Lemon Law Attorney2018-12-07T18:00:02+00:00

Are you Stuck With a Lemon?

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How to Know if Your Car is a Lemon

Disclaimer: We can only assist you if your car was purchased NEW and from a DEALERSHIP in the PAST TWO YEARS. 

After years of representing large automobile manufacturers, Mr. Cousins became concerned about the consumers who lost good cases because of poor or no representation. So he switched sides.

Cousins Law, APA has reviewed over 5,000 Lemon Law related matters and has represented clients from all over the United States. As such, we have the skills and experience to take care of your needs.

At the Lemon Law hearing, the manufacturers have a team of skilled lawyers or representatives to argue their position; the Lemon Law arbitrators have an attorney from the Office of the Attorney General to answer their questions about the law. You too need to have skilled representation in your corner!

Cousins Law, APA’s team of lawyers is fighting for your rights in the areas of Lemon Law and consumer fraud. Several of the cases we have prosecuted have had national significance and many of them have changed or affirmed state laws in favor of the consumer. Our goal is to not only provide the best legal services to victimized consumers who are our clients but to level the playing field for car consumers in general.

Once retained, Cousins Law, APA  will focus all its resources toward securing your monetary refund or replacement vehicle. If you do not qualify for Lemon Law relief we will explore the law for other consumer remedies that may apply to your particular case.

Your Lemon Law rights do not last forever. The Florida legislature has created a Lemon Law rights period, namely, the first 24 months after the date you take delivery of your motor vehicle. All defects should appear during the Lemon Law rights period for you to have a valid Lemon Law action. You then have 60 days after your Lemon Law rights period ends to seek arbitration under the Florida Lemon Law.

If you have had at least three repair attempts for the same problem, or if your vehicle has been out of service (in the manufacturer authorized repair facility) for a cumulative total of 30 days, your vehicle may be a lemon.

Attorney Patrick Cousins Explains The Three Steps Needed In Any Lemon Law Case

In the news story below, one mans expensive car catches fire after leaving the dealership where mechanical work was done. What can be done in his situation may be similar for you if your car is a new car (less than 2 years old) and you have been to the dealership repeatedly for the same problem.

  1. Hire An Expert
  2. Read Your Vehicle Purchase Agreement to Find Out If It Contains An Arbitration Clause.
  3. Be Persistent!
Talk To An Expert Now!

Lemon Law FAQs: Passenger Vehicles

Q: What is the Lemon Law?

A: The Lemon Law was designed as a quick, easy, and inexpensive process for consumers to deal with problem vehicles.  Instead of filing a lengthy expensive lawsuit and going to court, consumers can have their claims arbitrated and resolved in a matter of months. At the same time, the Lemon Law Arbitration program has freed the court system of the overwhelming number of these types of cases and save tax payer’s money.  Depending on your unique situation, the Lemon Law may be the best way to achieve your goals.

Q: What do I receive if I win?

A: The Lemon Law will allow you to select one of two remedies:

1) A replacement vehicle.

– In general, if your vehicle is more than a year old, the manufacturer won’t have a comparable vehicle in their inventory to provide you with a replacement. The replacement must be valued at 105% of your vehicle. However, it is your right to ask for a replacement vehicle even though the manufacturer has the right to say no.

2) A refund.

– The general idea is that you will receive a refund of all the money paid in order to purchase your vehicle, less an offset for the number of miles driven. With the offset, your vehicle will lose approximately 1/3 of its value once you have driven 40,000 miles. Depending on the purchase price of your vehicle, it will cost you over $3.00/mile to drive it, not including fuel or maintenance costs. We caution that this is an over-simplified explanation; there is much more to it than we have outlined here.

Q: What about the miles put on my vehicle from driving to and from the dealer for repairs?

A: More than likely, these miles are not recoverable.  The Lemon Law is not clear on whether these miles should count against the consumer.  Nevertheless, we do argue that such miles should not be counted against you.

Q: Is my leased vehicle covered?

A: Yes, leased vehicles are covered under the Florida Lemon Law.

Q: Do I need an attorney to represent me in my Lemon Law claim?

A: No, you are not required to have an attorney represent you.  However, we make it our business to represent people with Lemon Law claims and believe that you have a better chance of success with an experienced Lemon Law attorney who will help you avoid the pitfalls that could cause you to lose your case.

Q: How much does it cost to retain you?

A: Each case is unique; call us for a more specific estimate of your case.

Q: Can I recover my attorney fees from the Manufacturer?

A: Yes!  The Lemon Law arbitrator does not have the power to award attorney’s fees to the consumer.  However, the Gelinas case allows the successful consumer to recover certain damages and attorney’s fees not covered under the Lemon Law.

Q: How do I know if my vehicle qualifies for the Lemon Law?

A: The best way is to check the Office of the Attorney General’s website, but here are the general requirements

– You must have bought the vehicle brand new. (There is an exception if you’re purchasing the vehicle from a family member, but this is rarely the case.)

– The vehicle must be used to transport persons or property. This covers the majority of vehicles that are purchased. Vehicles purchased for your business (certain exceptions apply) are covered.

– Your claim must be received within two years and 60 days of the date you purchased your vehicle. There are no exceptions; if you are one day late you are past the statute of limitations for the Lemon Law arbitration process and cannot pursue your claim through the Lemon Law program. In this case, do not give up hope; there may be other legal remedies available to you.

– In general, you must have taken your vehicle in for the same problems at least 3 times, or your vehicle must have been out of service for non-maintenance issues a cumulative total of 15 days or more.

– The defect or conditions which you believe makes your vehicle a lemon must be “substantial.” Substantial has really not been defined by the statute; therefore you may want to call us to help you analyze your claim.

Q: What vehicles are not covered?

A: The most common vehicles not covered are motorcycles, boats, and trucks weighing over 10,000 lbs.  This includes many heavy-duty Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pickup trucks, as well as some larger SUVs.

Q: Why aren’t these vehicles covered?

A: We are not sure, but many of these vehicles are used in the same manner as the vehicles that are covered, so we see no reason why they are not covered.  Write your legislator if you are concerned.  We already have.

Q: How long does the whole Lemon Law process take?

A: Realistically, it’s going to take at least six months for the whole process to run its course.  There are built-in time limits for each step, but there are also many variables that can either shorten or lengthen the time it takes for your claim to be resolved.

Q: What is the process like?

A: Here’s a general description of each step in the process:

– Mail out your Defect Notice to the manufacturer.

– Within 10 days of receipt, the manufacturer must call to schedule a final repair attempt.

– Take your vehicle in for the final repair attempt as to each manufacturer. The manufacturer has a right to keep the vehicle for up to 10 days.

– If the manufacturer of your vehicle has a certified resolution procedure, you will first need to file your claim with them. The decision in this procedure is not binding on the consumer.

– Now you can file your Request for Arbitration. Assuming your vehicle qualifies, it will take a few weeks before your application is approved. Once it’s approved, your file will be sent to Lemon Law office for scheduling.

– Usually, the first thing to happen once your claim has been sent to the Lemon Law office is that the manufacturers will request a pre-hearing inspection. This is their statutory right. This may take up to two hours and often occurs at a local dealership.

– The next step is arbitration. It typically takes one to four hours. However, you’ll get a decision on your Lemon Law claim that day. In fact, arbitrators will debate your claim right in front of you. If you win the manufacturer will have 40 days to comply with the decision.

– You will get a copy of the decision in the mail a few weeks after the Arbitration.

Q: What is the arbitration like?

A: Each arbitration is different, but all arbitrations have some similarities. The manufacturers are always represented by an attorney or a representative and each manufacturer may bring one or two witnesses to testify against you. You can testify on your own behalf and bring your own witnesses if you like. Three arbitrators will preside over your case. Each arbitrator has his/her own unique personality and each has a different background. The arbitrators are not judges in the official sense, and the rules of evidence do not apply in the strict sense as they do in a civil action.

Q: Can I use the Lemon Law to get out of a vehicle I can no longer afford?

A: No!

Q: How do I best prepare for my Lemon Law case?

A: We cannot possibly go into all the details and nuances which successful case preparation requires. But in general, it’s a good idea to keep copies of every document you receive and to make sure that you get documents each time you go in for service or repair. Also, make sure that the dealer accurately documents your concerns. Additionally, you may wish to keep a diary of when, where, how, and why you travel to each manufacturer for repair. Keeping a mileage log and list of contacts at each step is a good idea as well. Consumers should keep all receipts or invoices for payment of expenses related to the purchase/lease of the vehicle as well. These records will help you, or anyone you retain to represent you in your claim, to better understand the nature of your case.

Q: Where do I go if I have further questions?

A:You have several options.  One is to give us a call.  We will be happy to speak with you about any questions you may have.  Two other good sources of information are The Office of the Attorney General’s website and The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website. You may also visit our links for other helpful resources.

Lemon Law FAQ’s: Recreational Vehicles

Common RV’s with Lemon Law Problems: 

  • Fleetwood
  • Jayco
  • Newmar
  • Forest River
  • American Coach

Common RV Component Manufactures with Lemon Law Problems:

  • Allison- transmission
  • Cummins – engine
  • Freightliner – chassis
  • Ford – chassis
  • Spartan – chassis

Q: What is the Lemon Law?
A: The Lemon Law was designed as a quick, easy, and inexpensive process for consumers to deal with problem coaches. Instead, by filing a lengthy expensive lawsuit and going to court, consumers can have their claims arbitrated and resolved in a matter of months. At the same time, the Lemon Law Arbitration program has freed the court system of the overwhelming number of these types of cases and save tax payer’s money. Depending on your unique situation, the Lemon Law may be the best way to achieve your goals.

Q: What do I receive if I win my Lemon Law claim?
A: The Lemon Law will allow you to select one of two remedies:

  • A Replacement Coach.
In general, if your coach is more than a year old, the manufacturer will not have a comparable coach in their inventory to provide you with a replacement. The replacement must be valued at 105% of your coach. However, it is your right to ask for a replacement vehicle even though the manufacturer has the right to say no.
  • A Refund
The general idea is that you will receive a refund of all the money paid in order to purchase your coach, less an offset for the number of miles you have driven. With the offset, your coach will lose approximately 1/3 of its value once you have driven 20,000 miles. Depending on the purchase price of your coach, it will cost you over $3.00/mile to drive it, not including fuel or maintenance costs. We caution that this is an over-simplified explanation; there is much more to it than we have outlined above.

Q: What about the miles put on my vehicle from driving to and from the dealer for repairs?
A: More than likely, these miles are not recoverable.  The Lemon Law is not clear on whether these miles should count against the consumer.  Nevertheless, we do argue that such miles should not be counted against you.

Q: Do I need an attorney to represent me in my Lemon Law claim?
A: No, you are not required to have an attorney represent you. However, we make it our business to represent people with Lemon Law claims and believe that you have a better chance of success with an experienced Lemon Law attorney. Recreation vehicle claims are, in general, more complex than passenger vehicle claims because of the number of manufacturers involved. For example, a passenger vehicle claim usually involves just one manufacturer whose name is on the vehicle. On the other hand, a typical recreational vehicle claim involves four manufacturers: 1) nameplate manufacturer, 2) chassis manufacturer, 3) engine manufacturer, and 4) transmission manufacturer. This list does not even include all the other separately warranted items in your coach like the tires, awnings, generator, jacks and even the refrigerator or stove. Consider whether you want to manage all the parties and their respective attorneys on your own.

Q: How much does it cost to retain our firm?
A: Recreational vehicle cases cost more than passenger vehicle cases because of the greater number of manufacturers involved and the additional steps involved.  Nevertheless, each case is unique; call us for a more specific estimate of your case.

Q: Can I recover my attorney fees from the Manufacturer?
A: Yes!  The Lemon Law arbitrator does not have the power to award attorney’s fees to the consumer.  However, the Gelinas case allows the successful consumer to recover certain damages and attorney’s fees not covered under the Lemon Law.

Q: How do I know if my coach qualifies for the Lemon Law?
A: The best way is to check the Office of the Attorney General’s website, but here are the general requirements:
– You must have bought the coach brand new. There is an exception if you are purchasing the vehicle from a family member, but this is rarely the case.
– The coach must be used to transport persons or property. This covers the majority of coach purchases.
– Your claim must be received within two years and 60 days of the date you purchased your vehicle. There are no exceptions; if you are one day late you are past the statute of limitations for the Lemon Law arbitration process and cannot not pursue your claim through the Lemon Law program. In this case, do not give up hope; there may be other legal remedies available to you.
– In general, you must have taken your coach in for the same problems at least 3 times or your coach must have been out of service for non-maintenance issues a cumulative total of 60 days or more.
– The defect or conditions which you believe makes your vehicle a lemon must be “substantial.” Substantial has really not been defined by the statute; therefore you need to call us to help you analyze your claim.

Q: How long does the whole Lemon Law process take?
A: Realistically, it is going to take at least six months for the whole process to run its course. There are built-in time limits for each step, but there are also many variables that can either shorten or lengthen the time it takes for your claim to be resolved.

Q: What is the process like?
A: Here is a general outline of each step in the process:
– Notify each manufacturer and the Office of the Attorney General of the defect(s) in your coach. Remember there are usually at least four manufacturers.
– Submit to a final repair attempt by each manufacturer.
– File your Request for Arbitration. Assuming it is approved you will then,
– Submit to a prehearing inspection by each manufacturer.
– Attend mediation with all manufacturer’s and their respective representatives/attorneys
– Attend arbitration.
There are time limitations that apply in some steps that may further protect your rights as a consumer.

Q: What is the arbitration like?
A: Each arbitration is different, but all arbitrations have some similarities. The manufacturers are always represented by an attorney or a representative and each manufacturer may bring one or two witnesses to testify against you. You can testify on your own behalf and bring your own witness if you like. One arbitrator will preside over your case. Each arbitrator has his/her own unique personality and each has a different background. The arbitrator is not a judge in the official sense, and the rules of evidence do not apply in the strict sense as they do in a civil action.

Q: Can I use the Lemon Law to get out of a coach I can no longer afford?
A: No!

Q: How do I best prepare my Lemon Law case?
A: We cannot possibly go into all the details and nuances which successful case preparation requires. But in general, it is a good idea to keep copies of every document you receive and to make sure that you get documents each time you go in for service or repair. Also, make sure that the dealer accurately documents your concerns. Additionally, you may wish to keep a diary of when, where, how, and why you travel to each manufacturer for repair. Keeping a mileage log and list of contacts at each step is a good idea as well. Consumers should keep all receipts or invoices for payment of expenses related to the purchase/lease of the vehicle as well. These records will help you, or anyone you retain to represent you in your claim, to better understand the nature of your case.

Q: Where do I go if I have further questions?
A: You have several options. One is to give us a call. We will be happy to speak with you about any questions you may have. Another good source of information is the office of the Attorney General.

Noteworthy Lemon Law Cases

Jennings v. Allison Transmission, Caterpillar, Inc., Freightliner Custom Chassis, and National RV

Imagine that your coach was out of service for over 120 days! That is the unfortunate experience of Mr. and Mrs. Jennings who purchased a 2004 National Tropical for approximately $175,000. Cousins Law, APA successfully represented the Jennings throughout the Lemon Law Process, resulting in a decision which labeled this vehicle a lemon and caused Freightliner Chassis to buy the vehicle back.

Car Fire After Mechanical Work Done at Mercedes of West Palm Beach, Florida

See More Verdicts and Settlements

Magnuson-Moss & Breach of Warranty

Because the Florida Lemon Law rarely covers used vehicles, the Magnuson-Moss and Breach of Warranty laws are among the best and most common avenues for a used-car consumer to gain justice. These laws are also commonly used in cases where the new-car consumer cannot bring a Lemon Law claim because they either are outside the Lemon Law rights period, purchased a type of vehicle not covered under the Lemon Law statute, or purchased a vehicle outside the state of Florida.
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act
This powerful federal law was enacted in 1975 and covers Commerce and Trade, Consumer Product Warranties, and the content of warranties. The act is commonly referred to as “Mag-Moss.”

Mag-Moss covers almost all consumer products such as computers and microwaves. Mag-Moss lawsuits in the Lemon Law arena have typically been used to supplement or substitute for Lemon Law actions. From a consumer point of view, the main difference between Florida Lemon Law and Mag-Moss is that Mag-Moss proceedings are civil suits rather than the more consumer-friendly arbitrations before a board. A civil suit requires more time and resources than a Lemon Law arbitration, but depending on your particular situation, it may prove to be a better choice.
Breach of Warranty
Breach of Warranty is a common component in the lawsuit of an aggrieved consumer. Simply put, if a consumer has a warranty on their car and a defect car is not fixed after numerous repair attempts, the warranty has arguably been breached.

There are different types of warranties, but unless disclaimed, all new vehicles are sold with an implied warranty that the vehicle is fit for its intended purpose and is of merchantable quality.

Sadly, new-car consumers are often misinformed about their new car warranties. In most cases consumers of new cars only receive a warranty from the manufacturer and nothing from the dealer. This is why dealers often make a point of stating in the purchase order or lease agreement that the only warranty which applies to the vehicle purchase is that of the manufacturer. Further, dealers will often disclaim any implied warranties. If you have a problem with your brand new car after you leave the dealership, chances are that you will ultimately discuss your concerns with the manufacturer.

In the case of used cars, the dealer may or may not provide a new, additional or extended warranty and there may even be an “as-is” disclaimer. Let the buyer beware! Take a look at the fine print on your sales agreement and you likely will be surprised at what you see.

Call us if you are concerned that the manufacturer and/or dealer is not properly resolving your issues regarding your warranty.

Why We Are The Best Choice For Your Legal Needs

The Florida Bar records show over 98,000 licensed lawyers practicing in Florida. Cousins Law Firm has been recognized for many of its prominent achievements.

Awards, Memberships, & Sponsorships

Cousins Law Firm has been recognized for many accomplishments in the legal community. The firm is also a member of many well respected legal communities.

About Patrick Cousins

Clients call Patrick, “The Lemon Law King” having decades of experience as a Lemon Law Specialist. He is an A-V Preeminent attorney with a 10.0 Avvo rating and over 500 victories for his clients with defective automobiles. He also practices in the fields of Personal Injury and Personal Family Law. Patrick is one of a select few lawyers to be approved to try cases in all Federal Courts and can also present cases to the Supreme Court. He also is a member of the Multimillion Dollar Advocates Forum, meaning he has helped clients get settlements over $2,000,000.

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