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As a consumer in Boca Raton, it’s essential to be aware of your rights and the laws that protect you from illegal business practices. Consumer protection laws are designed to safeguard individuals from deceptive, unfair, and fraudulent practices that unscrupulous companies may engage in. The following are common illegal business practices under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. If you believe you have been the victim of any of these practices, you can report your suspicions to the Consumer Protection Division of the Florida Attorney General’s Office and seek compensation with the help of an experienced consumer protection lawyer.

False Advertising

False advertising occurs when a business makes untrue or misleading statements about its products or services, such as exaggerating benefits, hiding risks, or making unsubstantiated claims. In most cases, false advertising is a second-degree misdemeanor under Chapter 817 of the Florida Statutes, and victims of this unscrupulous practice may seek financial compensation in certain circumstances.

Bait-and-Switch Tactics

Bait-and-switch is a specific form of false advertising where a business lures customers in with low prices, only to pressure them into buying more expensive or inferior products. This tactic is prohibited under 817.44 of the Florida Statutes, and consumers who fall victim to bait-and-switch can take legal action. To protect yourself from bait-and-switch tactics, always read the fine print and ask questions before making a purchase. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Price Gouging

In the wake of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Florida state government passed a law making it illegal for businesses to raise prices excessively on essential goods and services, such as food, gas, housing, and medical supplies during a declared emergency. This practice is called price gouging, and those who engage in it face a $1,000 fine for each violation, with up to $25,000 in fines for a 24-hour period.

Selling Used Goods as New

Florida law prohibits selling used items while representing them as new. It is a misdemeanor in the first degree if the item has a purchase price greater than $100. If the item is a motor vehicle, the crime becomes a third-degree felony if the purchase price is above $1,000.

Pyramid Schemes

Pyramid schemes are illegal business models that prioritize recruitment over the sale of products or services. These schemes are unsustainable and often result in significant financial losses for most participants. The Florida Statutes criminalize pyramid schemes and other unlawful multi-level marketing practices.

If you suspect that a business opportunity is a pyramid scheme, research the company thoroughly and consult with a legal professional before investing any money.

Failure to Honor Warranties

Businesses must honor their warranties on their products, whether they are express (that is, explicitly stated in writing) or implied (meaning that they are fit for their presumed purpose and of a basic level of quality). Failing to do so is an illegal business practice that violates consumer protection laws under Chapter 672 of the Florida Statutes. Businesses that fail to honor their warranties can be held financially liable by the consumers they hurt.

Selling “Lemons”

The term “lemon” describes a motor vehicle that has inherent and unfixable problems that render it unsuitable for use. The Motor Vehicle Enforcement Act requires sellers to fix any issues affecting a vehicle’s value, use, or safety under the terms of its warranty within 24 months of purchase. If they cannot do so, they must replace the vehicle or repurchase it from the buyer.

Contact Our Firm Today

If you believe that you have been a victim of any of these illegal business practices in Boca Raton, Florida, it’s crucial to seek legal assistance from experienced consumer protection attorneys. Lehrman Law is dedicated to protecting the rights of Floridians like you and holding businesses accountable for their unlawful actions.

Our team of skilled attorneys has extensive experience handling cases involving deceptive and illegal sales practices, and we can leverage this experience to seek the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact Lehrman Law today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how they can help you fight for your rights as a consumer in Boca Raton.