Florida Used Car Lemon Law

| November 7, 2011

As of this writing, 11/7/2011, there is no used car lemon law in Florida. While the state of Florida does have a lemon law policy for new cars, they do not have the used car lemon Law. Therefore, if you are in a state of Florida and purchasing a used or pre-owned car, the onus is on you to perform your due diligence.

Since there are no used car lemon laws in Florida, here are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a used car:

Paying the Right Price for a Used Vehicle

There are too many free used car value calculators online for you to be taken for a ride on the price of the car. Before using the free online calculators, gather as much information as possible about the pre-owned vehicle. The more information you obtain, the more accurately the online tools will be in determining the automobile value.

Inspecting the Used Car

Florida drivers should never buy a car at night. That may sound obvious but some buyers get so excited when they think they’ve found the car of their dreams that they let emotions over rule common sense. Purchasing a car seen only under the lights at the dealer’s lot is not wise.

Sleep on the decision making process over night. Come back the next morning and look at the car again. In the daylight you may notice welding spots and other flaws that you didn’t see the night before.

Take the Automobile for a Spin

Along with looking at the car comes driving it. This may also sound obvious but never buy a car if you haven’t driven. Try to simulate your normal driving conditions and then some when test driving a car. If you mainly drive on the highway, take it for a long stint on the highway. If a dealer or a seller is hesitant to allow you to drive it for too long, look for another car.

During your test drive, drive the car over to your mechanic’s shop. Your mechanic is better able to determine whether or not the car is worth buying.

Auto Warranty or No Auto Warranty

The Federal government mandates all dealers must post a Buyers Guide in the window of all cars for sale. This lets consumers know whether there is any type of warranty on the vehicle or if it’s being sold “As Is.” If there is some type of warranty, make sure to understand what is being warranted. According to Federal law, you can have access to that warranty prior to purchasing a car. If an automobile dealership does not or is unwilling to let you read it, they are in violation of the law (Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975) and that should raise a red flag.

When checking the warranty, find out what parts are covered, whether or not the warranty has co-payments, if you must use specific garages for repair and if normal maintenance is included in the warranty. In addition to understanding the terms of the warranty, find out what, if anything, will void the warranty.

All too often consumers buy a warranted used car feeling that they are protected under the warranty umbrella only to find out after something goes wrong that it’s not covered. Warranties are like insurance policies in that you don’t want to find out after the loss that there’s no coverage.

In contrast to purchasing a vehicle with warranty protection is buying a car on an “As Is” basis. When you buy a car as is, the minute ownership is transferred to you; you are solely responsible for the car’s maintenance. If the car stops running 15 minutes after purchase, the seller is not responsible.

Consumer Protection

Although there are no used car lemon laws in Florida, there are a few laws in place to help consumers. Check out a few of the links listed below:

Florida Lemon Law Links:
Better Business Bureau Florida Lemon Law Summary
Florida Attorney General Office: Lemon Law

Used Car Information
Buying or Selling a Vehicle in Florida
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: How to Buy a Used Car

Non-Florida Specific Laws for Consumer Protection:
FDIC: Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices
FDIC: Consumer Credit Protection Act (Truth in Lending)
The Office of Consumer Litigation: Federal Odometer Tampering Statutes

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Category: Lemon Law

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a wife, mother, freelance writer and owner of Tidbits About Money.

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