Section 559.921, Florida Statutes 2003
(1) Any customer injured by a violation of this part may bring an action in the appropriate court for relief. The prevailing party in that action may be entitled to damages plus court costs and reasonable attorney's fees. The customer may also bring an action for injunctive relief in the circuit court.
1(2) The department shall refer consumer complaints to the Division of Consumer Services.
(3) All motor vehicle repair shops shall allow department personnel to enter their place of business to ascertain whether the registration certificate is current. If department personnel are refused entry or access to the premises, the department may seek injunctive relief in circuit court in order to obtain compliance with this subsection.
(4)(a) The department may enter an order imposing one or more of the penalties set forth in paragraph (b) if the department finds that a motor vehicle repair shop:
1. Violated or is operating in violation of any of the provisions of this part or of the rules adopted or orders issued thereunder;
2. Made a material false statement in any application, document, or record required to be submitted or retained under this part;
3. Refused or failed, or any of its principal officers have refused or failed, after notice, to produce any document or record or disclose any information required to be produced or disclosed under this part or the rules of the department;
4. Made a material false statement in response to any request or investigation by the department, the Department of Legal Affairs, or the state attorney; or
5. Has intentionally defrauded the public through dishonest or deceptive means.
(b) Upon a finding as set forth in paragraph (a), the department may enter an order doing one or more of the following:
1. Issuing a notice of noncompliance pursuant to s. 120.695.
2. Imposing an administrative fine not to exceed $1,000 per violation for each act which constitutes a violation of this part or a rule or order.
3. Directing that the motor vehicle repair shop cease and desist specified activities.
4. Refusing to register or revoking or suspending a registration.
5. Placing the registrant on probation for a period of time, subject to such conditions as the department may specify.
(c) The administrative proceedings which could result in the entry of an order imposing any of the penalties specified in paragraph (b) shall be conducted in accordance with chapter 120.
(5)(a) The department or the state attorney, if a violation of this part occurs in his or her judicial circuit, shall be the enforcing authority for purposes of this part and may bring a civil action in circuit court for temporary or permanent injunctive relief and may seek other appropriate civil relief, including a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each violation, restitution and damages for injured customers, court costs, and reasonable attorney's fees.
(b) The enforcing authority may terminate any investigation or action upon agreement by the offender to pay a stipulated civil penalty, to make restitution or pay damages to customers, or to satisfy any other relief authorized herein and requested by the department.
(6) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall have exclusive authority to impose the remedies in subsection (4) for motor vehicle and recreational vehicle dealers licensed under chapter 320. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the state attorney shall have exclusive authority to impose the remedies in subsection (5) for motor vehicle and recreational vehicle dealers licensed under chapter 320. Upon receipt of a final order from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for suspension or revocation of a motor vehicle repair shop registration, the department shall suspend or revoke the registration according to the order. Rules adopted by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to enforce the provisions of this part shall be consistent with the rules of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(7) If, in any proceeding brought pursuant to this part, it is determined that the repairs and costs thereof were in fact authorized, orally or in writing, the repairs were completed in a proper manner, and the consumer benefited therefrom, then the enforcing authority may consider such factors in assessing penalties or damages and may award the reasonable value of such repairs.
(8) The remedies provided for in this section shall be in addition to any other remedy provided by law.
History.--s. 1, ch. 80-139; s. 12, ch. 93-219; s. 829, ch. 97-103; s. 28, ch. 97-250; s. 45, ch. 2001-279; ss. 64, 65, ch. 2003-399.
A. Section 64, ch. 2003-399, amended subsection (2) "[i]n order to implement Specific Appropriations 1335-1339 of the 2003-2004 General Appropriations Act."
B. Section 65, ch. 2003-399, provides that "[t]he amendment of subsection (2) of section 559.921, Florida Statutes, by this act shall expire on July 1, 2004, and the text of that subsection shall revert to that in existence on June 30, 2003, except that any amendments to such text enacted other than by this act shall be preserved and continue to operate to the extent that such amendments are not dependent upon the portions of such text which expire pursuant to the provisions of this act." Effective July 1, 2004, subsection (2), as amended by s. 65, ch. 2003-399, will read:
(2) The department shall process consumer complaints according to ss. 570.07 and 570.544.
Note.--Former s. 559.923.