On March 2, 2021, the following notice appeared on the Florida Attorney General’s website https://www.myfloridalegal.com/:
Florida’s Attorney General Moody Shuts Down Moving Scams and Recovers Millions for Consumers Duped by Malicious Movers

Attorney General Ashley Moody is announcing court action taken to stop malicious moving companies preying on Floridians. In the past year, Attorney General Moody and her Consumer Protection Division secured four judgments against companies that used deceptive advertising or other deceptive tactics to rip off customers. The judgments resulted in more than $2.7 million in recoveries.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Malicious movers beware, if you plan to take advantage of consumers simply trying to relocate, my Consumer Protection Division will find out and your fraudulent trek will be stopped in its tracks. With spring right around the corner, many people will be boxing up their belongings and moving to a new home. Moving can be an arduous project and could turn disastrous if bad actors, posing as legitimate movers or brokers, try to take advantage by inflating prices, holding goods hostage or using other deceitful tactics.”

Attorney General Moody’s Consumer Protection Division recently obtained judgments in four lawsuits filed in federal court, each alleging that the individual companies engaged in deceptive advertising of moving services, failed to provide proper estimates, failed to relinquish household goods and failed to provide timely pick-up or delivery of goods in accordance with service contracts.

To guard against moving scams consumers should:

Read all documents thoroughly to understand what is being agreed to prior to signing;

If booking a move through a broker, ask for a list of motor carriers previously used and research both the carriers and the broker;

Seek multiple itemized, written estimates for the move and check whether the estimate accounts for particular moving services;

Ask the mover for proof of liability and worker’s compensation coverage, and call the insurer to confirm that the policy is active; and

Research companies. Ask for recommendations and check with the Better Business Bureau at BBB.org for complaints.
More helpful tips and red flags regarding moving scams can be found in the new Scams at a Glance: On the Move brochure.

To view Scams at a Glance: On the Move in English, click here.

To view Scams at a Glance: On the Move in Spanish, click here.

Scams at a Glance is Attorney General Moody’s consumer outreach program, complete with a webpage on the Florida Attorney General’s website with information about common and emerging scams. The webpage also provides downloadable brochures designed to teach consumers how to avoid falling victim to fraud and scams.

To access the Scams at a Glance webpage for more content related to common scams, click here.

In addition to these actions by the AGO, private causes of action for many of the same claims can be brought by private attorneys throughout the state. Know your rights!

What Legal Remedies Are Available in a Florida Breach of Contract Lawsuit?
When you are the victim of a contractual breach, meaning someone you do business with did not fulfill their obligations under an agreement, there are several potential remedies you must consider. Do you wish to seek money damages under the contract? Would you rather compel the offending party to perform their contractual duties? Is it smart business to continue doing business with this person or entity in the future?

Florida law offers several potential avenues of recovery in a breach of contract context. First is of course money damages, which can be broken down into two main categories:

Monetary Damages
Compensatory Damages: The overall goal of compensatory damages in a breach of contract case is to put the party victimized by the breach back where they would have been had the contract been fulfilled. Compensatory damages are intended to “make the plaintiff whole.” This may include direct damages, the actual loss felt by your business as a result of the breach, and consequential damages, which are intended to provide compensation for any indirect damages caused by the breach of contract. For example, if, as a result of the breach of contract, you were forced to make alternate arrangements and incur additional expenses, those may be recoverable.

Liquidated Damages: Where it will be difficult to determine the amount of damages in the event of a breach, some contracts will incorporate a liquidated damages clause. Essentially, the contract explicitly spells out the amount of money that a court can award to the aggrieved party if the contract has been breached. However, where the amount it deemed to be excessive, Courts may invalidate these provisions entirely.

Equitable Remedies
Sometimes, after a breach of contract, the aggrieved party may not want money. For a host of reasons, it may be more beneficial for a business or individual to look at the relationship of the parties and come up with a different solution to the problem. In these cases, the business trial attorneys at Cutler Rader may seek equitable relief from a court. Equitable relied is a way to seek for the courts to compel or force a person or company to act or refrain from acting in a specific manner.

A few of the more common forms of equitable remedies in a breach of contract action as:

Specific Performance: Here, the breaching party is required to honor its obligations under the terms of the contract. Specific performance is typically sought in cases where money damages simply cannot make the party victimized by the breach whole. The court will look at all the factors and may issue an order requiring the breaching party to perform under the terms of the contract. This can happen in instances where the breaching party has some sort of uniqueness to it, like where it is the only company to produce a certain part that your company requires to fulfill an order made by another customer.

Rescission: Rescission cancels the contract entirely. When a Florida judge grants rescission, both sides may be excused from any further performance or obligations under the contract. Any money or goods transferred between the parties may be sent back. The goal is to put the parties back where they stood at the beginning of their dealings together, as if the contract never existed.

Injunctions: In some cases, your company may wish to seek an injunction. This is an order of the court designed to prevent another from acting a certain way or forcing another to act in a certain way. In the case of a business breach of contract, this may include preventing a company from selling certain goods or services, stopping a company from disbursing proceeds of a sale or temporarily halting a business relationship between the breaching party and a third party.

Statutory Claims
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is a law that protects lawful business enterprises and the consumers from unethical methods of competition, unreasonable practices or acts during any commerce or trade.

In moving company cases, such things as Advertising Violations by Household Goods Motor Carrier, Failure to Provide Proper Written Estimates, Failure to Relinquish Goods, Failure to Pick Up/Tender Shipment and Provide Notification, and other Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices all have remedies under both Federal and State laws. Additionally, Section 507.08 of the Florida Moving Act proscribes deceptive and unfair trade practices in connection with intrastate household moves.

If you believe you may have a claim for breach of contract or other deceptive and fraudulent claims as a result of the actions of movers, moving companies, and/or moving brokers and would like to learn more about your rights under Florida law, call the business litigation attorneys at Cutler Rader today to review your case and discuss the damages that may be available to you. We offer free consultations and offer a no recovery, no fee guarantee in many instances.

When you have Cutler Rader, P.L. on your side, you know you’re getting outstanding representation. Call today. 954-913-CASE (2273).