Dealer-related Information in Florida
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If you're going to become a dealer, you'll need to know all of your responsibilities that go with the job. One valuable resource, offered for free by the Florida Division of Motor Vehicles, is the Florida Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home, and Recreational Vehicle Dealers' Handbook. It can guide you through all the complex procedures and requirements related to being a dealer in Florida.
The licensing process itself can be quite complicated and requires a large dose of personal fortitude. Find out more on our Dealer Licensing Requirements page.
Consumer Complaints and DMV Investigation
Over the years, a number of shady vehicle dealers have created an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion on the part of many consumers. One sticky subject that every dealer wishes to avoid is handling consumer complaints, but sooner or later it may happen to you. And needless to say, it's best to know your rights and responsibilities up front.
The Florida Division of Motor Vehicles carries out field work and investigations into each consumer complaint. The department's objectives are three-fold:
- Resolve each complaint
- Educate and gain the dealer's cooperation so DMV violations don't recur
- Impose legal sanctions on dealers who do not cooperate
According to the Florida Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home, and Recreational Vehicle Dealers' Handbook, the following are some examples of dealer violations that have resulted in administrative action:
- Dealer convicted of a felony
- Failure to transfer titles
- Failure to disclose the rebuilt status of a vehicle
- Falsifying title application documents
- Selling a used car as a new car
- False advertising
- Misuse of dealer license plates
- Failure to honor written contracts
- odometer tampering
- Selling a vehicle from which a VIN plate has been removed
- Overcharging title and registration fees
Keeping copies of all of your transactions will be a crucial part in maintaining your dealership's good name and proof of compliance with all regulations. See the dealer's handbook for more information about hearings and arbitration.
Also, be aware that if a consumer thinks you've sold him or her a lemon, they may take steps to seek reparation under Florida's lemon law.
Dealer License Plates
Dealers are issued special license plates to display on vehicles that are used in connection with the dealership, being demonstrated, in transit to or from a dealer, loaned free of charge to customers, and owned by the dealer as inventory.
Florida dealer license plates may not be used by the dealer or family members as a way to avoid registration, or for private use when the vehicle is not being used for dealership business.
Misuse of dealer plates can result in severe penalties to a dealer.