Posted on 18 April 2013
The Florida legislature is poised to enact legislation (SB 292) that would make it significantly harder for consumers to enforce their rights if they’ve been victimized by fraudulent car dealers. As a Florida consumer protection lawyer, I frequently see how car dealers rip off consumers: rolling back odometers, selling rebuilt wrecks without disclosure, selling defective vehicles, lemon law violations, financing frauds, sale price mark-ups, selling unnecessary products in a practice known as payment packing, increasing interest rates, etc.
Despite the almost boundless creativity of some car dealers in victimizing Florida consumers, they have convinced their loyal politicians that consumers have too many rights. Their proposed solution is to force consumers to deal with a convoluted procedure requiring detailed specifications and accounting before they can sue a dealer who has engaged in illegal and deceptive practices. That’s right – they believe the victimized consumer needs more red tape. And, even if the car dealer knows they cheated the consumer, they can simply wait 30 days before doing anything about it. Imagine how your family or your boss would feel if you told them you have no transportation for 30 days.
Under the proposed legislation, not only would a consumer have to itemize every single problem with the car or its financing, but they would also have to specify exactly how much “damages” they have suffered as a result of the dealer’s violation of the law. If the consumer gets this wrong, they risk not being able to recover their attorney fees even if they prove that the dealer broke the law – or even if the dealer later admits to having engaged in fraud! If a cheated consumer cannot recover their attorney fees – which a court has to conclude are reasonable – many consumers will be unable to find attorneys willing to represent them; this is exactly what the dishonest car dealers are trying to accomplish. Essentially, this gives shady car dealers a “get out of jail, free” card – courtesy of the Tallahassee politicians.
These are only some of the reasons that consumer advocates, including me, have roundly criticized this bill and travelled to Tallahassee to express our concerns. Click here to read a news story about those concerns. I am also including below the text from my submission to the local newspaper about this bill.
Bills Hurt Consumers Ripped Off by Car Dealers
The Florida Legislature is considering bills that would sacrifice important consumer rights for those ripped off by dishonest car dealers. As an attorney, I have witnessed first-hand how deceptive practices by some car dealers can ruin a family financially and emotionally. Senate Bill 292 and House Bill 55 essentially give those dealers a “get out of jail free” card! They allow the dealer to wait 30 days before making things right; during that time, consumers left without a car can lose their job. The bills do this by adding confusing layers of red tape before a consumer can sue for deceptive and unfair practices, far beyond what is now required under the Lemon Law. The current law already allows severe penalties for frivolous lawsuits. Under the new proposals, if the consumer doesn’t document everything just right, they can still lose. For example, even if a court agrees that a dealer engaged in illegal conduct, the consumer may not be able to recover their attorney fees. This is despite the fact that the intent of the current law is for the wrongdoer to pay the consumers they have victimized. The present Florida law is already one of the worst in the nation from a consumer standpoint: we should be fixing it to better protect Florida consumers, not making it worse!
Posted on 29 March 2012
Our clients purchased a used car from Louis Ferris at the Port Orange Sales, LLC dealership in Port Orange, Florida. Later, Port Orange Sales had the vehicle repossessed. Our clients retained us shortly afterward, and we immediately started working on their behalf. We discovered numerous irregularities with the dealership, the vehicle financing documents, and the repo; these included violations of both state and federal laws. Using our knowledge of auto sales, auto fraud and auto financing, we were able to apply those laws to obtain justice for our clients, including the return of their vehicle.
If you are experiencing problems with a vehicle you purchased, or with its financing, contact us to preserve your rights. If you have also purchased a vehicle from Port Orange Sales, LLC or any other “buy here, pay here” used car dealer, and are experiencing similar issues, we may be able to help you obtain justice too.
Posted on 27 March 2012
Equable Ascent Financial, LLC hired the law firm of Hayt, Hayt and Landau, P.L. from Miami, Florida to sue our client here in Central Florida for an alleged credit card debt. Attorneys Robert Orovitz, Dana Stern and Jason Dragutsky represented Equable Ascent Financial, and brought claims for Money Lent and Unjust Enrichment.
Upon being retained by our client, we filed our Notice of Appearance and other necessary legal documentation. As a result of our efforts, the case against our client was permanently dismissed, without our client paying anything to Equable Ascent Financial. If you have been sued by Equable Ascent Financial or any other debt buyer, please send us an email or call us for a free consultation before you lose important rights.
Posted on 25 January 2011
Our client was sued by Target National Bank in County Court here in Central Florida for an alleged credit card debt. As an experienced Florida credit card lawyer, I vigorously represented our client in defending this debt collection lawsuit. On behalf of my client, I asserted numerous affirmative defenses to Target’s lawsuit. I then challenged Target National Bank to produce the required documentation that the debt was valid and owed to them. After they failed to comply with their obligations under Florida law, including the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, I filed the appropriate motions in the County Court.
Rather than produce the documents and information as required by the Court, Target National Bank instead dismissed their lawsuit without our client having to pay anything on the alleged debt. Target was represented by Zakheim & Associates out of Plantation, Florida, including attorneys Richard Battaglino, Sasha Haro, Kimberlee Otis and Arturo Arca.
If you are looking for help from a Florida debt lawyer or need help with a Florida debt collection lawsuit filed against you, we would be honored if you were to call us toll-free at 1-888-834-5297 for a free evaluation of your rights (and the debt collector’s responsibilities) in the lawsuit against you. Or, if it’s easier for you, please click here to contact us directly through the internet using a very brief form. Please don’t wait until a judgment has been entered against you, as you may lose important rights. Call us today!
Posted on 06 January 2011
The Rudnitsky Law Firm is pleased to announce that Taras Rudnitsky was recently honored by the Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida (LACCF) for his contributions to protecting the rights of Florida consumers. The Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Taras on December 21, 2010 “in recognition of your time and dedication in pursuing justice for all by providing free legal assistance” to clients of the Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida (LACCF). Taras’s primary contributions focused on representing consumers sued in credit card lawsuits and defending various other debt collection lawsuits, and in helping develop the consumer protection expertise of other attorneys of LACCF.
This continues Taras Rudnitsky’s contributions to the community. He is passionate about seeking justice for consumers, particularly those who have been victimized by corporations, banks, insurance companies and debt collectors. Taras’s contributions to his community have also previously been recognized by the Florida Supreme Court and the Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society.