Recalls & Defects
Florida's Lemon Law - The System Works!
The Lemon Law program has proven to be an effective means of recourse for Florida consumers who have purchased or leased NEW defective autos. Buying a new car is one of the most important and expensive purchases you will make. If you find yourself going back and forth to the dealer for frequent repairs, the fun and satisfaction of owning a new car can quickly change into a frustrating and costly experience. If you have invested hard-earned cash into a "showroom lemon," help is just a phone call away.
Recognizing that "new" does not always translate into "problem-free," the Florida Legislature in 1988 revised a law that makes car manufacturers responsible – under certain conditions — for replacing defective vehicles or refunding consumers' money. Commonly known as Florida's automobile "Lemon Law," the Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act established arbitration boards throughout the state to hear and settle complaints between car manufacturers and owners. Consumers who are successful in Lemon Law arbitration have received either refunds or replacement vehicles. Visit the Florida Attorney General's Office web site to view the list of vehicles 'bought back' under Florida's Lemon Law.
Does the Lemon Law Apply to My Vehicle?
- The Lemon Law program DOES NOT COVER USED CARS, vehicles that run only on tracks, off-road vehicles, trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, motorcycles, mopeds, or the living facilities of recreational vehicles. In order to find out if you could qualify for protection under the Lemon Law, please review the follow information.
Did you purchase or lease your vehicle NEW in the State of Florida?
- The Florida Lemon Law applies to NEW or demonstrator motor vehicles which are sold or leased in the State of Florida. With a few exceptions, a previously titled vehicle (used car) is not covered by the Lemon Law.
Does your vehicle have a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle?
- A substantial defect or condition is a problem that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. There is no easy answer to determine what types of defects or conditions substantially impair a vehicle's use, value, or safety. It depends on the facts of each case. Minor or trivial defects, or defects caused by accident, abuse, neglect, modification or alteration by anyone other than an authorized service agent are not covered.
Have you taken the vehicle to the dealership or an authorized service agent at least 3 times for the SAME substantial defect or condition or has the vehicle been out of service for at least 15 cumulative calendar days due to one or more substantial defects or conditions?
- There must be three repair attempts for the same defect or condition, OR at least 15 cumulative calendar days out of service for one or more defects or conditions, before submitting the Motor Vehicle Defect Notification (MVDN) [14K PDF]. If you do not have the required number of repair attempts or days out of service, then continue to take the vehicle to the dealer for repairs.
- Please Note: If your complaint is based on the vehicle being out of service for 15 or more days the manufacturer or its authorized agent has the opportunity to inspect or repair the vehicle. If the vehicle still does not conform to the warranty for a total of 30 or more days and the manufacturer has had the opportunity to repair, you are entitled to request arbitration.
Have you mailed by registered or express mail, return receipt requested, to the manufacturer of your vehicle (not dealer) the MVDN form which is located in your Lemon Law Handbook provided at the time of purchase?
- After you have either at least three failed repair attempts for the same problem OR at least 15 cumulative calendar days out of service, you must file the Motor Vehicle Defect Notification (MVDN) [14K PDF] by registered or express mail, return receipt requested to the manufacturer to give the manufacturer a final repair attempt or inspection on your vehicle.
Have you had a final repair attempt/inspection after the manufacturer received the MVDN?
- If you put the manufacturer on notice for the defects or conditions, the manufacturer has 10 days from receipt of the MVDN to respond and direct you to a reasonable accessible repair facility to have a final repair attempt or inspection on your vehicle. If you receive no response from the manufacturer within 10 days after the date of receipt, the law states the manufacturer has then waived their right to the final repair attempt and you may proceed with your Lemon Law rights.
Do you have work orders to verify the repairs to your vehicle?
- You must have work orders to support your claim. If you do not have copies of the work orders, contact your dealer for a list of all repair work performed on your vehicle.
- All cases have time limitations for when you can file a request. If you have a question about whether or not your vehicle falls within these time limitations, please contact our office at the numbers 1-800-321-5366 or 1-850-410-3807.
- If you request arbitration under the failed repair attempts provision, you must have three failed repair attempts for the same defect prior to placing the manufacturer on notice of the defect and a final repair attempt after the notice is received. The defect must still exist after the final repair.
- If you request arbitration under days out of service, you must give notice to the manufacturer after at least 15 cumulative calendar days out of service for multiple defects, but you must have at least 30 total days out of service before applying for arbitration.
- Many manufacturers have a dispute settlement program that may be utilized to resolve your complaints about a vehicle you have purchased or leased. Participation in a manufacturer's program is only required prior to application to the State of Florida Lemon Law arbitration if the manufacturer has a program that is certified through this office. A listing of the certified programs may be found below. All other dispute settlement programs do not effect the filing time or requirements for arbitration through the state and do not require your participation.
If you answered YES to the six questions above, you could qualify for protection under the Lemon Law, please call 1-800-321-5366 or (850) 410-3807 to receive a Request for Arbitration Package