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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XLVI
Chapter 817
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F.S. 817.416
817.416 Franchises and distributorships; misrepresentations.
(1) DEFINITIONS.For the purpose of this section:
(a) The term “person” means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other entity doing business in Florida.
(b) The term “franchise or distributorship” means a contract or agreement, either expressed or implied, whether oral or written, between two or more persons:
1. Wherein a commercial relationship of definite duration or continuing indefinite duration is involved;
2. Wherein one party, hereinafter called the “franchisee,” is granted the right to offer, sell, and distribute goods or services manufactured, processed, distributed or, in the case of services, organized and directed by another party;
3. Wherein the franchisee as an independent business constitutes a component of franchisor’s distribution system; and
4. Wherein the operation of the franchisee’s business franchise is substantially reliant on franchisors for the basic supply of goods.
(c) The term “goods” means any article or thing without limitation, or any part of such article or thing, including any article or thing used or consumed by a franchisee in rendering a service established, organized, directed, or approved by a franchisor.
(a) It is unlawful, when selling or establishing a franchise or distributorship, for any person:
1. Intentionally to misrepresent the prospects or chances for success of a proposed or existing franchise or distributorship;
2. Intentionally to misrepresent, by failure to disclose or otherwise, the known required total investment for such franchise or distributorship; or
3. Intentionally to misrepresent or fail to disclose efforts to sell or establish more franchises or distributorships than is reasonable to expect the market or market area for the particular franchise or distributorship to sustain.
(b) The execution or carrying out of a scheme, plan, or corporate organization which violates any of the provisions of this section, if knowledge or intent be proved, shall be a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in ss. 775.082 and 775.083.
(3) CIVIL PROVISIONS.Any person, who shows in a civil court of law a violation of this section may receive a judgment for all moneys invested in such franchise or distributorship. Upon such a showing, the court may award any person bringing said action reasonable attorney’s fees and shall award such person reasonable costs incurred in bringing the action, and execution shall thereupon issue.
(4) INJUNCTIONS.The Department of Legal Affairs, or the Department of Legal Affairs and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services jointly, may sue in behalf of the people of this state for injunctive relief against franchise or distributorship plans or activities in violation of paragraph (2)(a). 1, 2, 2A, 3, 4, ch. 71-61.