Lemon Laws in Florida

Florida’s lemon law entitles consumers to a refund or replacement if they buy a defective vehicle that the manufacturer can’t fix.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Edited by R.E. Fulton
The Florida Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act—commonly known as
“lemon law”—protects consumers who lease, finance, or purchase a brand-new or demo motor with unfixable defects. A successful
lemon law
claim may include a refund of the vehicle’s purchase price or a replacement vehicle, plus reimbursement for any related expenses.
  • Florida lemon law protects consumers’ rights to a refund or replacement if the manufacturer is unable to fix their new, defective vehicle.
  • The Florida lemon law rights period is two years from the day the consumer takes possession of the vehicle.
  • Florida lemon law applies to leased and purchased vehicles, but not to motorcycles, used cars, or private sales.
  • If your vehicle isn’t covered by Florida lemon law, it might fall under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

What is the Florida lemon law?

Florida Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act
protects consumers’ rights to a refund, replacement, and/or reimbursement if they purchase or lease a defective vehicle. The vehicle in question must be a brand-new or demo product—no used cars or private sales! 
To quote the Florida Attorney General’s office, lemon law covers “defects or conditions that substantially impair the use, value or safety of a new or demonstrator vehicle”. These defects or conditions are known as “nonconformities”.
If they notice a nonconformity, the consumer must notify an “authorized service agent” representing the vehicle’s manufacturer—ie. the dealership—within the “lemon law rights reriod”. If the service agent and manufacturer both fail to eliminate the nonconformities in question after a “reasonable number of attempts”, the consumer is entitled to a refund, replacement, and/or reimbursement of related expenses.

What is the “lemon law rights period”?

The Florida lemon law rights period lasts 24 months from the day the consumer takes possession of the vehicle. Florida lemon law applies only to nonconformities that surface during this time. The consumer must also notify the manufacturer of any issues, allow it a reasonable number of repair attempts, and pursue a lemon law claim within this period.

What is a “reasonable number of attempts”?

Florida lemon law provides two definitions for the number of repair attempts a vehicle manufacturer is entitled to make before the consumer may pursue a lemon law claim.
  1. Either the dealership must have attempted a repair for the same nonconformity at least three times, and the manufacturer at least once, without success;
  2. Or the vehicle must have been out of service for one or more nonconformities for at least 30 days, including at least one repair attempt by the manufacturer.
A repair attempt counts if it’s made by a manufacturer-certified mechanic, an independent auto repair facility, or the manufacturer itself. So if you suspect you’ve bought a lemon, don’t attempt a DIY repair!

What can I get for a successful lemon law claim?

Florida Statutes
entitle consumers to receive a refund, replacement vehicle, and/or reimbursement of “collateral and incidental charges” if they make a successful lemon law claim. Here’s a breakdown of what your lemon law relief may entail:
  • A refund of the motor vehicle’s full purchase price: Also known as “lemon law buyback,” “repurchase”, or “trade-in”, this refund may subtract a “reasonable offset for use”. In other words, the more you drive a lemon, the less compensation you receive.
  • OR a replacement motor vehicle: The replacement vehicle must be identical or “reasonably equivalent”, which means no more than 105% of the lemon’s original MSRP. Consumers have the unconditional right to opt for a refund over a replacement.
  • AND reimbursement of collateral and incidental charges: “Collateral charges” refers to any purchase costs, including (but not limited to)
    car loan charges
    , sales taxes, title fees, etc. “Incidental charges” refers to any lemon-related expenses, like towing charges, rental vehicle bills, and missed flights.
Key Takeaway The Florida lemon law entitles new car buyers and lessees to a refund or replacement if the manufacturer can’t fix their defective vehicle within two years.

Is my vehicle eligible for a lemon law claim?

While it provides consumers with protection, the Florida lemon law doesn’t apply to every motor vehicle bought within the state. Here are the most important inclusions and exclusions to keep in mind:

What qualifies for Florida lemon law?

Florida lemon law covers:
  • New and demonstrator motor vehicles and recreational vehicles
  • Motor vehicles leased, purchased, or financed within the state of Florida
  • Motor vehicles purchased for personal or household non-commercial use
  • Motor vehicles that remain the property of their first, original owners
Not every state’s lemon laws cover lease vehicles, but Florida’s do! Even if you’re not the vehicle owner, you’re entitled to compensation if you rent a lemon from a dealer.

What are the exceptions to Florida lemon law?

Florida lemon law doesn’t cover:
  • Off-road vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, electric bikes, and boats
  • Trucks with a gross weight of over 10,000 pounds
  • Motor vehicles purchased for resale, commercial use, or business purposes
  • Motor vehicles purchased in private sales
  • Used motor vehicles, including certified pre-owned models sold by the manufacturer
  • The “living facilities” of RVs (ex. kitchens, bathrooms, bunks, and their related gas, plumbing, and electrical systems)
As for ineligible damages, you probably won’t win your lemon law claim if your vehicle’s issues don’t present a substantial risk to its operation, safety, or value. Florida lemon law won’t cover any damages caused by your neglect, abuse, or a car accident. Ditto for aftermarket modifications and customizations. A recall, however, won’t make your car ineligible for a lemon law claim.
Key Takeaway Florida lemon law applies only to brand-new, defective vehicles, not used cars, private sales, RVs, bikes, or ATVs—or any damages caused by the vehicle owner themselves.

Is there a federal lemon law?

Yes! The
Magnuson Moss Warranty Act
(or “Mag-Moss Act”) works with state lemon laws to protect consumers from getting stuck with a dysfunctional product. If your vehicle isn’t covered by Florida lemon law, you may have protection under the Mag-Moss Act.

What is the Magnusson Moss Warranty Act?

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal lemon law passed in 1975. It protects consumers across the country from unscrupulous manufacturer sales and warranty practices.
In brief, Federal lemon law states that:
  • Manufacturers must include terms and conditions, length, and how to make a claim (among other information) in every written warranty. 
  • Any business advertising a product for sale is also understood to have offered an implicit promise (or “implied warranty”) that the goods sold are in working condition and fit for their intended purpose. 
  • If not, the seller must disclose this information to the buyer before the sale.
  • If a manufacturer refuses to uphold their written or implied warranty, a product doesn’t work as intended, or a product reveals undisclosed damage, buyers are entitled to seek compensation through a consumer lawsuit.
As you can see, the terms of the Mag-Moss Act are very different from Florida lemon law. Which products qualify and what you can claim are equally unique.

What qualifies for federal lemon law?

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act applies to all consumer products sold after 1975 and worth $25 or more. We say “consumer product” because the Mag-Moss Act applies not just to cars, but also to appliances, toys, services, and more than we can cover in a single article!
For now, let’s focus on lemons. Unlike Florida lemon law, the Mag-Moss Act applies to:
  • ATVs, UTVs, large trucks, motorhomes, boats, and entire RVs
  • Motorcycles, mopeds, and electric bicycles
  • Motor vehicles purchased for business purposes
  • Used motor vehicles sold by a business
Note that the Mag-Moss Act doesn’t cover salvage vehicles, commercial products, or private sales. It also prevents you from suing a manufacturer for damages related to neglect, abuse, or accident. However, you could sue the manufacturer of an aftermarket vehicle modification or customization kit if the product doesn’t work as intended.

What’s the difference between federal and Florida lemon law?

The key differences between the Magnuson-Moss and Florida Motor Vehicle Enforcement Warranty Acts are their scope, duration, and compensation. Here are the biggest dissimilarities between the two:

Differences between Florida and Federal lemon law

Florida lemon law
Federal lemon law
What products qualify?
New or demo motor vehicles leased or purchased within the state of Florida
Nearly every consumer good sold nationwide with a value of $25 or more
Do used goods qualify?
Yes, if sold by a qualifying business
How many repair attempts are the seller or manufacturer allowed to make?
Four total (including one by the manufacturer) or a total of 30 days out of service
As little as two or three
What is the statute of limitations?
Two years from the date of delivery
Four years from the date of purchase
What can you get for a successful claim?
A refund of the full purchase price OR a replacement vehicle
The difference between what you paid for the product and what you would have paid had you known about its defects
Federal lemon law also protects the people’s right to sue by requiring manufacturers to pay the cost of the consumer’s attorney fees if the consumer wins. In this way, consumers aren’t discouraged from filing a lawful suit by a company's size. Florida lemon rights don’t oblige manufacturers to pay for consumers’ attorney fees.
Key Takeaway The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, or federal lemon law, allows consumers to take deceptive sellers and manufacturers to court for defects in new and used goods.

How to pursue your lemon law rights in Florida

Making a successful Florida lemon law claim depends on owning a qualifying vehicle, allowing the manufacturer to attempt repairs, and acting within the lemon law rights period.

Florida lemon law checklist

Like most legal procedures, the lemon law claims process is complex, so we’ve put the most relevant information into a checklist. Here’s what to ask yourself before pursuing your lemon law rights in Florida:
  1. Do I own a qualifying vehicle? Remember, Florida lemon law applies only to new or demo vehicles leased or purchased within the state of Florida—not used cars, private sales, or ATVs!
  2. Do my vehicle’s defects qualify? Florida lemon law only allows you to pursue compensation for defects related to the operation, value, and safety of the vehicle, not minor bumps or scratches—or any damage you caused yourself!
  3. Have I allowed the dealership a reasonable number of repair attempts? Check your service records; to qualify for Florida lemon law, the dealership must have attempted to fix your car at least three times for the same issue. Or, your car must have spent a total of 15 days out of service for one or more issues.
  4. Am I within the lemon law rights period? The issues you experience, the dealership’s attempts at repair, and/or 15 total out-of-service days must have occurred within two years of the vehicle’s date of delivery.
  5. Have I notified the vehicle manufacturer? The final step is to allow your car manufacturer one last attempt to repair the vehicle. Write to the manufacturer (not the dealership) and send them a completed
    Motor Vehicle Defect Notification Form
    by certified, registered, or express mail. You must send a notification before your lemon law Rights Period expires.
Upon receiving your letter, the manufacturer has 10 days to direct you to a garage that will make a final attempt at repair. Once you drop off your vehicle, the garage has 10 days to fix it. If they aren’t successful (or if your car has now been out-of-service for a total of 30 days or more), you have the grounds to ask for a refund or replacement and reimbursement of any related expenses.
At this point, the ball is in the manufacturer’s court. They can honor your request or counter with one of their own. If they deny your request or make an unsatisfactory offer, it’s time to pass to arbitration.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a process in which you and the vehicle manufacturer ask a third party to decide whether or not your vehicle qualifies as a lemon. The latest you may pursue arbitration is the lemon law Rights Period plus 60 days (26 months since the delivery of the vehicle).
Check online to see if your vehicle’s manufacturer offers a
state-certified arbitration program
or call the lemon law Hotline at 1-800-321-5366 (850-414-3500 for out-of-state drivers). You’ll be given the opportunity to submit supporting paperwork, so hand over everything related to the vehicle’s purchase, service history, and any related expenses.
The arbitration program will perform a case review before making its decision. Either the vehicle is a lemon and the manufacturer must offer you a refund or replacement, or it’s not a lemon and the manufacturer isn’t obligated to provide anything.

What if I don’t agree with the arbitration program’s decision? 

Arbitration might not solve your problems. If your vehicle’s manufacturer doesn’t have a state-certified arbitration program, the program fails to make a decision within 40 days, or you’re unsatisfied with the decision, you can appeal to the state-sponsored Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board for a dispute resolution.

What is the Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board?

Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board
is a state-sponsored arbitration program created to resolve lemon law disputes. Its rulings supersede any decisions made by a vehicle manufacturer’s arbitration program.
To apply for an arbitration hearing, complete a
Request for Arbitration Form
or contact the lemon law hotline again for the right paperwork. You must complete this step within 26 months of your vehicle’s delivery date, or 30 days after the state-certified arbitration board of your vehicle’s manufacturer reaches a decision, whichever is later.
The Arbitration Board screens all requests for eligibility, returning a decision within 20 days. If the Board grants you a hearing, you’ll be given a time, date, location, and 30 days to complete the paperwork and submit any additional information. Again, you should hand over everything you’ve got—don’t leave anything out!
On the date of the hearing, three Board members will give you (or your legal representative if you have one) and the vehicle’s manufacturer a chance to present your cases. Then they’ll decide if the evidence proves your vehicle is a lemon or not.
If the answer is yes, you’ll be able to choose between a refund or replacement, plus any additional compensation the Board feels is fair. If the answer is no, the case will be dismissed.

What happens after the Florida lemon law Arbitration Board makes a decision?

If your claim is successful and you accept the terms of the arbitration, the manufacturer has 40 days to deliver your refund, replacement, and/or compensation. If your case is dismissed or the manufacturer takes issue with the Board’s decision, both parties have 30 days to appeal to the circuit court. 

Should I hire a lawyer for a lemon law claim?

We highly recommend seeking representation from a qualified lemon law attorney. An experienced lawyer can guide you in making a claim, gathering supportive documentation, and using every detail of Florida’s lemon law to your advantage. Good luck!
Key Takeaway You must meet the qualifying criteria and act within the lemon law Rights Period to make a claim or request arbitration.


A motor vehicle qualifies for Florida lemon law if it’s a new or demo car bought or leased within the state for personal reasons. Any defects must be substantial and surface within two years of the delivery date. You must be the vehicle’s original owner and allow the dealership and manufacturer a total of four repair attempts, or to keep the car in the garage for 30 days or more. 
There’s no Florida lemon law that applies to used vehicles, but there’s a federal one! The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act applies to used cars sold by a business, not in private sale.
Florida lemon law gives consumers the right to demand a final repair attempt from the manufacturer after their new vehicle has spent a cumulative total of 15 days or more out of service. If the manufacturer doesn’t succeed in fixing the car or keeps it in the garage for 15 more days, the consumer can ask for a refund or replacement.
Florida lemon law allows consumers to seek compensation from a defective vehicle’s manufacturer, not its seller. However, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act may provide the grounds for suing a dealership for deceptive selling practices or violating either an implied warranty or written manufacturer’s warranty.
If the manufacturer won’t replace your defective vehicle and you meet the rest of Florida’s lemon law criteria, you can seek a resolution through the manufacturer’s arbitration program. If the manufacturer doesn’t have a program, the program takes more than 40 days to make a decision, or you disagree with the decision, you can ask the state-sponsored Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board to hear your case.
A vehicle is considered a lemon if it undergoes at least four repairs for the same issue within two years or spends a cumulative total of 30 days or more out of service. As long as the vehicle meets these criteria within the two-year Florida lemon law Rights Period, it may be considered a lemon.
The lemon law Rights Period in Florida lasts for two years from the day the consumer takes possession of the vehicle. There’s no mileage limit, but any compensation you receive for a lemon may be reduced by the amount of driving you do.
To make a Florida lemon law claim, you must have a qualifying vehicle that has spent 15 days or more in the garage or undergone at least three repairs for the same problem. At that point, you must send a written notice to the manufacturer allowing them one final attempt at repairs. If the repair fails or the car is in the garage for more than 15 days, you can request a refund or replacement.
Make sure to seek repairs and send a notification within two years of your vehicle’s delivery date!


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