Caveat Venditor - Let the Seller Beware

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Engaging in advertising that may be deemed false, misleading or deceptive can damage more than just a Florida motor vehicle dealer’s reputation.  The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has been empowered by the Florida legislature to take disciplinary action against any dealer that has established a pattern of misrepresentation or false, deceptive or misleading statements in advertisements related to the sale or financing of motor vehicles.  Such disciplinary action may include denial, suspension or revocation of that dealer’s license to sell motor vehicles.

Additionally, Florida law provides that certain specific acts will be considered to be “deceptive” with regard to the sale of motor vehicles that the dealer has advertised.  Included in such prohibitions is the act of advertising the price of a vehicle: (1) without disclosing the year, make, model, and a commonly accepted trade, brand, or style name; or (2) without including in the advertised price all fees or charges that the customer must pay, including freight or destination charge, dealer preparation charge, and charges for undercoating or rustproofing. Under certain circumstances, state and local taxes, tags, registration fees, and title fees must also be disclosed in the advertisement.  Engaging in these deceptive acts may allow consumers to bring a private cause of action against the dealer and the dealer may be required to pay the consumer’s attorneys’ fees and costs.

False, misleading and deceptive advertising can implicate various federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations.  Because violations may result in steep administrative, civil, and sometimes even criminal penalties, compliance with the various statutes, rules and regulations is critical to the success of all Florida motor vehicle dealers.

The information contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.  This newsletter does not create, an attorney-client relationship between you and Killgore, Pearlman, Stamp, Ornstein & Squires, P.A. and you should not act or rely on any information in this newsletter without first consulting legal counsel.