Section 634.336, Florida Statutes 2009
634.336 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.--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 home 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 home 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 home 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; or
(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.
(6) FAILURE TO MAINTAIN PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING COMPLAINTS.--Failing to maintain a complete record of each written 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) COERCION OF DEBTORS.--When a home warranty is sold as authorized by s. 634.301(3)(b):
(a) Requiring, as a condition precedent or condition subsequent to the lending of the money or the extension of the credit or any renewal thereof, that the person to whom such credit is extended purchase a home warranty; or
(b) Failing to provide the advice required by s. 634.344.
History.--s. 29, ch. 83-323; s. 1, ch. 84-94; s. 20, ch. 93-195; s. 1475, ch. 2003-261; s. 7, ch. 2006-272.