320.57 Penalties for violations of this chapter.—
(1) Any person convicted of violating any of the provisions of this chapter is, unless otherwise provided herein, guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(2) The owner of a truck tractor and semitrailer combination or commercial truck and trailer combination, the actual gross vehicle weight of which exceeds the declared weight for registration purposes, is required to pay to the department the difference between the license tax amount paid and the required license tax due for the proper gross vehicle weight prescribed by s. 320.08(4), plus a civil penalty of $50.
History.–s. 26, ch. 7275, 1917; RGS 5605; s. 14, ch. 8410, 1921; s. 7, ch. 10186, 1925; CGL 7792, 7793; s. 202, ch. 71-136; s. 54, ch. 83-318; s. 44, ch. 87-198.
320.571 Failure of person charged with misdemeanor under this chapter to comply with court-ordered directives; suspension of license.–Any person who has been charged with the commission of an offense which constitutes a misdemeanor under this chapter and who fails to comply with all of the directives of the court is subject to the provisions of s. 322.245.
History.–s. 21, ch. 84-359.
320.58 License inspectors; powers, appointment.—
(1)(a) The department shall appoint as many license inspectors and supervisors as it deems necessary to enforce the provisions of this chapter and chapters 319, 322, and 324. In order to enforce the provisions of these laws, the inspectors are empowered to enter on both publicly owned and privately owned property and to issue uniform traffic citations to persons found in violation thereof. The department is further empowered to delegate the power to issue uniform traffic citations to persons acting as its agents for the purpose of enforcing the registration provisions of this chapter, which may include, but not be limited to, personnel employed by district school boards as agreed to by the school board and the county tax collector.
(b) License inspectors appointed pursuant to this section and agents delegated by the department are not to be considered for membership in the state high-risk retirement program.
(2) Any person who fails or refuses to surrender his or her driver’s license, registration certificate, and license plate upon lawful demand of an inspector, supervisor, or authorized agent of the department is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.–s. 7, ch. 10182, 1925; CGL 1305; s. 46, ch. 26869, 1951; s. 19, ch. 63-400; s. 6, ch. 65-190; ss. 24, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 73-305; s. 27, ch. 77-357; s. 55, ch. 83-318; s. 3, ch. 88-253; s. 39, ch. 91-224; s. 367, ch. 95-148; ss. 50, 51, ch. 2000-171.
320.60 Definitions for ss. 320.61-320.70.–Whenever used in ss. 320.61-320.70, unless the context otherwise requires, the following words and terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Agreement” or “franchise agreement” means a contract, franchise, new motor vehicle franchise, sales and service agreement, or dealer agreement or any other terminology used to describe the contractual relationship between a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or importer, and a motor vehicle dealer, pursuant to which the motor vehicle dealer is authorized to transact business pertaining to motor vehicles of a particular line-make.
(2) “Common entity” means a person:
(a) Who is either controlled or owned, beneficially or of record, by one or more persons who also control or own more than 40 percent of the voting equity interests of a manufacturer; or
(b) Who shares directors or officers or partners with a manufacturer.
(3) “Demonstrator” means any new motor vehicle that is carried on the records of the dealer as a demonstrator and is used by, being inspected or driven by the dealer or his or her employees, or driven by prospective customers for the purpose of demonstrating vehicle characteristics in the sale or display of motor vehicles sold by the dealer.
(4) “Department” means the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(5) “Distributor” means a person, resident or nonresident, who, in whole or in part, sells or distributes motor vehicles to motor vehicle dealers or who maintains distributor representatives.
(6) “Factory branch” means a branch office maintained by a manufacturer, distributor, or importer for the sale of motor vehicles to distributors or to motor vehicle dealers, or for directing or supervising, in whole or in part, its representatives in this state.
(7) “Importer” means any person who imports vehicles from a foreign country into the United States or into this state for the purpose of sale or lease.
(8) “Licensee” means any person licensed or required to be licensed under s. 320.61.
(9) “Manufacturer” means any person, whether a resident or nonresident of this state, who manufactures or assembles motor vehicles or who manufactures or installs on previously assembled truck chassis special bodies or equipment which, when installed, form an integral part of the motor vehicle and which constitute a major manufacturing alteration. The term “manufacturer” includes a central or principal sales corporation or other entity through which, by contractual agreement or otherwise, it distributes its products.
(10) “Motor vehicle” means any new automobile, motorcycle, or truck, including all trucks, regardless of weight, including “heavy truck” as defined in s. 320.01(10) and “truck” as defined in s. 320.01(9), the equitable or legal title to which has never been transferred by a manufacturer, distributor, importer, or dealer to an ultimate purchaser; however, when legal title is not transferred but possession of a motor vehicle is transferred pursuant to a conditional sales contract or lease and the conditions are not satisfied and the vehicle is returned to the motor vehicle dealer, the motor vehicle may be resold by the motor vehicle dealer as a new motor vehicle, provided the selling motor vehicle dealer gives the following written notice to the purchaser: “THIS VEHICLE WAS DELIVERED TO A PREVIOUS PURCHASER.” The purchaser shall sign an acknowledgment, a copy of which is kept in the selling dealer’s file.
(11)(a) “Motor vehicle dealer” means any person, firm, company, corporation, or other entity, who,
1. Is licensed pursuant to s. 320.27 as a “franchised motor vehicle dealer” and, for commission, money, or other things of value, repairs or services motor vehicles or used motor vehicles pursuant to an agreement as defined in subsection (1), or
2. Who sells, exchanges, buys, leases or rents, or offers, or attempts to negotiate a sale or exchange of any interest in, motor vehicles, or
3. Who is engaged wholly or in part in the business of selling motor vehicles, whether or not such motor vehicles are owned by such person, firm, company, or corporation.
(b) Any person who repairs or services three or more motor vehicles or used motor vehicles as set forth in paragraph (a), or who buys, sells, or deals in three or more motor vehicles in any 12-month period or who offers or displays for sale three or more motor vehicles in any 12-month period shall be prima facie presumed to be a motor vehicle dealer. The terms “selling” and “sale” include lease-purchase transactions.
(c) The term “motor vehicle dealer” does not include:
1. Public officers while performing their official duties;
2. Receivers, trustees, administrators, executors, guardians, or other persons appointed by, or acting under the judgment or order of, any court;
3. Banks, finance companies, or other loan agencies that acquire motor vehicles as an incident to their regular business; or
4. Motor vehicle rental and leasing companies that sell motor vehicles to motor vehicle dealers licensed under s. 320.27.
(12) “Person” means any natural person, partnership, firm, corporation, association, joint venture, trust, or other legal entity.
(13) “Used motor vehicle” means any motor vehicle the title to which has been transferred, at least once, by a manufacturer, distributor, importer, or dealer to an ultimate purchaser.
(14) “Line-make vehicles” are those motor vehicles which are offered for sale, lease, or distribution under a common name, trademark, service mark, or brand name of the manufacturer of same.
(15) “Sell,” “selling,” “sold,” “exchange,” “retail sales,” and “leases” includes any transaction where the title of motor vehicle or used motor vehicle is transferred to a retail consumer, and also any retail lease transaction where a retail customer leases a vehicle for a period of at least 12 months. Establishing a price for sale pursuant to s. 320.64(24) does not constitute a sale or lease.
(16) “Service” means any maintenance or repair of any motor vehicle or used motor vehicle that is sold or provided to an owner, operator, or user pursuant to a motor vehicle warranty, or any extension thereof, issued by the licensee.
History.–s. 1, ch. 20236, 1941; s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 6, ch. 65-190; ss. 24, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 4, ch. 70-424; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 95, ch. 71-377; s. 1, ch. 72-112; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 28, ch. 77-357; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 129, ch. 79-400; ss. 16, 17, 18, ch. 80-217; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 1, ch. 84-69; ss. 3, 20, 21, ch. 88-395; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 17, ch. 93-219; s. 368, ch. 95-148; s. 32, ch. 2000-313; s. 19, ch. 2001-196; s. 1, ch. 2003-269; s. 2, ch. 2006-183.
320.605 Legislative intent.–It is the intent of the Legislature to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the state by regulating the licensing of motor vehicle dealers and manufacturers, maintaining competition, providing consumer protection and fair trade and providing minorities with opportunities for full participation as motor vehicle dealers.
History.–ss. 4, 22, ch. 88-395; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
320.61 Licenses required of motor vehicle manufacturers, distributors, importers, etc.—
(1) No manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or importer (all sometimes referred to hereinafter as “licensee”) shall engage in business in this state without a license therefor as provided in ss. 320.60-320.70. No motor vehicle, foreign or domestic, may be sold, leased, or offered for sale or lease in this state unless the manufacturer, importer, or distributor of such motor vehicle, which issues an agreement to a motor vehicle dealer in this state, is licensed under ss. 320.60-320.70.
(2) The department may prescribe an abbreviated application for renewal of a license if the licensee had previously filed an initial application pursuant to s. 320.63. The application for renewal shall include any information necessary to bring current the information required in the initial application.
(3) All licenses shall be granted or refused within 30 days after application.
(4) When a complaint of unfair or prohibited cancellation or nonrenewal of a dealer agreement is made by a motor vehicle dealer against a licensee and such complaint is pending pursuant to ss. 320.60-320.70, no replacement application for such agreement shall be granted and no license shall be issued by the department under s. 320.27 to any replacement dealer until a final decision is rendered on the complaint of unfair cancellation, so long as the dealer agreement of the complaining dealer is in effect as provided under s. 320.641(7).
(5) Any manufacturer, distributor, or importer, who obtains a license under this section, is engaged in business in this state and is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state pursuant to chapter 48. Any manufacturer not licensed under this section, who is a manufacturer of motor vehicles of a recognized line-make which are sold or leased in this state pursuant to a plan, system, or channel of distribution established, approved, authorized or known to the manufacturer, shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state in any action seeking relief under or to enforce any of the remedies or penalties provided in ss. 320.60-320.70.
History.–s. 2, ch. 20236, 1941; s. 5, ch. 70-424; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 20, ch. 78-95; ss. 4, 16, 17, ch. 80-217; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 2, ch. 84-69; ss. 5, 20, 21, ch. 88-395; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 20, ch. 2001-196.
320.615 Agent for service of process.–The acceptance by any person of a license under ss. 320.60-320.70 shall be deemed equivalent to an appointment by such person of the Secretary of State as the agent of such person upon whom may be served all lawful process in any action, suit, or proceeding against such person arising out of any transaction or operation connected with or incidental to any activities of such person carried on under such license, and the acceptance of such license shall be signification of the agreement of such person that any process against him or her which is so served shall be of the same legal force and validity as if served personally on the person. Service of such process shall be in accordance with and in the same manner as now provided for service of process upon nonresidents under the provisions of chapter 48.
History.–s. 6, ch. 70-424; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 16, 17, ch. 80-217; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 20, 21, ch. 88-395; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 369, ch. 95-148.
320.62 Licenses; amount; disposition of proceeds.–The initial license for each manufacturer, distributor, or importer shall be $300 and shall be in addition to all other licenses or taxes now or hereafter levied, assessed, or required of the applicant or licensee. The annual renewal license fee shall be $100. The proceeds from all licenses under ss. 320.60-320.70 shall be paid into the State Treasury to the credit of the General Revenue Fund. All licenses shall be payable on or before October 1 of each year and shall expire, unless sooner revoked or suspended, on the following September 30.
History.–s. 3, ch. 20236, 1941; s. 47, ch. 26869, 1951; s. 7, ch. 70-424; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 5, 16, 17, ch. 80-217; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 5, ch. 85-176; ss. 6, 20, 21, ch. 88-395; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
320.63 Application for license; contents.–Any person desiring to be licensed pursuant to ss. 320.60-320.70 shall make application therefor to the department upon a form containing such information as the department requires. The department shall require, with such application or otherwise and from time to time, all of the following, which information may be considered by the department in determining the fitness of the applicant or licensee to engage in the business for which the applicant or licensee desires to be licensed:
(1) Information relating to the applicant’s or licensee’s solvency and financial standing.
(2) A certified copy of the applicant’s or licensee’s new motor vehicle warranty or warranties in any way connected with a motor vehicle or any component thereof, accompanied by a detailed explanation thereof.
(3) From each manufacturer, distributor, or importer which utilizes an identical blanket basic agreement for its dealers or distributors in this state, which agreement comprises all or any part of the applicant’s or licensee’s agreements with motor vehicle dealers in this state, a copy of the written agreement and all supplements thereto, together with a list of the applicant’s or licensee’s authorized dealers or distributors and their addresses. The applicant or licensee shall further notify the department immediately of the appointment of any additional dealer or distributor. The applicant or licensee shall annually report to the department on its efforts to add new minority dealer points, including difficulties encountered under ss. 320.61-320.70. For purposes of this section “minority” shall have the same meaning as that given it in the definition of “minority person” in s. 288.703(3). Not later than 60 days prior to the date a revision or modification to a franchise agreement is offered uniformly to a licensee’s motor vehicle dealers in this state, the licensee shall notify the department of such revision, modification, or addition to the franchise agreement on file with the department. In no event may a franchise agreement, or any addendum or supplement thereto, be offered to a motor vehicle dealer in this state until the applicant or licensee files an affidavit with the department acknowledging that the terms or provisions of the agreement, or any related document, are not inconsistent with, prohibited by, or contrary to the provisions contained in ss. 320.60-320.70. Any franchise agreement offered to a motor vehicle dealer in this state shall provide that all terms and conditions in such agreement inconsistent with the law and rules of this state are of no force and effect.
(4) A certified copy of the delivery and preparation obligations of its motor vehicle dealers.
(5) An affidavit stating the rates which the applicant or licensee pays or agrees to pay any authorized motor vehicle dealer licensed in this state for the parts and labor advanced or incurred by such authorized motor vehicle dealer for or on account of any delivery and preparation obligations imposed by the applicant or the licensee on its dealers or relating to warranty obligations which the applicant or licensee or its principle is obligated to perform.
(6) The fee for the annual license.
(7) Any other pertinent matter commensurate with the safeguarding of the public interest which the department, by rule, prescribes.
History.–s. 4, ch. 20236, 1941; s. 6, ch. 65-190; ss. 24, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 8, ch. 70-424; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 16, 17, ch. 80-217; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 3, ch. 84-69; ss. 7, 20, 21, ch. 88-395; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 370, ch. 95-148.
320.64 Denial, suspension, or revocation of license; grounds.–A license of a licensee under s. 320.61 may be denied, suspended, or revoked within the entire state or at any specific location or locations within the state at which the applicant or licensee engages or proposes to engage in business, upon proof that the section was violated with sufficient frequency to establish a pattern of wrongdoing, and a licensee or applicant shall be liable for claims and remedies provided in ss. 320.695 and 320.697 for any violation of any of the following provisions. A licensee is prohibited from committing the following acts:
(1) The applicant or licensee is determined to be unable to carry out contractual obligations with its motor vehicle dealers.
(2) The applicant or licensee has knowingly made a material misstatement in its application for a license.
(3) The applicant or licensee willfully has failed to comply with significant provisions of ss. 320.60-320.70 or with any lawful rule or regulation adopted or promulgated by the department.
(4) The applicant or licensee has indulged in any illegal act relating to his or her business.
(5) The applicant or licensee has coerced or attempted to coerce any motor vehicle dealer into accepting delivery of any motor vehicle or vehicles or parts or accessories therefor or any other commodities which have not been ordered by the dealer.
(6) The applicant or licensee has coerced or attempted to coerce any motor vehicle dealer to enter into any agreement with the licensee.
(7) The applicant or licensee has threatened to discontinue, cancel, or not to renew a franchise agreement of a licensed motor vehicle dealer, where the threatened discontinuation, cancellation, or nonrenewal, if implemented, would be in violation of any of the provisions of s. 320.641.
(8) The applicant or licensee discontinued, canceled, or failed to renew, a franchise agreement of a licensed motor vehicle dealer in violation of any of the provisions of s. 320.641.
(9) The applicant or licensee has threatened to modify or replace, or has modified or replaced, a franchise agreement with a succeeding franchise agreement which would adversely alter the rights or obligations of a motor vehicle dealer under an existing franchise agreement or which substantially impairs the sales, service obligations, or investment of the motor vehicle dealer.
(10) The applicant or licensee has attempted to enter, or has entered, into a franchise agreement with a motor vehicle dealer who does not, at the time of the franchise agreement, have proper facilities to provide the services to his or her purchasers of new motor vehicles which are covered by the new motor vehicle warranty issued by the applicant or licensee.
(11) The applicant or licensee has coerced a motor vehicle dealer to provide installment financing for the motor vehicle dealer’s purchasers with a specified financial institution.
(12) The applicant or licensee has advertised, printed, displayed, published, distributed, broadcast, or televised, or caused or permitted to be advertised, printed, displayed, published, distributed, broadcast, or televised, in any manner whatsoever, any statement or representation with regard to the sale or financing of motor vehicles which is false, deceptive, or misleading.
(13) The applicant or licensee has sold, exchanged, or rented a motorcycle which produces in excess of 5 brake horsepower, knowing the use thereof to be by, or intended for, the holder of a restricted Florida driver’s license.
(14) The applicant or licensee has engaged in previous conduct which would have been a ground for revocation or suspension of a license if the applicant or licensee had been licensed.
(15) The applicant or licensee, directly or indirectly, through the actions of any parent of the licensee, subsidiary of the licensee, or common entity causes a termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal of a franchise agreement by a present or previous distributor or importer unless, by the effective date of such action, the applicant or licensee offers the motor vehicle dealer whose franchise agreement is terminated, canceled, or not renewed a franchise agreement containing substantially the same provisions contained in the previous franchise agreement or files an affidavit with the department acknowledging its undertaking to assume and fulfill the rights, duties, and obligations of its predecessor distributor or importer under the terminated, canceled, or nonrenewed franchise agreement and the same is reinstated.
(16) Notwithstanding the terms of any franchise agreement, the applicant or licensee prevents or refuses to accept the succession to any interest in a franchise agreement by any legal heir or devisee under the will of a motor vehicle dealer or under the laws of descent and distribution of this state; provided, the applicant or licensee is not required to accept a succession where such heir or devisee does not meet licensee’s written, reasonable, and uniformly applied minimal standard qualifications for dealer applicants or which, after notice and administrative hearing pursuant to chapter 120, is demonstrated to be detrimental to the public interest or to the representation of the applicant or licensee. Nothing contained herein, however, shall prevent a motor vehicle dealer, during his or her lifetime, from designating any person as his or her successor in interest by written instrument filed with and accepted by the applicant or licensee. A licensee who rejects the successor transferee under this subsection shall have the burden of establishing in any proceeding where such rejection is in issue that the rejection of the successor transferee complies with this subsection.
(17) The applicant or licensee has included in any franchise agreement with a motor vehicle dealer terms or provisions that are contrary to, prohibited by, or otherwise inconsistent with the provisions contained in ss. 320.60-320.70, or has failed to include in such franchise agreement a provision conforming to the requirements of s. 320.63(3).
(18) The applicant or licensee has established a system of motor vehicle allocation or distribution or has implemented a system of allocation or distribution of motor vehicles to one or more of its franchised motor vehicle dealers which is unfair, inequitable, unreasonably discriminatory, or not supportable by reason and good cause after considering the equities of the affected motor vehicles dealer or dealers. An applicant or licensee shall maintain for 3 years records that describe its methods or formula of allocation and distribution of its motor vehicles and records of its actual allocation and distribution of motor vehicles to its motor vehicle dealers in this state.
(19) The applicant or licensee, without good and fair cause, has delayed, refused, or failed to provide a supply of motor vehicles by series in reasonable quantities, including the models publicly advertised by the applicant or licensee as being available, or has delayed, refused, or failed to deliver motor vehicle parts and accessories within a reasonable time after receipt of an order by a franchised dealer. However, this subsection is not violated if such failure is caused by acts or causes beyond the control of the applicant or licensee.
(20) The applicant or licensee has required, or threatened to require, a motor vehicle dealer to prospectively assent to a release, assignment, novation, waiver, or estoppel, which instrument or document operates, or is intended by the applicant or licensee to operate, to relieve any person from any liability or obligation under the provisions of ss. 320.60-320.70.
(21) The applicant or licensee has threatened or coerced a motor vehicle dealer toward conduct or action whereby the dealer would waive or forego its right to protest the establishment or relocation of a motor vehicle dealer in the community or territory serviced by the threatened or coerced dealer.
(22) The applicant or licensee has refused to deliver, in reasonable quantities and within a reasonable time, to any duly licensed motor vehicle dealer who has an agreement with such applicant or licensee for the retail sale of new motor vehicles and parts for motor vehicles sold or distributed by the applicant or licensee, any such motor vehicles or parts as are covered by such agreement. Such refusal includes the failure to offer to its same line-make franchised motor vehicle dealers all models manufactured for that line-make, or requiring a dealer to pay any extra fee, require a dealer to execute a separate franchise agreement, purchase unreasonable advertising displays or other materials, or remodel, renovate, or recondition the dealer’s existing facilities, or provide exclusive facilities as a prerequisite to receiving a model or series of vehicles. However, the failure to deliver any motor vehicle or part will not be considered a violation of this section if the failure is due to an act of God, work stoppage, or delay due to a strike or labor difficulty, a freight embargo, product shortage, or other cause over which the applicant or licensee has no control. An applicant or licensee may impose reasonable requirements on the motor vehicle dealer, other than the items listed above, including, but not limited to, the purchase of special tools required to properly service a motor vehicle and the undertaking of sales person or service person training related to the motor vehicle.
(23) The applicant or licensee has competed or is competing with respect to any activity covered by the franchise agreement with a motor vehicle dealer of the same line-make located in this state with whom the applicant or licensee has entered into a franchise agreement, except as permitted in s. 320.645.
(24) The applicant or licensee has sold a motor vehicle to any retail consumer in the state except through a motor vehicle dealer holding a franchise agreement for the line-make that includes the motor vehicle. This section does not apply to sales by the applicant or licensee of motor vehicles to its current employees, employees of companies affiliated by common ownership, charitable not-for-profit-organizations, and the federal government.
(25) The applicant or licensee has undertaken an audit of warranty payments or incentive payment previously paid to a motor vehicle dealer in violation of this section or has failed to comply with s. 320.696. An applicant or licensee may reasonably and periodically audit a motor vehicle dealer to determine the validity of paid claims. Audit of warranty payments shall only be for the 1-year period immediately following the date the claim was paid. Audit of incentive payments shall only be for an 18-month period immediately following the date the incentive was paid. An applicant or licensee shall not deny a claim or charge a motor vehicle dealer back subsequent to the payment of the claim unless the applicant or licensee can show that the claim was false or fraudulent or that the motor vehicle dealer failed to substantially comply with the reasonable written and uniformly applied procedures of the applicant or licensee for such repairs or incentives.
(26) Notwithstanding the terms of any franchise agreement, the applicant or licensee has refused to allocate, sell, or deliver motor vehicles; charged back or withheld payments or other things of value for which the dealer is otherwise eligible under a sales promotion, program, or contest; or prevented the motor vehicle dealer from participating in any promotion, program, or contest for selling a motor vehicle to a customer who was present at the dealership and the motor vehicle dealer did not know or should not have reasonably known that the vehicle would be shipped to a foreign country. There will be a rebuttable presumption that the dealer did not know or should not have reasonably known that the vehicle would be shipped to a foreign country if the vehicle is titled in one of the 50 United States.
(27) Notwithstanding the terms of any franchise agreement, the applicant or licensee has failed or refused to indemnify and hold harmless any motor vehicle dealer against any judgment for damages, or settlements agreed to by the applicant or licensee, including, without limitation, court costs and reasonable attorneys fees, arising out of complaints, claims, or lawsuits, including, without limitation, strict liability, negligence, misrepresentation, express or implied warranty, or revocation or rescission of acceptance of the sale of a motor vehicle, to the extent the judgment or settlement relates to the alleged negligent manufacture, design, or assembly of motor vehicles, parts, or accessories. Nothing herein shall obviate the licensee’s obligations pursuant to chapter 681.
(28) The applicant or licensee has published, disclosed, or otherwise made available in any form information provided by a motor vehicle dealer with respect to sales prices of motor vehicles or profit per motor vehicle sold. Other confidential financial information provided by motor vehicle dealers shall not be published, disclosed, or otherwise made publicly available except in composite form. However, this information may be disclosed with the written consent of the dealer or in response to a subpoena or order of the department, a court or a lawful tribunal, or introduced into evidence in such a proceeding, after timely notice to an affected dealer.
(29) The applicant or licensee has failed to reimburse a motor vehicle dealer in full for the reasonable cost of providing a loaner vehicle to any customer who is having a vehicle serviced at the motor vehicle dealer, if a loaner is required by the applicant or licensee, or a loaner is expressly part of an applicant or licensee’s customer satisfaction index or computation.
(30) The applicant or licensee has conducted or threatened to conduct any audit of a motor vehicle dealer in order to coerce or attempt to coerce the dealer to forego any rights granted to the dealer under ss. 320.60-320.70 or under the agreement between the licensee and the motor vehicle dealer. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an applicant or licensee from reasonably and periodically auditing a dealer to determine the validity of paid claims.
(31) From and after the effective date of enactment of this provision, the applicant or licensee has offered to any motor vehicle dealer a franchise agreement that:
(a) Requires that a motor vehicle dealer bring an administrative or legal action in a venue outside of this state;
(b) Requires that any arbitration, mediation, or other legal proceeding be conducted outside of this state; or
(c) Requires that a law of a state other than Florida be applied to any legal proceeding between a motor vehicle dealer and a licensee.
(32) Notwithstanding the terms of any franchise agreement, the applicant or licensee has rejected or withheld approval of any proposed transfer in violation of s. 320.643 or a proposed change of executive management in violation of s. 320.644.
(33) The applicant or licensee has attempted to sell or lease, or has sold or leased, used motor vehicles at retail of a line-make that is the subject of any franchise agreement with a motor vehicle dealer in this state, other than trucks with a net weight of more than 8,000 pounds.
(34) The applicant or licensee, after the effective date of this subsection, has included in any franchise agreement with a motor vehicle dealer a mandatory obligation or requirement of the motor vehicle dealer to purchase, sell, or lease, or offer for purchase, sale, or lease, any quantity of used motor vehicles.
(35) The applicant or licensee has refused to assign allocation earned by a motor vehicle dealer, or has refused to sell motor vehicles to a motor vehicle dealer, because the motor vehicle dealer has failed or refused to purchase, sell, lease, or certify a certain quantity of used motor vehicles prescribed by the licensee.
(36)(a) Notwithstanding the terms of any franchise agreement, in addition to any other statutory or contractual rights of recovery after the voluntary or involuntary termination of a franchise, failing to pay the motor vehicle dealer, within 90 days after the effective date of the termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal, the following amounts:
1. The net cost paid by the dealer for each new car or truck in the dealer’s inventory with mileage of 2,000 miles or less, or a motorcycle with mileage of 100 miles or less, exclusive of mileage placed on the vehicle before it was delivered to the dealer.
2. The current price charged for each new, unused, undamaged, or unsold part or accessory that:
a. Is in the current parts catalogue and is still in the original, resalable merchandising package and in an unbroken lot, except that sheet metal may be in a comparable substitute for the original package; and
b. Was purchased by the dealer directly from the manufacturer or distributor or from an outgoing authorized dealer as a part of the dealer’s initial inventory.
3. The fair market value of each undamaged sign owned by the dealer which bears a trademark or trade name used or claimed by the applicant or licensee or its representative which was purchased from or at the request of the applicant or licensee or its representative.
4. The fair market value of all special tools, data processing equipment, and automotive service equipment owned by the dealer which:
a. Were recommended in writing by the applicant or licensee or its representative and designated as special tools and equipment;
b. Were purchased from or at the request of the applicant or licensee or its representative; and
c. Are in usable and good condition except for reasonable wear and tear.
5. The cost of transporting, handling, packing, storing, and loading any property subject to repurchase under this section.
(b) This subsection does not apply to a termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal that is implemented as a result of the sale of the assets or stock of the dealer. The dealer shall return the property listed in this subsection to the licensee within 90 days after the effective date of the termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal. The licensee shall supply the dealer with reasonable instructions regarding the method by which the dealer must return the property. The compensation for the property shall be paid by the licensee within 60 days after the tender of inventory and other items, if the dealer has clear title to the inventory and other items and is in a position to convey that title to the manufacturer or distributor. If the inventory or other items are subject to a security interest, the licensee may make payment jointly to the dealer and the holder of the security interest.
A motor vehicle dealer who can demonstrate that a violation of, or failure to comply with, any of the preceding provisions by an applicant or licensee will or can adversely and pecuniarily affect the complaining dealer, shall be entitled to pursue all of the remedies, procedures, and rights of recovery available under ss. 320.695 and 320.697.
History.–s. 5, ch. 20236, 1941; s. 4, ch. 59-351; s. 9, ch. 70-424; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 16, 17, ch. 80-217; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 1, ch. 83-105; s. 5, ch. 84-69; s. 15, ch. 87-161; ss. 8, 20, 21, ch. 88-395; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 371, ch. 95-148; s. 21, ch. 2001-196; s. 45, ch. 2002-1; s. 2, ch. 2003-269; s. 3, ch. 2006-183.
320.6403 Distributor agreements; obligations of manufacturer and importer.–Notwithstanding the terms of any agreement to the contrary, no manufacturer or importer subject to the jurisdiction of this state shall:
(1) Prevent or refuse to accept the succession to any interest in any distributor’s agreement with the manufacturer or importer by any legal heir, beneficiary, devisee, or distributee who has duly established his or her right to the decedent’s interest in any distribution agreement; provided, the manufacturer or importer is not required to accept a succession which is demonstrated to be significantly detrimental to the public interest or to the interest of the manufacturer or importer.
(2) Refuse to honor any duly qualified designated successor to a distributor’s agreement with the manufacturer or importer, who has been designated as such by the distributor during his or her lifetime and accepted in writing by the manufacturer or importer. Any such designation shall be binding upon the heirs, successors, assigns, and personal and legal representatives of the distributor, unless expressly revoked in writing, executed, and delivered by the distributor to the manufacturer or importer prior to his or her death.
A manufacturer or importer who rejects a successor transferee under this section shall have the burden of establishing in any proceeding where such rejection is in issue that the rejection of the successor transferee was reasonable.
History.–ss. 9, 22, ch. 88-395; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 372, ch. 95-148.