Lemon Law
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New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board 2009 Annual Report

The report is available for downloading in Adobe Acrobat format.

INTRODUCTION

Florida's Lemon Law, Chapter 681 of the Florida Statutes, allows consumers to receive replacement motor vehicles or purchase price refunds when their new or demonstrator motor vehicles are subjected to repeated, unsuccessful warranty repairs for the same defect or are constantly in the shop for repair of one or more different defects. The defects must substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle, and must first be reported to the manufacturer or its authorized service agent during a specified period after the consumer takes delivery of the vehicle. If the manufacturer fails to provide the remedy required by statute, the consumer can arbitrate his or her claim before the New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board, which is housed within the Department of Legal Affairs. The board consists of members appointed by the Attorney General and conducts arbitration hearings throughout the state. Arbitration is an "all-or-nothing" proposition for the consumer, who will either win an award of a refund or replacement or have their claim dismissed. Section 681.1095, Florida Statutes, requires the Attorney General to compile annual statistics for all disputes submitted to the board. The information contained in this report was derived from the records of the Lemon Law Arbitration Program, which is administered by the Office of the Attorney General. This report covers claims approved for arbitration from January 1 through December 31, 2009.

Disputes are reported by manufacturer. In cases involving some conversion vehicles, a single claim could involve multiple manufacturers. In those instances, approval of the claim for arbitration is credited to the "nameplate" manufacturer, the name of the manufacturer under which the vehicle was sold. In reporting the dollar values of the arbitration awards, all manufacturers found liable by the board in each case are listed; however, the per-case dollar amount of the award is not pro-rated. For example, if two manufacturers were found liable to pay a consumer in a single case a refund of $30,000, only the total amount of the award is reflected in this report, along with the names of both liable manufacturers. The law does not give the board the authority to pro-rate awards in multiple manufacturer cases.