Were Your Rights Violated by a Car Dealership?

Florida Car Dealership FDUTPA Violations Attorneys

Find out if you qualify for compensation under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act

Were your rights to a fair and honest trade violated by a car dealership? If you were recently involved in a trade with a car dealership and feel you were deceived by unfair trade practices, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact the team at Kagan Law to learn more about your options. Call us or contact us online to get started today.

Florida Car Dealership FDUTPA Violations Attorneys

What Is The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA)?

In Florida, FDUTPA protects consumers against unethical and dishonest practices that businesses, including car dealerships, may participate in. According to Florida statutes, FDUTPA was created to protect public consumers and legitimate businesses against those who engage in the unethical practice of deceptive and unfair trade. Additionally, this act is intended to supplement federal laws related to consumer protection.

How Car Dealerships May Violate FDUTPA

Car dealerships may violate FDUTPA by providing false information about vehicles or financing or omitting important vehicle history and information. Some ways they may do this include:

  • False Advertising: Making false or misleading statements about vehicle prices, features, conditions, or availability in advertisements.
  • Bait and Switch Tactics: Advertising a particular vehicle at an attractive price as a way to lure customers into the dealership, and then attempting to sell them to a different, and more expensive vehicle.
  • Failure to Disclose Full Vehicle History: Failing to disclose important information about a vehicle’s history, including information on previous accidents, flood damage, or a salvage title.
  • Odometer Act Violations: Dealerships are required to provide written disclosure regarding the odometer mileage and its accuracy.
  • Misrepresentation of Financing Terms: Providing misleading information about financing terms, interest rates, or loan terms to deceive customers.
  • Concealing Defects: Concealing known defects or mechanical issues in a vehicle in order to make a sale.
  • Overcharging on Administration Fees: Overcharging for document and registration fees without providing notice to consumers that the charge includes profit for the dealer.
  • Unfair Trade Practices: Engaging in unethical tactics to pressure or manipulate customers into making a purchase, such as using high-pressure sales tactics, intimidation, or harassment.
  • Lemon Law Violations: Selling a vehicle known to be a “lemon” (i.e., a vehicle with repeated defects that impair its use, safety, or value) without disclosing its history

How We Can Help

If you’ve been a victim of deceptive trade practices with a car dealership, you need experienced legal representation to help you protect your rights, and Kagan Law can help. We are a smaller, boutique firm and we pride ourselves in providing all of our clients with the individualized care and attention they deserve. Our attorneys have an in-depth understanding of the regulation and nuance involved in FDUTPA and Truth in Lending Act cases and we will fight to get you the maximum possible compensation you deserve. Call us today or contact us online to get started.

Florida Car Dealership FDUTPA Violations Attorneys

How You Can Fight Back

With the help of an experienced attorney, you can obtain compensation for the damages you suffered. However, to do so you must prove three things:

  1. A deceptive act or unfair practice occurred: The plaintiff must prove that the accused party participated in an act or method that was either deceptive or unjust in their business practices or commercial conduct.
  2. Show causation: The plaintiff is required to demonstrate that the deceptive or unjust action directly led to the plaintiff experiencing some form of adverse consequence. This could be in the form of financial harm, such as the loss of funds or property, or it can be non-financial in nature, such as experiencing distress, affecting the plaintiff’s emotional well-being.
  3. They suffered actual damages: The plaintiff must provide evidence that they experienced tangible losses as a result of the defendant’s deceptive or unjust behavior. These losses could manifest as direct expenses, lost profits, and more.

If you are considering filing a claim for an FDTUPA violation, it is important to do so with an experienced attorney on your side. These cases can be difficult to navigate on your own and can be extremely nuanced. Depending on the details of the case, you may need to prove that the defendant was aware of their false or misleading advertisement. In other cases, you may need to show that the defendants were extremely unfair and one-sided, this is known as unconscionable conduct.

At Kagan Law, we have significant experience handling consumer protection cases like these. We will utilize our experience and resources to help you build a strong case so that you can win the damages you deserve.

What Are Common Defenses To FDUPTA Violations That Car Dealerships May Employ?

When you file a claim for an FDUPTA violation against a car dealership, they may employ one of the following strategies to defend themselves against your claim. Some of the possible defenses they may use include:

  • Deterrent: A sales agreement containing a legitimate arbitration clause and the exclusion of class action proceedings can notably discourage both individual and class action claims arising from violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), provided the parties crafted the agreement correctly.
  • Lack of intent: If the defendant can demonstrate that they did not have the intention to partake in unfair or deceptive practices, this can serve as a defense against a claim brought under the FDUTPA.
  • Lack of genuine harm: Should the plaintiff be unable to demonstrate that they incurred harm due to the defendant’s actions, this can constitute a defense against an FDUTPA claim. For instance, if the plaintiff wasn’t genuinely misled or did not experience any economic loss, their ability to pursue a successful claim may be limited.
  • Truthful advertising: If the defendant can prove that their advertising was truthful and devoid of deception, this can serve as a defense against an FDUTPA claim. Nonetheless, even honest advertising may still be deemed unfair if it is misleading or possesses the potential to mislead consumers.
  • Good faith: If the defendant’s actions were undertaken in good faith, with a genuine belief that their behavior was not deceptive or unfair, this can be presented as a defense against an FDUTPA claim. Nevertheless, mere good faith may not suffice to escape liability if the defendant’s actions are ultimately found to be deceptive or unfair.
  • Preemption: In certain instances, federal laws or regulations might take precedence over state laws pertaining to unfair and deceptive trade practices. If the defendant can establish that their actions are aligned with relevant federal laws or regulations, this can operate as a defense against an FDUTPA claim.

The success of these defenses depends largely on the details and specific circumstances of your case. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can be prepared for these defenses and have a strong argument to fight back for the compensation you rightfully deserve.

To find out more about the possible defenses that can be used in your particular case, and how you can develop a strategy to fight back, contact the Kagan Law firm team.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know If I Have A Claim?

  • Were you charged a “filing fee” or “registration fee” when a dealership bought out the lease on your vehicle?
  • Did you buy a car only to later find out the car was previously a rental car?
  • Did you purchase a car and it broke down?
  • Have you recently traded in a vehicle to a car dealership in Florida? Has your account fallen past due because the dealer hasn’t made the payoff?
  • Did you purchase a car and later found out that it has been in an accident, or that it is defective, or has frame damage?

What Do I Do If I Suspect A Car Dealership Is Engaging In Deceptive or Unfair Trade Practices?

If you recently dealt with a car dealership that you believe is engaging in deceptive or unfair trade practices there are a few steps you can take that will help you obtain proof, should you file a claim. These steps include:

  • Keep Records: Keep records of your interactions with the car dealership, this includes contracts, receipts, letters, emails, and more.
  • Reach Out To The Business: Consider contacting the business to see if you can resolve the issue. Be sure to keep a record of these interactions. 
  • File A Complaint: The Florida General Attorney’s Office investigates and prosecutes violations of the FDUTPA, filing a complaint with them will make them aware of businesses that may be engaging in deceptive and unfair practices.
  • Contact An Attorney: Contact an experienced attorney for advice. They can provide you with a professional evaluation of your case and help you determine if you have a claim. If you do have a claim, they can help you determine the best course of action.

What Compensation Is Available To Me?

If you’ve been a victim of deceptive and unfair trade practices, you may be eligible for compensation, depending on the specifics of your claim. If a violation of the FDUTPA occurred, the offending dealership may required to pay:

  • Penalties: Dealers may incur penalties of 10 percent of the amount, up to $500.
  • Compensatory Damages: These damages are intended to compensate for losses suffered as a result of deceptive and unfair trade practices. Examples of these types of damages can include lost profits, expenses incurred, and other damages you may have directly suffered.
  • Punitive Damages: These types of damages are awarded in special cases that involve intentional misconduct and are intended to punish the defendant and deter them from conducting similar behavior moving forward. These damages may be awarded to the plaintiff in addition to any compensatory damages.
  • Attorney’s Fees: While it is not mandatory, FDUTPA decisions generally award attorney’s fees provided they are reasonable. This means the dealership pays all fees.

How Much Time Do I Have To File A Claim And Obtain Compensation?

The FDTUPA has a four-year statute of limitations. This means that if you have incurred damages due to deceptive or unfair business tactics, you must file your claim within four years of the date that the unfair or deceptive trade occurred.

Let Kagan Law Handle Your FDTUPA Violation Claim Today

If your FDTUPA rights were violated by a car dealership you may qualify for compensation. Let Kagan Law handle your claim. As a team of experienced legal professionals, we can assure you that your information will be kept confidential and won’t be shared with unauthorized third parties. Call us today or contact us online to learn more about your options with a free consultation.