Under Florida law, “unfair methods of competition, unconscionable acts or practices, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce” are unlawful. See Fla. Stat. § 501.204 and Florida Code § 501.204. “Trade or commerce means the advertising, soliciting, providing, offering, or distributing, whether by sale, rental, or otherwise, of any good or service, or any property, whether tangible or intangible, or any other article, commodity, or thing of value, wherever situated. “Trade or commerce” shall include the conduct of any trade or commerce, however denominated, including any nonprofit or not-for-profit person or activity.” Florida Code § 501.203(8).
For example, it would likely be consider unfair or deceptive if a car dealership represented that a vehicle had never been in an accident or repainted when really that car had been in a severe accident and had been repaired and repainted. See Fort Lauderdale Lincoln Mercury v. Corgnati, 715 So. 2d 311, 312-13 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1998)
Who Can You Complain to in Florida?
Office of Attorney General
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Some of the penalties that fraudulent or deceptive advertisers may suffer in Florida include:
- Up to $10,000 for each willful violation of the law against unfair or deceptive advertising (Florida Code § 501.2075);
- The cost of reasonable attorney’s fees of the person suing, if that person wins the lawsuit (Florida Code § 501.2105);
- Actual damages (Florida Code § 501.211).
Researching Consumer Complaints
To obtain copies of complaints consumers have filed against a business, you can send a Freedom of Information request to:
Florida Office of Attorney General
The Capitol, Suite PL-01
Tallahasee, FL 32399
A sample Freedom of Information request can be found here.
Can A Private Citizen File A False And Deceptive Advertising Lawsuit?
Yes, a private citizen may file a false and deceptive advertising lawsuit against a manufacturer or seller if that citizen was the victim of deceptive or false practices.
Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Representation In Florida
It can be quite complicated and challenging to prove a false and deceptive advertising case under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). The false and deceptive advertising attorneys at Normand PLLC have years of actual experience in helping consumers in Florida, who are victims of deceptive trade practices.
If you believe that you are also a victim of fraud, deceptive action, or deceit in a business or commercial transaction, then contact Normand PLLC immediately by calling 407-603-6031 for a FREE case consultation regarding your potential case.