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Florida Lemon Law
If you've purchased or leased a defective automobile, you do have legal recourse under Florida's lemon law. The law provides arbitration for car owners with complaints, and can result in a full refund or replacement vehicle.
You're on your own with a used car, however; the law applies only to the purchase or long-term lease of a new car.
Depending on the specific defect of your vehicle, the manufacturer will generally replace it or refund your money if the vehicle cannot be repaired within a certain amount of time over a certain number of attempts.
On this page you'll find a basic overview of the Florida lemon law and who to contact for your next steps or more information.
To be eligible for arbitration, your vehicle must meet one of the following conditions:
- The vehicle defect or condition must "substantially impair the use, value, or safety" of the vehicle.
- The car must have been taken in to the authorized service agent for service 3 attempts to repair the same substantial defect.
- The vehicle must be out of service for at least 15 days (cumulative, not consecutive) due to the substantial defect.
NOTE: The Florida lemon law only applies for the first 24 months after you purchase the vehicle.
If the preceding conditions apply, mail a Motor Vehicle Defect Notification (MVDN) form to the manufacturer (not dealer) of your vehicle. The form must be sent by registered or express mail, with return receipt requested. This gives the manufacturer one final opportunity to attempt a repair or at least inspect the vehicle.
If, after 10 days, this final repair attempt or inspection has still not taken place, you are now free to seek arbitration under Florida's lemon law.
Be sure to collect detailed records of your vehicle's service history and any correspondence you may have had with your vehicle's manufacturer and authorized dealers.
Many manufacturers offer state-certified arbitration for defective vehicles; if your vehicle's manufacturer offers such a program, be sure to seek resolution there first. For a complete list of vehicle manufacturer-sponsored and state-certified dispute settlement programs, please visit the Florida Attorney General website.
If you do not receive a satisfactory resolution, or if there is no such program with your vehicle's manufacturer, proceed with the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board.
You must contact the Florida Office of the Attorney General and file your suit by the later of either:
- Up to 60 days after the end of your lemon law period.
- Up to 30 days after the final decision of the state-certified manufacture informal settlement program.
Call the state's Lemon Law Hotline at:
- (800) 321-5366.
- (850) 414-3500 if you're out of state.
- Download a Request for Arbitration package.
If your request is granted, a hearing will be scheduled. Be sure to compile written records and all documentation in relation to repairs, maintenance, and days out of service. You will be expected to provide proof of your claims.
For more information about the lemon law and state arbitration, please visit the website of the Florida's Attorney General.Other Topics in This SectionBe a Hero
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