The department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection shall investigate violations of this chapter and of rules and orders issued under s. 136.04
. The department may subpoena persons and records to facilitate its investigations, and may enforce compliance with such subpoenas as provided in s. 885.12
. The department may in behalf of the state:
Bring an action for temporary or permanent injunctive or other relief in any court of competent jurisdiction for any violation of this chapter or rule or order issued under s. 136.04
. The court may in its discretion, prior to entry of final judgment, award restitution to any person suffering loss because of violations of this chapter or orders issued under s. 136.04
if proof of such loss is submitted to the satisfaction of the court.
Bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for the recovery of civil forfeitures against any person who violates this chapter or any rule or order issued pursuant to s. 136.04
, in an amount not less than $100 nor more than $10,000 for each violation.
In addition to the remedies otherwise provided by law, any person injured by a violation of this chapter or any rule or order issued pursuant to s. 136.04
may bring a civil action for damages pursuant to s. 100.20 (5)
. Any person injured by breach of any future service contract may bring a civil action to recover damages together with costs and disbursements, including reasonable attorney fees, and such other equitable relief as may be determined by the court.
History: 1975 c. 209
; 1995 a. 27
Powers of the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection. 136.04(1)(1)
The department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection may adopt such rules as may be required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
The department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection after public hearing may issue general or special orders to carry out the purposes of this chapter and to determine and prohibit unfair trade practices in business or unfair methods of competition in business pursuant to s. 100.20 (2)
History: 1975 c. 209
; 1977 c. 29
s. 1650m (4)
Any goods ordered for purchase or videotape ordered for rental by a customer pursuant to a future service contract shall be delivered to the customer within 3 months after being ordered, or within 15 days of the time specified on the order, whichever is later. If the videotape or goods are not delivered in a timely manner, the customer's down payment, if any, shall be refunded within 3 business days of written demand. The right of a customer to demand a refund in the event that the delivery date is not met and the right to specify a delivery date shall be conspicuously disclosed on each order form. An extra copy of the order form shall be provided to the customer at the time of ordering.
Representations; contract disclosures. 136.06(1)(1)
With respect to representations made to a prospective customer to induce the customer to sign a future service contract, the contractor shall clearly and accurately describe:
The source of purchase of any merchandise named by its brand, whether such source is from a manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or other supplier.
Where no brand name is stated, the comparative numbers, expressed in percentages of purchases made by the contractor from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers or other suppliers.
The existence, if any, of purchasing arrangements which the contractor has with all manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers or other suppliers, including a statement of the duration of the arrangements.
At the initiation of any solicitation of a prospective customer, the fact that the contractor is offering and selling contracts for future services.
At or prior to the time of execution of a future service contract by the customer, in writing, the step-by-step procedure for ordering the purchase of goods or services or the rental of videotapes.
The contractor's policy with respect to retention or refund of trade, prompt payment or other discounts, and the maximum amount of such discounts expressed as a percentage of the contractor's cost for the goods or services purchased or the videotapes rented.
All future service contracts shall disclose:
The disposition of all trade discounts, prompt payment discounts or other discounts received by the contractor, and if the contractor retains such discounts, the maximum discount which the contractor may receive expressed as a percentage of the contractor's cost for the goods or services. Where the contract provides for a return of any discount to the customer, or where the contract fails to disclose the disposition of such discounts the contractor shall promptly refund such discounts to the customer upon receiving them.
All normal charges assessed on an item that are to be paid by the customer, such as freight costs, the contractor's markup differential and other costs. Such disclosure shall also be made on each order placed through the contractor, separately and in specific monetary amounts.
That a manufacturer's or other dealer's supply agreement with the contractor may not be permanent, if such is in fact true.
Upon whom falls the risk of damage in shipment of goods pursuant to a customer's order.
The contractor's policy with respect to return of ordered goods, cancellation of orders by the customer and refunds for such cancellation or return.
The contractor's policy with respect to warranties or guarantees on goods ordered.
Every contract made in violation of this chapter is void and unenforceable as contrary to public policy.
Any waiver by a customer of this chapter or of a customer's rights under this chapter is contrary to public policy and is void and unenforceable.
Contract performance; records. 136.07(1)(1)
No contractor may fail to perform upon the contractual provisions required to be set forth in future service contracts under s. 136.06 (2)
Every contractor shall retain business records for goods ordered for purchase for 2 years following delivery of those goods. These records shall include, but not be limited to, records showing the contractor's costs of purchased goods and all customer orders for those goods. Every contractor renting videotapes shall retain copies of all unexpired videotape rental contracts, identifying the member and the cost and duration of membership.
History: 1975 c. 209
; 1985 a. 324
Any person who is the owner, officer, manager or employee of a contractor is prohibited from being the owner, officer, manager or employee of any supplier whose partial or whole purpose is the selling or supplying of merchandise to the contractor. A stockholder of less than 10 percent of the stock of a supplier corporation is exempt from the prohibition of this section.
History: 1975 c. 209
Every contractor shall maintain a bond issued by a surety company licensed to do business in this state. The principal sum of the bond shall at all times be $25,000, except that if a contractor enters into a contract described in s. 136.02 (7)
, the principal sum of the bond shall be $250,000.
The bond required by this section shall be in favor of the state for the benefit of any member who suffers loss of prepayments made pursuant to a contract due to insolvency of the contractor, the cessation of business by the plan, or the failure of a contractor to make a refund under a provision in a future service contract described in s. 136.02 (7) (e)
. A copy of the bond shall be filed with the department. Any person claiming against the bond may maintain an action at law against the contractor and the surety.
In addition to other means for the enforcement of the surety's liability on the bond required by this section, the surety's liability may be enforced by motion after a final judgment has been obtained against a contractor. The notice of motion, the motion, and a copy of the judgment shall be served on the surety as provided under s. 801.14
. The notice shall set forth the amount of the claim and a brief statement indicating that the claim is covered by the bond. Service shall also be made on the division of trade and consumer protection of the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection. The court shall grant the motion unless the surety establishes that the claim is not covered by the bond or unless the court sustains an objection made by the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection that the grant of the motion might impair the rights of actual or potential claimants or is not in the public interest. The court may, in the interest of justice, order a proportional or other equitable distribution of the bond proceeds.
History: 1975 c. 209
; 2009 a. 115