Fort Lauderdale Lemon Law & Auto Fraud Lawyer
Buying a car, especially a new car, is a major investment. For most people, buying a new car is a rare event, and it can be intimidating to negotiate such a large purchase with dealers who do this every day and seem to have all the knowledge and power on their side. Hopefully, most transactions are fair and honest, even if you end paying a little more than you had to. Sometimes, however, things go wrong. You might get stuck with a lemon – a new car that for whatever reason has problems that can’t seem to get fixed. There is also the prospect that you could be victimized by auto dealer fraud and sold a used car with the mileage falsified, or one that is nothing more than a rebuilt wreck. If you went through dealer financing for your new or used car, there is also the possibility that you were a victim of unlawful, predatory lending practices.
Brendan Sweeney is an experienced Fort Lauderdale Lemon Law & auto fraud lawyer who will look out for you and stand up for you against shady auto dealers or unresponsive manufacturers. At Sweeney Law, P.A., we will fight to see that you are not taken advantage of and that you either receive what you paid for, or you get your money back. Read on to learn about some of your rights under Florida law regarding new or used vehicles, and contact Sweeney Law, P.A. for help getting rid of a lemon or fighting auto dealer fraud.
Florida Lemon Law
In Florida, a lemon vehicle is a new car (or demonstrator) that has defects or conditions that substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value or safety, and that can’t be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts to fix it. If your car is considered to be a lemon, you have the right to return it to the manufacturer, and they are required to either refund your purchase price or provide you with a new replacement.
When is a new car considered a lemon? After three attempts to repair the same problem, the manufacturer has one last chance to fix it, or the lemon law kicks in with your right for a refund or replacement. Also, if the car has been in the shop and out of service for 30 days or more, whether for one warranty problem or many, you may also have a lemon in that instance. These problems must be reported to the manufacturer or dealer within 24 months of when the car was delivered to you.
While the Florida lemon law may sound like a great consumer protection law, there are many features of the law which seem to favor the manufacturer. The manufacturer can allege, for example, that you did not properly notify them of the problem. They may also claim that the problem is not due to a manufacturer’s defect, but is rather due to an accident, neglect, abuse, or the car was modified or altered in some way by someone other than the dealer or manufacturer. Also, your claim must go to arbitration instead of court, first through a manufacturer-sponsored arbitration program and then through the Attorney General’s office. Sweeney Law, P.A. can represent you at every stage of the process; we know how to build and present a strong lemon law case and fight back against dealer attempts to evade responsibility.
Beyond lemon law, Sweeney Law, P.A. helps clients in the numerous ways automobile dealers harm consumers through deceptive or fraudulent practices. Contact our office if you have been victimized by any of the following:
Rebuilt Wrecks – A car that has been totaled in a crash and sold as junk is basically only fit to be salvaged for parts. Yet some unscrupulous used car dealers purchase these wrecks from junkyards and make only the most superficial cosmetic repairs in order to sell them to unsuspecting customers. If the car you bought was a dangerously unsafe rebuilt wreck, you may have recourse against the dealer for fraud.
Lending Issues – In many dealerships – used and new – the finance department is a greater profit center for the dealer than the sales department. Finance officers use tricks in financing your vehicle, like telling you your credit application was denied after you have already taken delivery, in order to put you in a higher interest bracket. Other predatory lending practices, like hiding interest rate resets and balloon payments or failing to disclose the true cost of the loan, violate sate and federal lending laws. You may be able to get out of fraudulent loans or sue for damages.
Odometer Rollbacks – Tampering with the odometer in a vehicle, as well as falsifying a car’s mileage on the vehicle’s title or other documentation, are violations of the federal Truth in Mileage Act. At Sweeney Law, P.A., our experienced auto fraud attorney can help you uncover odometer rollbacks or other deceptive trade practices.
Get the Car You Bargained for with the Help of an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Lemon Law & Auto Fraud Lawyer
If you need help exercising your rights under Florida lemon law or uncovering and prosecuting auto dealer fraud in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact Sweeney Law, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale to speak with a knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated consumer lawyer who gets results.