So imagine this scenario: You finally have enough money saved up for the down payment on a brand new car. This isn’t a used model, or a former lease that has been turned in. In fact, the car only has about ten miles on the odometer. And then you get it home and it won’t crank the next morning. You try everything you can think of to get it going and then finally give in and call your garage. Sounds like a nightmare, right? Unfortunately, it’s the type of nightmare that has happened so often that it has resulted in the passage of a “Lemon Law” in Florida. This law is designed to help protect the interests of the consumers but faulty and defective merchandise. The Florida Lemon Law is meant to give legal options to consumers who have bought or leased a new car that turns out to be defective in some way. There are many clauses, including those for arbitration as well as how to get either a different vehicle or a full refund. Here’s what you need to know.
Is My Car Covered Under the Lemon Law?
The first thing to realize is that only new cars are covered under the lemon law in Florida. There is a two year statute of limitations on this law. After this time period, no mechanical problems are covered under the law. In addition, the following points have to be met for a vehicle to be classified as a “lemon”:
- The vehicle has to have a defect or fault in it that significantly prevents the vehicle from being used or that renders it unsafe or less valuable;
- The owner has to have made at least three attempts to fix the same issue on the vehicle;
- The vehicle has to have been “in the shop” being repaired for at least 15 days.
For instance, if the brakes on your car are having issues, they would more than likely be covered since this would definitely render your car unsafe. If that is the case, you would also have had to take in the car at least three times to work on the brakes. If one of those garage visits was for a different mechanical problem, then this does not count. Finally, if the car was in the shop and out of service for 15 days because of the brake problem, then your car could be classified as a lemon. For this last condition to be met, the car must have been in the shop because of the brake problem. If it was in for some other issue, then it does not necessarily qualify.
What Should I Do If My Car Is a Lemon?
If your car meets these requirements, your first step is to see if the manufacturer has a state-certified arbitrator. If they do, you should start by contacting them. If this does not work, you should contact the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board. If this does not get you the results you want, then you may need to hire an attorney who specializes in lemon law cases.
Just because you have bought a car that is a lemon, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence and dump thousands of dollars more into it for repairs. There is a way to get a refund of your payment or even a new vehicle. If you have tried the arbitration process and not been satisfied with the results, you should contact the Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers offices of Wolf & Pravato. We have experienced attorneys that will be happy to review your case and give you an opinion on where you stand legally.