New demand letter to car dealer requirement
In 2014 the Florida legislature introduced a new law that imposes a new presuit requirement of a demand letter before filing lawsuits against motor vehicle dealers for violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA)
The statute, section 501.98, spells out express requirements. The letter to car dealer must:
√ Be sent in good faith and delivered with return-receipt requested;
√ Include the names and addresses of both the claimant and dealer;
√ Describe the underlying facts of the claim
√ Include a statement describing each item of damages, and provide a total estimated amount of damages; and
√ Include all transaction documents on which the claim is based.
The motor vehicle dealer has 30 days to respond, and the claimant cannot initiate any civil lawsuit or arbitration action against the dealer for FDUPTA without first doing this demand letter.
If the dealer pays the amount of alleged damages plus a 10% or $500 surcharge (whichever is less), the claimant is barred from taking any further civil action.
It must provide an amount of damages, which should be reasonably recoverable. If a lawsuit is later filed and the court finds that the amount of damages in the demand letter was unreasonable, the claimant may not be able to recover his or her attorney fees, even after winning the lawsuit.
If, after receiving the letter, the dealer opts to pay the claimed damages and surcharge, the payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing and releases the dealer and its agents from any claim that could be brought out of or in connection with the transaction or occurrence described in the demand letter.
The notice requirement
What this new legislation means