634.436 Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices defined.—The following methods, acts, or practices are defined as unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices:
(1) MISREPRESENTATION AND FALSE ADVERTISING OF INSURANCE POLICIES.—Knowingly making, issuing, circulating, or causing to be made, issued, or circulated, any estimate, illustration, circular, statement, sales presentation, omission, or comparison which:
(a) Misrepresents the benefits, advantages, conditions, or terms of any service warranty contract.
(b) Is misleading or is a misrepresentation as to the financial condition of any person.
(c) Uses any name or title of any contract misrepresenting the true nature thereof.
(d) Is a misrepresentation for the purpose of inducing, or tending to induce, the lapse, forfeiture, exchange, conversion, or surrender of any service warranty contract.
(2) FALSE INFORMATION AND ADVERTISING GENERALLY.—Knowingly making, publishing, disseminating, circulating, or placing before the public, or causing, directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the public:
(a) In a newspaper, magazine, or other publication;
(b) In the form of a notice, circular, pamphlet, letter, or poster;
(c) Over any radio or television station; or
(d) In any other way,
an advertisement, announcement, or statement containing any assertion, representation, or statement with respect to the business of service warranty, which assertion, representation, or statement is untrue, deceptive, or misleading.
(3) DEFAMATION.—Knowingly making, publishing, disseminating, or circulating, directly or indirectly, or aiding, abetting, or encouraging the making, publishing, disseminating, or circulating of, any oral or written statement, or any pamphlet, circular, article, or literature, which is false or maliciously critical of, or derogatory to, any person and which is calculated to injure such person.
(4) FALSE STATEMENTS AND ENTRIES.—
1. Filing with any supervisory or other public official;
2. Making, publishing, disseminating, or circulating;
3. Delivering to any person;
4. Placing before the public; or
5. Causing, directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, delivered to any person, or placed before the public,
any false statement.
(b) Knowingly making any false entry of a material fact in any book, report, or statement of any person.
(5) UNFAIR CLAIM SETTLEMENT PRACTICES.—
(a) Attempting to settle claims on the basis of an application or any other material document which was altered without notice to, or knowledge or consent of, the warranty holder;
(b) Making a material misrepresentation to the warranty holder for the purpose and with the intent of effecting settlement of such claims, loss, or damage under such contract on less favorable terms than those provided in, and contemplated by, such contract;
(c) Committing or performing with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice any of the following practices:
1. Failure properly to investigate claims;
2. Misrepresentation of pertinent facts or contract provisions relating to coverages at issue;
3. Failure to acknowledge and act promptly upon communications with respect to claims;
4. Denial of claims without conducting reasonable investigations based upon available information;
5. Failure to affirm or deny coverage of claims upon written request of the warranty holder within a reasonable time after proof-of-loss statements have been completed; or
6. Failure to promptly provide a reasonable explanation to the warranty holder of the basis in the contract in relation to the facts or applicable law for denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement; or
(d) Denying a claim solely on the basis that the association was not able to confirm that the warranty holder in fact purchased a service warranty because the association did not obtain the name and address as set forth in s. 634.4165(2).
(6) FAILURE TO MAINTAIN PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING COMPLAINTS.—Failing to maintain a record of each complaint received for a 3-year period after the date of the receipt of the written complaint.
(7) DISCRIMINATORY REFUSAL TO ISSUE A CONTRACT.—Refusing to issue a contract solely because of an individual’s race, color, creed, marital status, sex, or national origin.
(8) FREE SERVICE WARRANTIES.—
(a) Advertising, offering, or providing a free service warranty as an inducement to the purchase or sale of real or personal property or of services directly or indirectly connected with such real or personal property.
(b) For the purposes of this subsection, a “free” service warranty is:
1. A service warranty for which no identifiable and additional charge is made to the purchaser of such real property, personal property, or services.
2. A service warranty for which an identifiable or additional charge is made in an amount less than the cost of such service warranty as to the seller or other person, other than the service warranty association, providing the same.
3. A service warranty with respect to which the word “free” or words implying that the provision of the service warranty is without cost are used in connection with the advertising or offering for sale of any kind of goods, merchandise, or services.
(9) FAILURE TO PROVIDE TERMS AND CONDITIONS PRIOR TO SALE.—Failing to provide a consumer with a complete sample copy of the terms and conditions of the service warranty prior to before the time of sale upon a request for the same by the consumer. A service warranty association may comply with this subsection by providing the consumer with a sample copy of the terms and conditions of the warranty contract or by directing the consumer to a website that displays a complete sample of the terms and conditions of the contract.
History.—ss. 28, 38, ch. 83-322; s. 20, ch. 93-195; s. 23, ch. 2001-281; s. 7, ch. 2008-178; s. 37, ch. 2010-175.