(1) If a manufacturer has established a procedure that the department has certified as substantially complying with the provisions of 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983, as amended, and with the provisions of this chapter and the rules adopted under this chapter, and has informed the consumer how and where to file a claim with such procedure pursuant to s. 681.103(3), the provisions of s. 681.104(2) apply to the consumer only if the consumer has first resorted to such procedure. The decisionmakers for a certified procedure shall, in rendering decisions, take into account all legal and equitable factors germane to a fair and just decision, including, but not limited to, the warranty; the rights and remedies conferred under 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983, as amended; the provisions of this chapter; and any other equitable considerations appropriate under the circumstances. Decisionmakers and staff for a procedure shall be trained in the provisions of this chapter and in 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983, as amended. In an action brought by a consumer concerning an alleged nonconformity, the decision that results from a certified procedure is admissible in evidence.
(2) A manufacturer may apply to the department for certification of its procedure. After receipt and evaluation of the application, the department shall:
(a) Notify the manufacturer of any deficiencies in the application or the procedure;
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 681.108
- Consumer: means the purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, or the lessee, of a motor vehicle primarily used for personal, family, or household purposes; any person to whom such motor vehicle is transferred for the same purposes during the duration of the Lemon Law rights period; and any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty. See Florida Statutes 681.102
- Days: means calendar days. See Florida Statutes 681.102
- Department: means the Department of Legal Affairs. See Florida Statutes 681.102
- Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Germane: On the subject of the pending bill or other business; a strict standard of relevance.
- Manufacturer: means any person, whether a resident or nonresident of this state, who manufactures or assembles motor vehicles, or who manufactures or assembles chassis for recreational vehicles, or who manufactures or installs on previously assembled truck or recreational vehicle chassis special bodies or equipment which, when installed, forms an integral part of the motor vehicle, a distributor as defined in…. See Florida Statutes 681.102
- Motor vehicle: means a new vehicle, propelled by power other than muscular power, which is sold in this state to transport persons or property, and includes a recreational vehicle or a vehicle used as a demonstrator or leased vehicle if a manufacturer's warranty was issued as a condition of sale, or the lessee is responsible for repairs, but does not include vehicles run only upon tracks, off-road vehicles, trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, motorcycles, mopeds, electric bicycles, or the living facilities of recreational vehicles. See Florida Statutes 681.102
- Nonconformity: means a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a motor vehicle, but does not include a defect or condition that results from an accident, abuse, neglect, modification, or alteration of the motor vehicle by persons other than the manufacturer or its authorized service agent. See Florida Statutes 681.102
- person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 1.01
- Procedure: means an informal dispute-settlement procedure established by a manufacturer to mediate and arbitrate motor vehicle warranty disputes. See Florida Statutes 681.102
- Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
- Warranty: means any written warranty issued by the manufacturer, or any affirmation of fact or promise made by the manufacturer, excluding statements made by the dealer, in connection with the sale of a motor vehicle to a consumer which relates to the nature of the material or workmanship and affirms or promises that such material or workmanship is free of defects or will meet a specified level of performance. See Florida Statutes 681.102
- writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 1.01
(b) Certify the procedure as substantially complying with the provisions of 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983, as amended, and with the provisions of this chapter and rules adopted under this chapter, for a period not to exceed 1 year; or
(c) Deny certification, stating the reasons for such denial.
(3) A certified procedure or a procedure of an applicant seeking certification shall submit to the department a copy of each settlement approved by the procedure or decision made by a decisionmaker within 30 days after the settlement is reached or the decision is rendered. The decision or settlement must contain at a minimum the:
(a) Name and address of the consumer;
(b) Name of the manufacturer and address of the dealership from which the motor vehicle was purchased;
(c) Date the claim was received and the location of the procedure office that handled the claim;
(d) Relief requested by the consumer;
(e) Name of each decisionmaker rendering the decision or person approving the settlement;
(f) Statement of the terms of the settlement or decision;
(g) Date of the settlement or decision; and
(h) Statement of whether the decision was accepted or rejected by the consumer.
(4) Any manufacturer establishing or applying to establish a certified procedure must file with the department a copy of the annual audit required under the provisions of 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983, as amended, together with any additional information required for purposes of certification, including the number of refunds and replacements made in this state pursuant to the provisions of this chapter by the manufacturer during the period audited.
(5) The department shall review each certified procedure at least annually to determine if certification should be renewed. A manufacturer seeking renewal of certification shall notify the department in writing at least 60 days before the end of the 1-year certification period. Upon review, the department shall:
(a) Renew certification for a period not to exceed 1 year if the procedure is found to substantially comply with the provisions of 16 C.F.R. part 703, in effect October 1, 1983, as amended, and with the provisions of this chapter and rules adopted under this chapter;
(b) Notify the manufacturer of any deficiencies in the procedure; or
(c) Decline to renew certification. If certification is declined, the department shall state the reasons for such action.
(6) If a manufacturer ceases operation of a certified procedure, the manufacturer shall notify the department immediately in writing, and upon receipt of such notification, the department shall revoke certification for that procedure, effective the date the certified procedure ceased.
(7) A manufacturer whose certification is declined is entitled to a hearing pursuant to chapter 120.
(8) If federal preemption of state authority to regulate procedures occurs, the provisions of subsection (1) concerning prior resort do not apply.
(9) The department may adopt rules to administer this section.