Consumer Law

florida consumer law



While automobile sales transactions are highly regulated by federal and state laws, there are nevertheless a large number of dealerships that attempt to take advantage of their customers by violating consumer law. For instance, a dealer cannot:

1.         Misrepresent, hide or otherwise fail to disclose the accident history of a vehicle.

2.         Misrepresent, fail to disclose or tamper with the mileage on a vehicle’s odometer.

3.         Provide you with a warranty and then fail to honor it.

4.         Make representations and promises about a vehicle during the course of the sale and later hide behind a disclaimer in the fine print that states you purchased the vehicle “AS IS”.

5.         Sell you a “new” vehicle that has sustained accident damage unless it is disclosed to you in writing.

6.         Misrepresent the status of a vehicle as a demonstrator unless specific guidelines are followed.

7.         Sell a vehicle as “new” when the vehicle was involved in a prior sale unless you consent in writing.

8.         Charge you for accessories add-ons and other charges not authorized by you and not itemized on the Retail Installment Sales Contract, or Buyers Order.

9.         Sell you a vehicle on credit and later attempt to rescind the deal claiming that financing could not be obtained unless specific circumstances exist.

10.       Sell you a vehicle and later attempt to extort more money, higher interest or a greater downpayment unless a unique set of circumstances exist.

The above is only a small list of the type of fraud and unfair or deceptive type of practices that we often see in this industry. If you have undergone a transaction where you have suffered any of the above-referenced types of fraud or even a different type of fraud or deception, do not hesitate to Contact Us.

Florida has specific statutes that address many of the common types of fraud and deception found in the sales industry.

For example:

Florida Statute 501.001 et.seq. is known as the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act; Section 501.975 et.seq. is specifically written to cover dealer fraud in auto sales transactions. The Statute is very helpful to aggrieved consumers as it contains an attorney’s fee provision which allows an attorney to take your case and then seek payment of his or her fees directly from the offending dealership.

Also, a consumer may bring an action for common law fraud. If the fraud is so egregious and reprehensible or motivated solely for the purposes of financial gain by the dealership then punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages are over and above compensatory damages and serve to punish a dealer and hopefully dissuade the dealer from defrauding or deceiving other consumers. These damages can amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of thousands of dollars depending on a number of factors.

Remember, most promises made during the course of a sale are enforceable. Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. Fight back with a skilled consumer law attorney.

State and federal laws may cover all or most of your attorney’s fees and costs; in most cases we can represent you and require the defendant pay all of your fees and costs.

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