully itemized, legible statement or repair order indicating any test drive performed and the approximate length of the test drive, any diagnosis made, and all work performed on the motor vehicle including, but not limited to, a general description of the problem reported by the consumer or an identification of the defect or condition, parts and labor, the date and the odometer reading when the motor vehicle was submitted for examination or repair, and the date when the repair or examination was completed.
681.104 Nonconformity of motor vehicles.
(1)(a) After three attempts have been made to repair the same nonconformity, the consumer shall give written notification, by registered or express mail to the manufacturer, of the
need to repair the nonconformity to allow the manufacturer a final attempt to cure the nonconformity. The manufacturer shall have 10 days, commencing upon receipt of such notification, to respond and give the consumer the opportunity to have the motor vehicle repaired at a reasonably accessible repair facility within a reasonable time after the consumer’s receipt
of the response. The manufacturer shall have 10 days, except in the case of a recreational vehicle, in which event the manufacturer shall have 45 days, commencing upon the delivery of the motor vehicle to the designated repair facility by the consumer, to conform the motor vehicle to the warranty. If the manufacturer fails to respond to the consumer and give the consumer
the opportunity to have the motor vehicle repaired at a reasonably accessible repair facility or perform the repairs within the time periods prescribed in this subsection, the requirement that the manufacturer be given a final attempt to cure the nonconformity does not apply.
(b) If the motor vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities by the manufacturer or its authorized service agent for a cumulative total of 15 or more days, exclusive of downtime for routine maintenance prescribed by the owner’s manual, the consumer shall so notify the manufacturer in writing by registered or express mail to give the manufacturer or its authorized service agent an opportunity to inspect or repair the vehicle.
(2)(a) If the manufacturer, or its authorized service agent, cannot conform the motor vehicle to the warranty by repairing or correcting any nonconformity after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer, within 40 days, shall repurchase the motor vehicle and refund the full purchase price to the consumer, less a reasonable offset for use, or, in consideration of its receipt of payment from the consumer of a reasonable offset for use, replace the
motor vehicle with a replacement motor vehicle acceptable to the consumer. The refund or replacement must include all reasonably incurred collateral and incidental charges. However, the consumer has an unconditional right to choose a refund rather than a replacement motor vehicle. Upon receipt of such refund or replacement, the consumer, lien holder, or lessor shall
furnish to the manufacturer clear title to and possession of the motor vehicle.
(b) Refunds shall be made to the consumer and lien holder of record, if any, as their interests may appear. If applicable, refunds shall be made to the lessor and lessee as follows: The lessee shall receive the lessee cost and the lessor shall receive the lease price less the lessee cost. A penalty for early lease termination may not be assessed against a lessee who receives a replacement motor vehicle or refund under this chapter. The Department of Revenue
shall refund to the manufacturer any sales tax which the manufacturer refunded to the consumer, lien holder, or lessor under this section, if the manufacturer provides to the department a written request for a refund and evidence that the sales tax was paid when the vehicle was purchased
and that the manufacturer refunded the sales tax to the consumer, lien holder, or lessor.
(3) It is presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the warranty if, during the Lemon Law rights period, either:
(a) The same nonconformity has been subject to repair at least three times by the manufacturer or its authorized service agent, plus a final attempt by the manufacturer to repair the motor vehicle if undertaken as provided for in paragraph (1)(a), and such nonconformity continues to exist; or
(b) The motor vehicle has been out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities by the manufacturer, or its authorized service agent, for a cumulative total
of 30 or more days, 60 or more days in the case of a recreational vehicle, exclusive of downtime for routine maintenance prescribed by the owner’s manual. The manufacturer or its authorized service agent must have had at least one opportunity to inspect or repair the vehicle following receipt of the notification as provided in paragraph (1)(b). The 30-day period, or 60-day period in the case of a recreational vehicle, may be extended by any period of time during which repair services are not available to the consumer because of war, invasion, strike, fire, flood, or natural
(4) It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter that:
(a) The alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle;
(b) The nonconformity is the result of an accident, abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the motor vehicle by persons other than the manufacturer or its authorized service agent; or
(c) The claim by the consumer was not filed in good faith.
Any other affirmative defense allowed by law may be raised against the claim.
681.106 Bad faith claims.
Any claim by a consumer which is found by the court to have been filed in bad faith or solely for the purpose of harassment, or in complete absence of a justiciable issue of either law or fact raised by the consumer, shall result in the consumer being liable for all costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the manufacturer, or its agent, as a direct result of the bad faith claim.
681.108 Dispute-settlement procedures.
(1) If a manufacturer has established a procedure, which the division has certified as substantially complying with the provisions of 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983, and with the provisions of this chapter and the rules adopted under this chapter, and has informed the consumer how and where to file a claim with such procedure pursuant to s. 681.103(3), the provisions of s. 681.104(2) apply to the consumer only if the consumer has first resorted to such procedure. The decision makers for a certified procedure shall, in rendering decisions, take into
account all legal and equitable factors germane to a fair and just decision, including, but not limited to, the warranty; the rights and remedies conferred under 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983; the provisions of this chapter; and any other equitable considerations appropriate under the circumstances. Decision makers and staff of a procedure shall be trained
in the provisions of this chapter and in 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983. In an action brought by a consumer concerning an alleged nonconformity, the decision that results from a certified procedure is admissible in evidence.
(2) A manufacturer may apply to the division for certification of its procedure. After receipt and evaluation of the application, the division shall certify the procedure or notify the manufacturer of any deficiencies in the application or the procedure.
(3) A certified procedure or a procedure of an applicant seeking certification shall submit to the division a copy of each settlement approved by the procedure or decision made by a decision maker within 30 days after the settlement is reached or the decision is rendered. The decision or settlement must contain at a minimum the:
1. Name and address of the consumer;
2. Name of the manufacturer and address of the dealership from which the motor vehicle was purchased;
3. Date the claim was received and the location of the procedure office that handled the claim;
4.Relief requested by the consumer;
5. Name of each decision maker rendering the decision or person approving the settlement; 6.Statement of the terms of the settlement or decision;
7. Date of the settlement or decision; and
8.Statement of whether the decision was accepted or rejected by the consumer.
(4) Any manufacturer establishing or applying to establish a certified procedure must file with the division a copy of the annual audit required under the provisions of 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983, together with any additional information required for purposes of certification, including the number of refunds and replacements made in this state pursuant to the provisions of this chapter by the manufacturer during the period audited.
(5) The division shall review each certified procedure at least annually, prepare an annual report evaluating the operation of certified procedures established by motor vehicle manufacturers and procedures of applicants seeking certification, and, for a period not to exceed 1 year, shall grant certification to, or renew certification for, those manufacturers whose procedures substantially comply with the provisions of 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983, and with the provisions of this chapter and rules adopted under this chapter. If certification is revoked or denied, the division shall state the reasons for such action. The reports and records of actions taken with respect to certification shall be public records.
(6) A manufacturer whose certification is denied or revoked is entitled to a hearing pursuant to chapter 120.
(7) If federal preemption of state authority to regulate procedures occurs, the provisions of subsection (1) concerning prior resort do not apply.
(8) The division shall adopt rules to implement this section.
681.109 Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board; dispute eligibility.–
(1) If a manufacturer has a certified procedure, a consumer claim arising during the Lemon Law rights period must be filed with the certified procedure no later than 60 days after the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period. If a decision is not rendered by the certified procedure within 40 days of filing, the consumer may apply to the division to have the dispute removed to the board for arbitration.
(2) If a manufacturer has a certified procedure, a consumer claim arising during the Lemon Law rights period must be filed with the certified procedure no later than 60 days after the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period. If a consumer is not satisfied with the decision or the manufacturer’s compliance therewith, the consumer may apply to the division to have the dispute submitted to the board for arbitration. A manufacturer may not seek review of a decision made under its procedure.
(3) If a manufacturer has no certified procedure or if a certified procedure does not have jurisdiction to resolve the dispute, a consumer may apply directly to the division to have the dispute submitted to the board for arbitration.
(4) A consumer must request arbitration before the board with respect to a claim arising during the Lemon Law rights period no later than 60 days after the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period, or within 30 days after the final action of a certified procedure, whichever date occurs later.
(5) The division shall screen all requests for arbitration before the board to determine eligibility. The consumer’s request for arbitration before the board shall be made on a form prescribed by the department. The division shall forward to the board all disputes that the division determines are potentially entitled to relief under this chapter.
(6) The division may reject a dispute that it determines to be fraudulent or outside the scope of the board’s authority. Any dispute deemed by the division to be ineligible for arbitration by the board due to insufficient evidence may be reconsidered upon the submission of new information regarding the dispute. Following a second review, the division may reject a dispute if the evidence is clearly insufficient to qualify for relief. Any dispute rejected by the division shall be forwarded to the department and a copy shall be sent by registered mail to the consumer and the manufacturer, containing a brief explanation as to the reason for rejection.
(7) If the division rejects a dispute, the consumer may file a lawsuit to enforce the remedies provided under this chapter. In any civil action arising under this chapter and relating to a matter considered by the division, any determination made to reject a dispute is admissible in evidence.
(8) The department shall have the authority to adopt reasonable rules to carry out the provisions of this section.
681.1095 Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board; creation and function.–
(1) There is established within the Department of Legal Affairs, the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board, consisting of members appointed by the Attorney General for an initial term of 1 year. Board members may be reappointed for additional terms of 2 years. Each board member is accountable to the Attorney General for the performance of the member’s duties and is exempt from civil liability for any act or omission which occurs while acting in the member’s official capacity. The Department of Legal Affairs shall defend a member in any action against the member or the board which arises from any such act or omission. The Attorney General may establish as many regions of the board as necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
(2) The boards shall hear cases in various locations throughout the state so any consumer whose dispute is approved for arbitration by the division may attend an arbitration hearing at a reasonably convenient location and present a dispute orally. Hearings shall be conducted by panels of three board members assigned by the department. A majority vote of the three-member board panel shall be required to render a decision. Arbitration proceedings under this section shall be open to the public on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.
(3) Each region of the board shall consist of up to eight members. The members of the board shall construe and apply the provisions of this chapter, and rules adopted thereunder, in making their decisions. An administrator and a secretary shall be assigned to each board by the Department of Legal Affairs. At least one member of each board must be a person with expertise in motor vehicle mechanics. A member must not be employed by a manufacturer or a franchised motor vehicle dealer or be a staff member, a decisionmaker, or a consultant for a procedure. Board members shall be trained in the application of this chapter and any rules adopted under this chapter, shall be reimbursed for travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061, and shall be compensated at a rate or wage prescribed by the Attorney General.
(4) Before filing a civil action on a matter subject to s. 681.104, the consumer must first submit the dispute to the division, and to the board if such dispute is deemed eligible for arbitration.
(5) Manufacturers shall submit to arbitration conducted by the board if such arbitration is requested by a consumer and the dispute is deemed eligible for arbitration by the division pursuant to s. 681.109.
(6) The board shall hear the dispute within 40 days and render a decision within 60 days after the date the request for arbitration is approved. The board may continue the hearing on its own motion or upon the request of a party for good cause shown. A request for continuance by the consumer constitutes waiver of the time periods set forth in this subsection. The Department of Legal Affairs, at the board’s request, may investigate disputes, and may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and for the production of records, documents, and other evidence before the board. The failure of the board to hear a dispute or render a decision within the prescribed periods does not invalidate the decision.
(7) At all arbitration proceedings, the parties may present oral and written testimony, present witnesses and evidence relevant to the dispute, cross-examine witnesses, and be represented by counsel. The board may administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses and inspect the vehicle if requested by a party or if the board deems such inspection appropriate.
(8) The board shall grant relief, if a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to correct a nonconformity or nonconformities.
(9) The decision of the board shall be sent by registered mail to the consumer and the manufacturer, and shall contain written findings of fact and rationale for the decision. If the decision is in favor of the consumer, the manufacturer must, within 40 days after receipt of the decision, comply with the terms of the decision. Compliance occurs on the date the consumer receives delivery of an acceptable replacement motor vehicle or the refund specified in the arbitration award. In any civil action arising under this chapter and relating to a dispute arbitrated before the board, any decision by the board is admissible in evidence.
(10) A decision is final unless appealed by either party. A petition to the circuit court to appeal a decision must be made within 30 days after receipt of the decision. The petition shall be filed in the county where the consumer resides, or where the motor vehicle was acquired, or where the arbitration hearing was conducted. Within 7 days after the petition has been filed, the appealing party must send a copy of the petition to the department. If the department does not receive notice of such petition within 40 days after the manufacturer’s receipt of a decision in favor of the consumer, and the manufacturer has neither complied with, nor has petitioned to appeal such decision, the department may apply to the circuit court to seek imposition of a fine up to $1,000 per day against the manufacturer until the amount stands at twice the purchase price of the motor vehicle, unless the manufacturer provides clear and convincing evidence that the delay or failure was beyond its control or was acceptable to the consumer as evidenced by a written statement signed by the consumer. If the manufacturer fails to provide such evidence or fails to pay the fine, the department shall initiate proceedings against the manufacturer for failure to pay such fine. The proceeds from the fine herein imposed shall be placed in the Motor Vehicle Warranty Trust Fund in the department for implementation and enforcement of this chapter. If the manufacturer fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection, the court shall affirm the award upon application by the consumer.
(11) All provisions in this section and s. 681.109 pertaining to compulsory arbitration before the board, the dispute eligibility screening by the division, the proceedings and decisions of the board, and any appeals thereof, are exempt from the provisions of chapter 120.
(12) An appeal of a decision by the board to the circuit court by a consumer or a manufacturer shall be by trial de novo. In a written petition to appeal a decision by the board, the appealing party must state the action requested and the grounds relied upon for appeal. Within 30 days of final disposition of the appeal, the appealing party shall furnish the department with notice of such disposition and, upon request, shall furnish the department with a copy of the order or judgment of the court.
(13) If a decision of the board in favor of the consumer is upheld by the court, recovery by the consumer shall include the pecuniary value of the award, attorney’s fees incurred in obtaining confirmation of the award, and all costs and continuing damages in the amount of $25 per day for each day beyond the 40-day period following the manufacturer’s receipt of the board’s decision. If a court determines that the manufacturer acted in bad faith in bringing the appeal or brought the appeal solely for the purpose of harassment or in complete absence of a justiciable issue of law or fact, the court shall double, and may triple, the amount of the total award.
(14) When a judgment affirms a decision by the board in favor of a consumer, appellate review may be conditioned upon payment by the manufacturer of the consumer’s attorney’s fees and giving security for costs and expenses resulting from the review period.
(15) The department shall maintain records of each dispute submitted to the board, and the program, including an index of motor vehicles by year, make, and model, and shall compile aggregate annual statistics for all disputes submitted to, and decided by, the board, as well as annual statistics for each manufacturer that include, but are not limited to, the value, if applicable, and the number and percent of:
(a) Replacement motor vehicle requests;
(b) Purchase price refund requests;
(c) Replacement motor vehicles obtained in prehearing settlements;
(d) Purchase price refunds obtained in prehearing settlements;
(e) Replacement motor vehicles awarded in arbitration;
(f) Purchase price refunds awarded in arbitration;
(g) Board decisions neither complied with in 40 days nor petitioned for appeal within 30 days;
(h) Board decisions appealed;
(i) Appeals affirmed by the court; and
(j) Appeals found by the court to be brought in bad faith or solely for the purpose of harassment.
The statistics compiled under this subsection are public information.
(16) When requested by the department, a manufacturer must verify the settlement terms for disputes that are approved for arbitration but are not decided by the board.
681.110 Compliance and disciplinary actions.–
The Department of Legal Affairs may enforce and ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter and rules adopted thereunder, may issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses and production of evidence, and may seek relief in the circuit court to compel compliance with such subpoenas. The Department of Legal Affairs may impose a civil penalty against a manufacturer not to exceed $1,000 for each count or separate offense. The proceeds from the fine imposed herein shall be placed in the Motor Vehicle Warranty Trust Fund in the Department of Legal Affairs for implementation and enforcement of this chapter.
681.111 Unfair or deceptive trade practice.–
A violation by a manufacturer of this chapter is an unfair or deceptive trade practice as defined in part ll of chapter 501.
681.112 Consumer remedies.–
A consumer may file an action to recover damages caused by a violation of this chapter. The court shall award a consumer who prevails in such action the amount of any pecuniary loss, litigation costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, and appropriate equitable relief.
(2) An action brought under this chapter must be commenced within 1 year after the expiration of the Lemon Law rights period, or, if a consumer resorts to an informal dispute-settlement procedure or submits a dispute to the division or board, within 1 year after the final action of the procedure, division, or board.
(3) This chapter does not prohibit a consumer from pursuing other rights or remedies under any other law.
When does a vehicle qualify as a Lemon in Florida?
Every state had its own determining criteria when it comes to whether or not your particular situation requires protections under the lemon law. Take a moment to become familiar with the state statute to see if what you are experiencing coincides with the Lemon Law as it is defined in the state of Florida.
The state statute in regard to the Lemon Law is comprehensive and can become somewhat confusing as you read through it. If you find that you are still not sure whether the Florida Lemon Law applies to your case after reading through the state statute, we encourage you to contact our team for a consultation. Speaking with one of our experienced Florida Lemon Law attorneys is a great way for you to get clarity on the issue. Our professional legal team can be reached directly at (888) 353-0456 or take a moment to fill out the contact information form.
Is a used car covered under Florida Lemon Law?
Although it is more common for consumers to experience problems when they choose to invest in a used car, Lemon Law protection is primarily for the new car. If you have purchased a used car along with a printed warranty then the used car may qualify under the definition of a lemon. On this issue, it is good to check on the most recent information available concerning Florida Lemon Law since the law can be updated over time.
When do I need a Florida based Lemon Law Attorney?
If you are in a situation where you have looked at the Florida state Lemon Laws and you feel that you have been dealing with a “lemon” as defined by that law then it’s time to start partnering with one of our expert Florida Lemon Law attorneys. Contact us and our team of top notch legal professionals with work with you to begin the evaluation process that helps to determine if your case meets the requirements for legal protection under the Florida Lemon Law.
How do Lemon Law Attorneys in Florida protect my rights?
As Florida Lemon Law experts, our team of attorney’s partner with consumers, like you, to help them fully understand how to make the most of their legal rights. In Florida, Lemon Law cases require an experienced attorney who can help you take a stand against auto manufacturing companies who have powerful legal teams at their disposal.
With our lawyers by your side your rights will be well represented even when facing a goliath of an opponent like an auto manufacturing company. If your vehicle is deemed to be covered by the Florida Lemon Law we can fight for your rights on your behalf. If you come in for a consultation and it turns out that your current situation does not qualify you for Lemon Law protections our professional legal team is able to lead you through an alternative resolution process that can help put the problem to rest.
How long do Lemon Law cases in Florida typically take to get resolved?
There is not a definite timeline when it comes to resolving a Florida Lemon Law case. On average a typical case can take months while we work as swiftly as possible through the legal process. The most important thing you can rely on with our attorneys is that we make it a priority to communicate with you openly and often concerning the progress of your Lemon Law case.
How much will a Florida Lemon Attorney cost to hire?
In most cases all legal expenses are absorbed by the auto manufacturing company involved with the case. The auto manufacturing company being responsible for the legal fees associated with your case is normally what is required by state law if your vehicle meets the “lemon” qualifications as outlined by the statute. In the end, if our team of experienced Lemon Law attorneys do not win your Lemon Law case, there is no out of pocket cost to you.
What are some of the areas that that Lemon Law Lawyers in Florida cover?
The attorneys with Lemon Law Group Partners offer legal services throughout the state of Florida including these cities and other areas across the state.
- Port St. Lucie
- Cape Coral
- Fort Lauderdale
- Pembroke Pines
- Palm Bay
- Pompano Beach
- Miami Gardens
- West Palm Beach
- Boca Raton
- Miami Beach
- Palm Coast
- Fort Myers
Don’t hesitate to contact our team today for more information if you feel like your vehicle is a “lemon”. We are here to answer all of your Lemon Law questions.