Florida Senate - 2020                              CS for SB 498
       By the Committee on Commerce and Tourism; and Senator Baxley
       577-02021-20                                           2020498c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to consumer protection; creating s.
    3         501.0195, F.S.; providing legislative findings and
    4         intent; defining the term “unlicensed vendor”;
    5         requiring an unlicensed vendor to take certain actions
    6         within a specified timeframe after receiving payment;
    7         providing an exception; providing that the unlicensed
    8         vendor has the burden to prove just cause; providing
    9         criminal penalties; amending s. 501.022, F.S.;
   10         removing an exemption from permitting requirements for
   11         certain solicitors, salespersons, and agents;
   12         providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Section 501.0195, Florida Statutes, is created
   17  to read:
   18         501.0195 Home repairs by unlicensed vendors.—
   19         (1)The Legislature finds that vigorous enforcement of
   20  residential contracting laws is necessary to protect residents,
   21  consumers, and this state’s economy, and therefore, the
   22  Legislature intends that this section be strictly construed and
   23  enforced.
   24         (2)For the purposes of this section, the term “unlicensed
   25  vendor” means a person who:
   26         (a)Provides or promises to provide services related to a
   27  residential home or the extended parcel of land on which the
   28  home is located, including, but not limited to, driveways,
   29  lawns, trees, gardens, landscaping areas, walls, fences, or
   30  other vegetation or fixtures located thereon; and
   31         (b)Is not deemed a “contractor” under s. 489.105(3).
   32         (3)(a)An unlicensed vendor who receives an initial payment
   33  of any amount must do all of the following unless the unlicensed
   34  vendor has just cause or has agreed, in writing, with the person
   35  who made the payment to a longer timeframe for performance:
   36         1.If the work requires a permit, apply for such permits
   37  within 14 days after receiving payment for the work.
   38         2.Start the work within 14 days after receiving payment
   39  for the work or within 14 days after the date all necessary
   40  permits for work, if any, are issued.
   41         3.Perform the work, without any failure to continue the
   42  work for any 14-day period after payment is made or 14 days
   43  after the date all necessary permits for work, if any, are
   44  issued.
   45         (b)There is a presumption that an unlicensed vendor does
   46  not have just cause if the unlicensed vendor fails to comply
   47  with paragraph (a), fails to refund the payment within 14 days
   48  after receiving payment, or fails to continue the work for any
   49  14-day period after the date all necessary permits for work, if
   50  any, are issued. The burden is on the unlicensed vendor to prove
   51  just cause and to rebut the presumption.
   52         (4)A violation of this section is:
   53         (a)If the total money received is less than $300, a
   54  misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s.
   55  775.082 or s. 775.083.
   56         (b)If the total money received is less than $300 and the
   57  unlicensed vendor has had more than one violation within a 3
   58  year period, a felony of the third degree, punishable as
   59  provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
   60         (c)If the total money received is greater than or equal to
   61  $300 but less than $5,000, a felony of the third degree,
   62  punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
   63         (d)If the total money received is $5,000 or more but less
   64  than $50,000, a felony of the second degree, punishable as
   65  provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
   66         (e)If the total money received is $50,000 or more, a
   67  felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s.
   68  775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
   69         Section 2. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) of
   70  section 501.022, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   71         501.022 Home solicitation sale; permit required.—
   72         (1)(a) It is unlawful for any person to conduct any home
   73  solicitation sale, as defined in s. 501.021, or to supervise
   74  excluded minors conducting such sales provided in subparagraph
   75  (b)4. subparagraph (b)5., in this state without first obtaining
   76  a valid home solicitation sale permit as provided in this
   77  section.
   78         (b) The following are excluded from the operation of this
   79  section:
   80         1. Bona fide agents, business representatives, or
   81  salespersons making calls or soliciting orders at the usual
   82  place of business of a customer regarding products or services
   83  for use in connection with the customer’s business.
   84         2. Solicitors, salespersons, or agents making a call or
   85  business visit upon the express invitation, oral or written, of
   86  an inhabitant of the premises or her or his agent.
   87         3. Telephone solicitors, salespersons, or agents making
   88  calls which involve transactions that are unsolicited by the
   89  consumer and consummated by telephone and without any other
   90  contact between the buyer and the seller or its representative
   91  before prior to delivery of the goods or performance of the
   92  services.
   93         4.Solicitors, salespersons, or agents conducting a sale,
   94  lease, or rental of consumer goods or services by sample,
   95  catalog, or brochure for future delivery.
   96         4.5. Minors, as defined in s. 1.01(13), conducting home
   97  solicitation sales under the supervision of an adult supervisor
   98  who holds a valid home solicitation sale permit. Minors excluded
   99  from operation of this section must, however, carry personal
  100  identification which includes their full name, date of birth,
  101  residence address, and employer and the name and permit number
  102  of their adult supervisor.
  103         5.6. Those sellers or their representatives that are
  104  currently regulated as to the sale of goods and services by
  105  chapter 475 or chapter 497.
  106         6.7. Solicitors, salespersons, or agents making calls or
  107  soliciting orders on behalf of a religious, charitable,
  108  scientific, educational, or veterans’ institution or
  109  organization holding a sales tax exemption certificate under s.
  110  212.08(7).
  111         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.