What Do You Need to Know about the Florida Lemon Law?
Dec 16, 2021 by Juan Herrera, Vice President, Dispute Resolution Programs, BBB National Programs
If you have ever purchased or leased a car or SUV that you consider a lemon, you may have questions about the myriad of federal and state laws that govern your vehicle and the remedies available to you. The federal lemon law is known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and covers vehicles under the original manufacturer warranty.
However, each state also has their own statute governing vehicles sold and leased in that state for personal use. Today, we look at the lemon law in Florida, one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S.
What is the Florida lemon law?
The Florida lemon law is a state statute governing vehicles sold and leased in Florida. It provides remedies to consumers who experience vehicle “nonconformities" that cannot be repaired after multiple attempts.
- The law covers cars and trucks purchased for transport of persons or property.
- The law does not cover vehicles run only on tracks, off-road vehicles, trucks over 10,000 pounds G.V.W., motorcycles, mopeds, or the living facilities of recreational vehicles.
The “lemon law rights period,” when a consumer may report a nonconformity to the manufacturer and pursue their rights under the law, in Florida is 24 months from the date of original delivery of the vehicle to the consumer.
After 24 months, a consumer has 60 days to file a lemon law dispute.
How do I know if my vehicle is considered a lemon under Florida’s statute?
The Florida lemon law covers vehicle nonconformities. A nonconformity is defined as a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a vehicle. Regulations define “condition” to mean a general problem (e.g., vehicle fails to start, vehicle runs hot, etc.) that may be attributable to a defect in more than one part. In addition, the lemon law requires repurchase/replacement only if the defect or condition causes the vehicle to not conform to the warranty.
This does not include a defect or condition that results from an accident, abuse, neglect, modification, or alteration of the vehicle by persons other than the manufacturer or its authorized service agent.
Florida lemon law also establishes a set of guidelines to assist in determining if a vehicle may be deemed a lemon if the manufacturer is unable to repair the vehicle after a reasonable number of repair attempts.
Important Note: Before you can seek a lemon law remedy, Florida lemon law provides the manufacturer with a final repair opportunity after there are three repair attempts for the same nonconformity, or after the vehicle has been out of service for 15 days or more for the repair of one or more nonconformities.
A consumer must give written notice to the manufacturer, by registered or express mail requesting the final repair. The notice should be sent to the address provided by the manufacturer in your warranty manual.
Florida lemon law then presumes that a vehicle may be deemed a lemon if:
- 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 after receiving the registered or express mail notice from the consumer, and the nonconformity continues to exist; or
- The 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, exclusive of down time for routine maintenance prescribed by the owner’s manual. The manufacturer must have had the opportunity for a final repair attempt as described above. (Note: The 30- and 60-day periods may be extended if repair services are not available because of war, invasion, strike, fire, flood, or natural disaster.)
Who is covered under Florida’s lemon law?
The Florida lemon law covers the following consumers:
- The purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, or the lessee of a vehicle primarily used for personal, family, or household purposes;
- Any person to whom such vehicle is transferred for the same purposes during the duration of the lemon law rights period; or
- Any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty.
Subsequent owners are covered if the vehicle is transferred from one consumer to another during the lemon law rights period. A subsequent owner who purchased a vehicle used from a dealership would not be covered.
How can BBB AUTO LINE help me?
If you have an unresolved dispute involving a defect that is covered by the manufacturer’s original warranty, BBB AUTO LINE may be able to assist you. BBB AUTO LINE is an out-of-court mediation and arbitration dispute resolution process in which many automobile manufacturers participate. Additionally, BBB AUTO LINE is a certified dispute resolution program under the Florida lemon law.
To be eligible for BBB AUTO LINE support, your claim must involve one of our participating manufacturers and fall within the eligibility guidelines set forth by that manufacturer’s program summary. Additional requirements may apply to preserve your rights under Florida lemon law. For a more detailed explanation of the Florida lemon law, review our Florida lemon law webpage or call the Florida Attorney General’s Lemon Law Hotline at 1-800-321-5366.
To learn more about BBB AUTO LINE, or to open a claim:
- Go to bbbautoline.org and select “FOR CONSUMERS” to gather more information on the program.
- Complete the form to submit your complaint to BBB AUTO LINE or call 1-800-955-5100.
- A BBB AUTO LINE intake specialist will discuss the dispute resolution process with you and take your claim if it is eligible.