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What are my rights under the Florida Lemon Law?

It can prove to be an incredibly exciting day for consumers when they finally decide that it's time to consign their aging vehicle to the scrap heap and head to the local dealer to find a new model on which to spend their hard-earned money.

Conversely, it can prove to be an incredibly frustrating day for consumers when they see that the new car, truck or sport utility vehicle they've purchased is riddled with problems, from malfunctioning engines to faulty electronics.   

While it's understandable how new car defects can leave a consumer feeling frustrated and powerless, it's important for them to understand that they are not without rights or options. Indeed, consumers here in Florida are protected by the state's Lemon Law.

What exactly does the Florida Lemon Law do?  

The Lemon Law protects consumers from conditions or defects (i.e., "nonconformities") that substantially impair the use, safety or value of a new or demonstrator vehicle, meaning one used by dealership employees but not registered with the state.

Specifically, it dictates that these types of nonconformities must be reported by the consumer to the authorized service agent -- typically the dealer -- or the manufacturer during the first 24 months after the delivery date of the vehicle.

In the event either of these parties fails to fix the nonconformities after a reasonable number of attempts, thereby failing to return the vehicle to its normally operable condition and, by extension, honor the terms of the warranty, the defective vehicle must be bought back, and a replacement vehicle or purchase price refund given to the consumer.

Are there certain types of nonconformities the Florida Lemon Law doesn't cover?

Nonconformities directly attributable to abuse, neglect or accidents, as well as alterations or modifications performed by someone other than the manufacturer or authorized service agent are not covered by the Lemon Law.

We'll continue this discussion in our next post.

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have questions regarding the Lemon Law or another consumer protection issue. 

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