507.01 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Accessorial services” means any service performed by a mover which results in a charge to the shipper and is incidental to the transportation or shipment of household goods, including, but not limited to, valuation coverage; preparation of written inventory; equipment, including dollies, hand trucks, pads, blankets, and straps; storage, packing, unpacking, or crating of articles; hoisting or lowering; waiting time; carrying articles excessive distances to or from the mover’s vehicle, which may be cited as “long carry”; overtime loading and unloading; reweighing; disassembly or reassembly; elevator or stair carrying; boxing or servicing of appliances; and furnishing of packing or crating materials. The term includes services not performed by the mover but performed by a third party at the request of the shipper or mover, if the charges for these services are to be paid to the mover by the shipper at or before the time of delivery.
(2) “Advertise” means to advise, announce, give notice of, publish, or call attention by use of oral, written, or graphic statement made in a newspaper or other publication or on radio or television, any electronic medium, or contained in any notice, handbill, sign, including signage on vehicle, flyer, catalog or letter, or printed on or contained in any tag or label attached to or accompanying any good.
(3) “Compensation” means money, fee, emolument, quid pro quo, barter, remuneration, pay, reward, indemnification, or satisfaction.
(4) “Contract for service” or “bill of lading” means a written document approved by the shipper in writing before the performance of any service which authorizes services from the named mover and lists the services and all costs associated with the household move and accessorial services to be performed.
(5) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(6) “Estimate” means a written document that sets forth the total costs and describes the basis of those costs, relating to a shipper’s household move, including, but not limited to, the loading, transportation or shipment, and unloading of household goods and accessorial services.
(7) “Household goods” or “goods” means personal effects or other personal property commonly found in a home, personal residence, or other dwelling, including, but not limited to, household furniture. The term does not include freight or personal property moving to or from a factory, store, or other place of business.
(8) “Household move” or “move” means the loading of household goods into a vehicle, moving container, or other mode of transportation or shipment; the transportation or shipment of those household goods; and the unloading of those household goods, when the transportation or shipment originates and terminates at one of the following ultimate locations, regardless of whether the mover temporarily stores the goods while en route between the originating and terminating locations:
(a) From one dwelling to another dwelling;
(b) From a dwelling to a storehouse or warehouse that is owned or rented by the shipper or the shipper’s agent; or
(c) From a storehouse or warehouse that is owned or rented by the shipper or the shipper’s agent to a dwelling.
(9) “Mover” means a person who, for compensation, contracts for or engages in the loading, transportation or shipment, or unloading of household goods as part of a household move. The term does not include a postal, courier, envelope, or package service that does not advertise itself as a mover or moving service.
(10) “Moving broker” or “broker” means a person who, for compensation, arranges for another person to load, transport or ship, or unload household goods as part of a household move or who, for compensation, refers a shipper to a mover by telephone, postal or electronic mail, Internet website, or other means.
(11) “Moving container” means a receptacle holding at least 200 cubic feet of volume which is used to transport or ship household goods as part of a household move.
(12) “Shipper” means a person who uses the services of a mover to transport or ship household goods as part of a household move.
(13) “Storage” means the temporary warehousing of a shipper’s goods while under the care, custody, and control of the mover.
History.—s. 1, ch. 2002-53; s. 3, ch. 2006-4; s. 1, ch. 2011-121.
507.02 Construction; intent; application.—
(1) This chapter shall be construed liberally to:
(a) Establish the law of this state governing the loading, transportation or shipment, unloading, and affiliated storage of household goods as part of household moves.
(b) Address household moving practices in this state in a manner that is not inconsistent with federal law governing consumer protection.
(2) This chapter applies to the operations of any mover or moving broker engaged in the intrastate transportation or shipment of household goods originating in this state and terminating in this state. This chapter does not apply to shipments contracted by the United States, the state, or any local government or political subdivision of the state.
(3) This chapter is intended to secure the satisfaction and confidence of shippers and members of the public when using a mover.
(4) This chapter does not supersede the authority or jurisdiction of any federal agency for goods or services regulated or controlled under other provisions of law.
History.—s. 2, ch. 2002-53; s. 4, ch. 2006-4.
(1) Each mover and moving broker must register with the department, providing its legal business and trade name, mailing address, and business locations; the full names, addresses, and telephone numbers of its owners or corporate officers and directors and the Florida agent of the corporation; a statement whether it is a domestic or foreign corporation, its state and date of incorporation, its charter number, and, if a foreign corporation, the date it registered with the Department of State; the date on which the mover or broker registered its fictitious name if the mover or broker is operating under a fictitious or trade name; the name of all other corporations, business entities, and trade names through which each owner of the mover or broker operated, was known, or did business as a mover or moving broker within the preceding 5 years; and proof of the insurance or alternative coverages required under s. 507.04.
(2) A certificate evidencing proof of registration shall be issued by the department and must be prominently displayed in the mover’s or broker’s primary place of business.
(3) Registration fees shall be calculated at the rate of $300 per year per mover or moving broker. All amounts collected shall be deposited by the Chief Financial Officer to the credit of the General Inspection Trust Fund of the department for the sole purpose of administration of this chapter.
(4) A registration must be renewed biennially on or before its expiration date. In order to establish staggered expiration dates, the department may extend the expiration date of a registration for a period not to exceed 12 months.
(5) Each contract of a mover or moving broker must include the phrase “ (NAME OF FIRM) is registered with the State of Florida as a Mover or Moving Broker. Registration No. .”
(6) Each advertisement of a mover or moving broker must include the phrase “Fla. Mover Reg. No. ” or “Fla. IM No. .” Each of the mover’s vehicles must clearly and conspicuously display a sign on the driver’s side door which includes at least one of these phrases in lettering of at least 1.5 inches in height.
(7) A registration is not valid for any mover or broker transacting business at any place other than that designated in the mover’s or broker’s application, unless the department is first notified in writing before any change of location. A registration issued under this chapter is not assignable, and the mover or broker may not conduct business under more than one name except as registered. A mover or broker desiring to change its registered name or location or designated agent for service of process at a time other than upon renewal of registration must notify the department of the change.
(8) The department may deny, refuse to renew, or revoke the registration of any mover or moving broker based upon a determination that the mover or moving broker, or any of the mover’s or moving broker’s directors, officers, owners, or general partners:
(a) Has failed to meet the requirements for registration as provided in this chapter;
(b) Has been convicted of a crime involving fraud, dishonest dealing, or any other act of moral turpitude;
(c) Has not satisfied a civil fine or penalty arising out of any administrative or enforcement action brought by any governmental agency or private person based upon conduct involving fraud, dishonest dealing, or any violation of this chapter;
(d) Has pending against him or her any criminal, administrative, or enforcement proceedings in any jurisdiction, based upon conduct involving fraud, dishonest dealing, or any other act of moral turpitude; or
(e) Has had a judgment entered against him or her in any action brought by the department or the Department of Legal Affairs under this chapter or ss. 501.201-501.213, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
(9) Each mover and moving broker shall provide evidence of the current and valid insurance or alternative coverages required under s. 507.04.
History.—s. 3, ch. 2002-53; s. 12, ch. 2003-132; s. 566, ch. 2003-261; s. 5, ch. 2006-4; s. 2, ch. 2011-121.
(a)1. Except as provided in paragraph (b), each mover operating in this state must maintain current and valid liability insurance coverage of at least $10,000 per shipment for the loss or damage of household goods resulting from the negligence of the mover or its employees or agents.
2. The mover must provide the department with evidence of liability insurance coverage before the mover is registered with the department under s. 507.03. All insurance coverage maintained by a mover must remain in effect throughout the mover’s registration period. A mover’s failure to maintain insurance coverage in accordance with this paragraph constitutes an immediate threat to the public health, safety, and welfare. If a mover fails to maintain insurance coverage, the department may immediately suspend the mover’s registration or eligibility for registration, and the mover must immediately cease operating as a mover in this state. In addition, and notwithstanding the availability of any administrative relief pursuant to chapter 120, the department may seek from the appropriate circuit court an immediate injunction prohibiting the mover from operating in this state until the mover complies with this paragraph, a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000, and court costs.
(b) A mover that operates two or fewer vehicles, in lieu of maintaining the liability insurance coverage required under paragraph (a), may, and each moving broker must, maintain one of the following alternative coverages:
1. A performance bond in the amount of $25,000, for which the surety of the bond must be a surety company authorized to conduct business in this state; or
2. A certificate of deposit in a Florida banking institution in the amount of $25,000.
The original bond or certificate of deposit must be filed with the department and must designate the department as the sole beneficiary. The department must use the bond or certificate of deposit exclusively for the payment of claims to consumers who are injured by the fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, misfeasance, malfeasance, or financial failure of the mover or moving broker or by a violation of this chapter by the mover or broker. Liability for these injuries may be determined in an administrative proceeding of the department or through a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction. However, claims against the bond or certificate of deposit must only be paid, in amounts not to exceed the determined liability for these injuries, by order of the department in an administrative proceeding. The bond or certificate of deposit is subject to successive claims, but the aggregate amount of these claims may not exceed the amount of the bond or certificate of deposit.
(2) MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE.—Each mover operating in this state must maintain current and valid motor vehicle insurance coverage, including combined bodily injury and property damage liability coverage in the following minimum amounts:
(a) Fifty thousand dollars per occurrence for a commercial motor vehicle with a gross weight of less than 35,000 pounds.
(b) One hundred thousand dollars per occurrence for a commercial motor vehicle with a gross weight of 35,000 pounds or more, but less than 44,000 pounds.
(c) Three hundred thousand dollars per occurrence for a commercial motor vehicle with a gross weight of 44,000 pounds or more.
(3) INSURANCE COVERAGES.—The insurance coverages required under paragraph (1)(a) and subsection (2) must be issued by an insurance company or carrier licensed to transact business in this state under the Florida Insurance Code as designated in s. 624.01. The department shall require a mover to present a certificate of insurance of the required coverages before issuance or renewal of a registration certificate under s. 507.03. The department shall be named as a certificateholder in the certificate and must be notified at least 10 days before cancellation of insurance coverage.
(4) LIABILITY LIMITATIONS; VALUATION RATES.—A mover may not limit its liability for the loss or damage of household goods to a valuation rate that is less than 60 cents per pound per article. A provision of a contract for moving services is void if the provision limits a mover’s liability to a valuation rate that is less than the minimum rate under this subsection. If a mover limits its liability for a shipper’s goods, the mover must disclose the limitation, including the valuation rate, to the shipper in writing at the time that the estimate and contract for services are executed and before any moving or accessorial services are provided. The disclosure must also inform the shipper of the opportunity to purchase valuation coverage if the mover offers that coverage under subsection (5).
(5) VALUATION COVERAGE.—A mover may offer valuation coverage to compensate a shipper for the loss or damage of the shipper’s household goods that are lost or damaged during a household move. If a mover offers valuation coverage, the coverage must indemnify the shipper for at least the minimum valuation rate required under subsection (4). The mover must disclose the terms of the coverage to the shipper in writing at the time that the estimate and contract for services are executed and before any moving or accessorial services are provided. The disclosure must inform the shipper of the cost of the valuation coverage, the valuation rate of the coverage, and the opportunity to reject the coverage. If valuation coverage compensates a shipper for at least the minimum valuation rate required under subsection (4), the coverage satisfies the mover’s liability for the minimum valuation rate.
History.—s. 4, ch. 2002-53; s. 13, ch. 2003-132; s. 6, ch. 2006-4; s. 25, ch. 2012-67.
507.05 Estimates and contracts for service.—Before providing any moving or accessorial services, a contract and estimate must be provided to a prospective shipper in writing, must be signed and dated by the shipper and the mover, and must include:
(1) The name, telephone number, and physical address where the mover’s employees are available during normal business hours.
(2) The date the contract or estimate is prepared and any proposed date of the move.
(3) The name and address of the shipper, the addresses where the articles are to be picked up and delivered, and a telephone number where the shipper may be reached.
(4) The name, telephone number, and physical address of any location where the goods will be held pending further transportation, including situations where the mover retains possession of goods pending resolution of a fee dispute with the shipper.
(5) An itemized breakdown and description and total of all costs and services for loading, transportation or shipment, unloading, and accessorial services to be provided during a household move or storage of household goods.
(6) Acceptable forms of payment. A mover shall accept a minimum of two of the three following forms of payment:
(a) Cash, cashier’s check, money order, or traveler’s check;
(b) Valid personal check, showing upon its face the name and address of the shipper or authorized representative; or
(c) Valid credit card, which shall include, but not be limited to, Visa or MasterCard.
A mover must clearly and conspicuously disclose to the shipper in the estimate and contract for services the forms of payments the mover will accept, including the forms of payment described in paragraphs (a)-(c).
History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-53; s. 64, ch. 2003-1; s. 7, ch. 2006-4.
507.06 Delivery and storage of household goods.—
(1) A mover must relinquish household goods to a shipper and must place the goods inside a shipper’s dwelling or, if directed by the shipper, inside a storehouse or warehouse that is owned or rented by the shipper or the shipper’s agent, unless the shipper has not tendered payment in the amount specified in a written contract or estimate signed and dated by the shipper. A mover may not refuse to relinquish prescription medicines and goods for use by children, including children’s furniture, clothing, or toys, under any circumstances.
(2) A mover may not refuse to relinquish household goods to a shipper or fail to place the goods inside a shipper’s dwelling or, if directed by the shipper, inside a storehouse or warehouse that is owned or rented by the shipper or the shipper’s agent, based on the mover’s refusal to accept an acceptable form of payment.
(3) A mover that lawfully fails to relinquish a shipper’s household goods may place the goods in storage until payment is tendered; however, the mover must notify the shipper of the location where the goods are stored and the amount due within 5 days after receipt of a written request for that information from the shipper, which request must include the address where the shipper may receive the notice. A mover may not require a prospective shipper to waive any rights or requirements under this section.
History.—s. 6, ch. 2002-53; s. 8, ch. 2006-4.
507.07 Violations.—It is a violation of this chapter to:
(1) Conduct business as a mover or moving broker, or advertise to engage in the business of moving or offering to move, without being registered with the department.
(2) Knowingly make any false statement, representation, or certification in any application, document, or record required to be submitted or retained under this chapter.
(3) Misrepresent or deceptively represent:
(a) The contract for services, bill of lading, or inventory of household goods for the move estimated.
(b) The timeframe or schedule for delivery or storage of household goods estimated.
(c) The price, size, nature, extent, qualities, or characteristics of accessorial or moving services offered.
(d) The nature or extent of other goods, services, or amenities offered.
(e) A shipper’s rights, privileges, or benefits.
(4) Fail to honor and comply with all provisions of the contract for services or bill of lading regarding the purchaser’s rights, benefits, and privileges thereunder.
(5) Withhold delivery of household goods or in any way hold goods in storage against the expressed wishes of the shipper if payment has been made as delineated in the estimate or contract for services.
(6)(a) Include in any contract any provision purporting to waive or limit any right or benefit provided to shippers under this chapter.
(b) Seek or solicit a waiver or acceptance of limitation from a shipper concerning rights or benefits provided under this chapter.
(c) Use a local mailing address, registration facility, drop box, or answering service in the promotion, advertising, solicitation, or sale of contracts, unless the mover’s, and, if applicable, the moving broker’s, fixed business address is clearly disclosed during any telephone solicitation and is prominently and conspicuously disclosed on all solicitation materials and on the contract.
(d) Commit any other act of fraud, misrepresentation, or failure to disclose a material fact.
(e) Refuse or fail, or for any of the mover’s or broker’s principal officers to refuse or fail, after notice, to produce any document or record or disclose any information required to be produced or disclosed.
(f) Knowingly make a false statement in response to any request or investigation by the department, the Department of Legal Affairs, or the state attorney.
History.—s. 7, ch. 2002-53; s. 9, ch. 2006-4; s. 3, ch. 2011-121.
507.08 Deceptive and unfair trade practice.—Acts, conduct, practices, omissions, failings, misrepresentations, or nondisclosures committed in violation of this chapter are deceptive and unfair trade practices under ss. 501.201-501.213, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and administrative rules adopted in accordance with the act.
History.—s. 8, ch. 2002-53; s. 10, ch. 2006-4.
507.09 Administrative remedies; penalties.—
(1) The department may enter an order doing one or more of the following if the department finds that a mover or moving broker, or a person employed or contracted by a mover or broker, has violated or is operating in violation of this chapter or the rules or orders issued in accordance with this chapter:
(a) Issuing a notice of noncompliance under s. 120.695.
(b) Imposing an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 for each act or omission.
(c) Directing that the person cease and desist specified activities.
(d) Refusing to register or revoking or suspending a registration.
(e) Placing the registrant on probation for a period of time, subject to the conditions specified by the department.
(2) The administrative proceedings which could result in the entry of an order imposing any of the penalties specified in subsection (1) are governed by chapter 120.
(3) The department may adopt rules under ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this chapter.
History.—s. 9, ch. 2002-53; s. 11, ch. 2006-4.
507.10 Civil penalties; remedies.—
(1) The department may institute a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover any penalties or damages authorized in this chapter and for injunctive relief to enforce compliance with this chapter.
(2) The department may seek a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation of this chapter.
(3) The department may seek restitution for and on behalf of any shipper aggrieved or injured by a violation of this chapter.
(4) Any provision in a contract for services or bill of lading from a mover or moving broker that purports to waive, limit, restrict, or avoid any of the duties, obligations, or prescriptions of the mover or broker, as provided in this chapter, is void.
(5) The remedies provided in this chapter are in addition to any other remedies available for the same conduct, including those provided in local ordinances.
(6) Upon motion of the department in any action brought under this chapter, the court may make appropriate orders, including appointment of a master or receiver or sequestration of assets, to reimburse shippers found to have been damaged, to carry out a consumer transaction in accordance with the shipper’s reasonable expectations, or to grant other appropriate relief.
History.—s. 10, ch. 2002-53; s. 12, ch. 2006-4.
507.11 Criminal penalties.—
(1) The refusal of a mover or a mover’s employee, agent, or contractor to comply with an order from a law enforcement officer to relinquish a shipper’s household goods after the officer determines that the shipper has tendered payment of the amount of a written estimate or contract, or after the officer determines that the mover did not produce a signed estimate or contract upon which demand is being made for payment, is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. A mover’s compliance with an order from a law enforcement officer to relinquish goods to a shipper is not a waiver or finding of fact regarding any right to seek further payment from the shipper.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (1), any person or business that violates this chapter commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—s. 11, ch. 2002-53; s. 13, ch. 2006-4.
507.12 General Inspection Trust Fund; payments.—Any moneys recovered by the department as a penalty under this chapter shall be deposited in the General Inspection Trust Fund.
History.—s. 12, ch. 2002-53; s. 14, ch. 2006-4.
507.13 Local regulation.—
(1)(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c), this chapter preempts a local ordinance or regulation of a county or municipality which regulates transactions relating to movers of household goods or moving brokers.
(b) This chapter does not preempt an ordinance or regulation originally enacted by a county before January 1, 2011, or a subsequent amendment to such an ordinance or regulation. However, registration fees required by such an ordinance or regulation must be reasonable and may not exceed the cost of administering the ordinance or regulation. In addition, registration and bonding may be required only of a mover or moving broker whose principal place of business is located within that county’s jurisdiction.
(c) This section does not preempt a local government’s authority to levy a local business tax pursuant to chapter 205.
(2) The department may enter into a cooperative agreement with any county or municipality which provides for the referral, investigation, and prosecution of consumer complaints alleging violations of this chapter.
History.—s. 13, ch. 2002-53; s. 15, ch. 2006-4; s. 4, ch. 2011-121.