VW loses Fla. Lemon Law case

Posted at 11:10 AM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 20:38:18-05

The Florida Lemon Law board just ruled in favor of the South Florida driver who brought a claim against Volkswagen over the diesel scandal.

"I feel they should have settled with me," explained driver Walter Melnyk.

Melnyk has faced major roadblocks since filing a lemon law claim. Volkswagen tried to block the hearing by taking Melnyk to court. A judge ruled against Volkswagen and allowed the hearing to continue.

Then Volkswagen tried to block WPTV from recording the hearing. Volkswagen lost that argument too.

"I'm not intimidated," said the 86 year old Melnyk. "Why would you want to pick on a little guy like me?"

Volkswagen spent several hours trying to pick apart Melnyk's lemon law claim.

"Have you tried to trade in the vehicle?" Volkswagen's attorney asked.

Melnyk had not. Volkswagen claimed the car is not a lemon because Melnyk still drives it.

Melnyk said it's his only car, and the dealership refused to look at it.

In the end, the Florida Lemon Law board agreed that Melnyk was sold a lemon and the car maker should take the car back and give Melnyk $15,000 for it.

"This will effect the whole state of Florida on the lemon law," Melnyk said.

He urged other drivers to file claims too.

A Jacksonville driver filed a claim late last year, and Volkswagen won that case. A different set of arbitrators heard today's hearing. Each case is tried on its own merits.

Melnyk is just one guy, but one guy whose story is touching others.

"I'm really pleased they ruled in favor of the small guy because it gives me more hope," explained Stephen Rosenfeld.

He saw our story and showed up at the hearing to see how a lemon law case works and pick up pointers for his own lemon law claim that he plans to file.

Volkswagen can appeal the decision. At this point, they are not commenting.

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