Florida Regulators Potentially Secures More Than $1 Million For Consumers (FDUTPA Violation)
On July 5th, 2022, the Office of Attorney General Ashley Moody announced enforcement action against Bruno LLC. The HVAC contractor operated as Bruno Total Home Performance and Bruno Air Conditioning in Florida. Owned by Louis Bruno, the company has its main offices in Naples and Bonita Springs. According to the allegations, the company used “aggressive and deceptive sales practices” to take advantage of consumers. More than $1 million in relief has potentially been secured for affected parties. Here, our Miami deceptive and unfair trade practices attorney provides a more detailed overview of the enforcement action and explains your rights if you were defrauded by a contractor in Florida.
HVAC Contractor Fraud: The Use of Aggressive and Deceptive Sales Practices
Bruno LLC was cited for employing aggressive and outright deceptive sales practices as part of its HVAC business. Specifically, the company allegedly misled consumers by upselling them expensive and wholly unnecessary HVAC systems. Additionally, the company used financing agreements with terms that were misleading and exploitative. Some of the agreements pushed vulnerable people into default and allowed the company to obtain a lien against the property. As part of the civil enforcement action, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody states that:
- Bruno LLC will no longer be able to offer HVAC services in Florida;
- Louis Bruno will be barred from the HVAC business in Florida; and
- Significant financial compensation has been recovered on behalf of affected consumers.
To start, Bruno LLC will pay $100,000 in monetary relief to consumers that have sustained damages due to the unfair and deceptive commercial practices. Additionally, another $1.3 million in outstanding payments that is “owed” to the company under the deceptive HVAC contracts will be wiped out. The debt is no longer recoverable. Another $100,000 of property liens will be released immediately.
Defrauded By a Contractor in Florida? You Can Sue for Damages Under the FDUTPA
The reality is that state regulators do not have the resources to take action in every contractor fraud case. The good news is that consumers and businesses have the right to file a private lawsuit under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). If you sustained actual financial damage due to material misrepresentations, material omissions, or other deceptive conduct by a contractor, you have a right to file a lawsuit under the FDUTPA to seek compensation for the complete extent of your losses. Establishing liability in a deceptive and unfair trade practices claim requires proving that the defendant’s deceptive or unfair conduct caused consumer/business harm.
Set Up a Completely Confidential Consultation With a FDUTPA Lawyer in South Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida FDUTPA attorneys are always attentive to client needs. We are focused on helping individuals and businesses find the solution that works best for their specific situation. Call us now to arrange a confidential initial appointment with a lawyer. From our Miami Office, West Palm Beach office, and Wellington office, we handle FDUTPA cases throughout Southeastern Florida.