Florida consumer laws are in place to protect you as a consumer, but those laws can do little to protect you if you aren’t familiar with them. That’s why today, we’re taking a look at 5 Florida consumer laws that you need to know!
5 Florida Consumer Laws You Need to Know
1. Lemon Laws in Florida
Lemon laws are designed to protect consumers who are buying or leasing new or demonstrator vehicles in the state of Florida. If, within the first 24 months of owning the car, that car
- Is discovered to have a significant defect after your purchase;
- The defect in question is covered under your warranty; and
- The defect continues to reoccur, despite there being a reasonable number of repair attempts made.
That car is covered under the Lemon law.
If you discover that your car is a lemon under Florida consumer laws, you have every right to pursue a legal case against the company or dealership that sold you the car. It’s important that if you are considering pursuing legal action, you consult an experienced lawyer who understands consumer law.
2. Protection Against Deceptive Trade Practices
In the state of Florida, consumers are protected against deceptive trade practices. Multiple types of deceptive practices are outlined by Florida law as well as their remedies. What do you need to know? Under da, general deceptive trade practices are considered to be a second-degree misdemeanor. In the case of odometer tampering in the auto industry, this is considered to be a third-degree felony. Many different industries are regulated by Florida consumer laws against deceptive trade practices including food and supplements, real estate, consumer products (including cars), and credit cards. The industry that a company is classified as plays a significant role in what types of practices are labeled as being “deceptive”.
If you believe that you have been duped by deceptive trade practices, it’s equally as important to retain an attorney who has experience in consumer law. If you’re in the St. Pete area, Weidner Law can help.
3. Interest Rate Laws
Another type of consumer law you should be aware of in the state of Florida is interest rate laws. Interest rate laws are put in place to ensure that you are not taken advantage of as a consumer through imbalanced lending practices. In the state of Florida, the maximum interest rate is determined by the Comptroller of the state by averaging the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the previous year and adding 500 basis points to the averaged federal discount rate. A lender who charges an interest rate above this is considered a predatory lender.
In Florida, loans of $500,000 or less, have a capped interest rate of 18% annually. For loans that are greater than $500,000, the interest rate is capped at 25%.
There are some exceptions to the maximum interest rate cap in Florida, for example, national banks are not held to the maximum interest rate regulations. Additionally, people with a pawnbrokers license and small loan companies have other regulations that they must abide by.
Companies that do not abide by the Florida consumer laws on interest rates face serious penalties and a reputable Florida consumer law professional can help you to fight for your rights.
4. Security Deposit and Advanced Rent Laws
In the state of Florida, there are no limits on what a landlord can charge as a security deposit for their property or what they can request in terms of advanced rent payment. That said, however, the city where you live may have ordinances in place that limit what a landlord can charge in these instances.
It’s also important to know that when a security deposit is made on a rental agreement, the landlord/landlady is required to put that money into a separate and non-interest bearing account. After the lease has ended, if no claims are being made against the deposit, your landlord/landlady has 15 days to return that deposit to you with interest. If a claim is going to be made against the deposit, your landlord/landlady has 30 days to provide written notice through certified mail that explains their intention to and the reason behind filing a claim. If this 30-day deadline is missed your landlord/landlady forfeits their right to make a claim.
If your landlord/landlady does notify you of their intention to file a claim against your security deposit, you have 14 days to object to that claim because, within 15 days, your landlord/landlady can deduct the amount of their claim from your security deposit.
If you feel that your landlord/landlady is filing a wrongful claim or is attempting to file a claim against your deposit after the 30-day period, you need to consult a reputable consumer law attorney to stand up for yourself.
5. Debtors Rights
We have already covered debtors rights in detail in the past, but if you missed those posts you should know that as a debtor, you have certain rights and responsibilities. These rights and responsibilities can be difficult to understand so it’s best to consult an attorney who is experienced with Florida consumer law who can help you to understand where you stand, what you need to do to protect your rights, and help you to protect those rights in the event that they have been infringed.
Need an Attorney to Help you to Understand Florida Consumer Laws?
If you need an attorney to help you to understand Florida consumer laws or your rights under Florida consumer law, Weidner Law can help. Just pick up the phone and give us a call at 727-954-8752 or fill in our online contact form and we’ll get in touch!