There is nothing worse than to have saved to purchase a new vehicle only to find out later that it is fraught with problems. If you purchased or leased the car in the state of Florida you have legal recourse under the Florida Lemon Law. The law states specifics on how you can either return the car for a refund or get a replacement. Although Lemon Laws in some states also apply to used cars, in Florida the purchaser is on his or her own as the law in Florida only applies to new vehicles.

To be eligible for Lemon law protection in Florida:

For your vehicle to be declared a lemon and for you to be eligible for arbitration the vehicle must meet at least one of the following:

A) The defect must be such that is “substantially” impairs the vehicles use, safety or value
B) The vehicle must have made at least three trips to the manufacturers authorized repair depot for the same fault
C) The vehicle has not been available for use by the owner for a cumulative total of a minimum of 15 days due to the reported defect

It must be noted that the Florida Lemon law is in effect for 24 months after the vehicle has been purchased.

If you believe the vehicle has a substantial defect and it meets at least one of the conditions noted above then you are obliged to send by registered mail a Motor Vehicle Defect Notification. Once the manufacturer receives this notification it gives them one final chance to inspect the vehicle or make a final attempt at repairing the defect. If an inspection or an attempt at repair is not made after 10 days then, as the owner, you can seek arbitration under the law.

Remedies under the Florida Lemon law:

Not all vehicle manufacturers have a certified arbitration program but many do. If the manufacturer of your car is one that does have a program you should first attempt to resolve the issue there. In the event you do not get a response which is in your favor or the manufacturer of your car does not have such an arbitration program you will have to contact the State Attorney General’s office and file a suit.

During your hearing in the presence of the New Vehicle Arbitration Board you will be asked to support your claim with documentation, this is why it is so important that you keep all repair orders, inspection reports, etc as well as a log of the days the car was not available due to the defect.

If you purchase or lease a new vehicle in the state of Florida and it turns out to have a serious fault that cannot be rectified the Florida Lemon Law is in place to help you with legal recourse. For additional information visit www.lemonlawamerica.com.

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