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Lemon Law Arbitration

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If you have a lemon under Florida’s lemon law, and you have provided the notices required by that law, you may well be entitled to a hearing on your claim.  The hearing is a mini-trial, but significantly less formal.  There are generally three members of the Florida new Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board who will hear your dispute, with a decision requiring a majority vote.  The board members can also inspect your car at the hearing, if it would be helpful to their decision.

You have the right to present evidence, orally or in writing.  You have the right to testify and present witnesses on your behalf, including mechanics or experts.  You have the right to be represented by a lawyer, although the state does not provide one for free.  You have the right to cross-examine any witnesses offered by the manufacturer.  The car company also has these same rights.

The hearing is required to be held within 40 days, and the board must render its decision within 60 days.  However, in practice, the board often makes the decision on-the-spot after the evidence is presented at the hearing.  If the board decides in your favor, the car company must either provide you an acceptable replacement vehicle, or give you a monetary refund, within 40 days of the decision.  They also have the right to appeal the decision, although that is not done very frequently.

If you lose before the board, you have the right to appeal to the circuit court, but must do so within 30 days of the decision.  There are also other procedural requirements that must be met for the appeal.  In any appeal, the court will be informed of the board’s initial decision.