2014 Florida Statutes
559.929 Security requirements.—
(1) An application must be accompanied by a performance bond in an amount set by the department under paragraph (a), paragraph (b), or paragraph (c). The surety on such bond must be a surety company authorized to do business in the state.
(a) Each seller of travel which certifies its business activities under s. 559.9285(1)(a) shall provide a performance bond in an amount up to $25,000, or in the amount of $50,000 if the seller of travel is offering vacation certificates.
(b) Each seller of travel which certifies its business activities under s. 559.9285(1)(b) shall provide a performance bond in an amount up to $100,000, or in the amount of $150,000 if the seller of travel is offering vacation certificates.
(c) Each seller of travel which certifies its business activities under s. 559.9285(1)(c) shall provide a performance bond in an amount up to $250,000, or in the amount of $300,000 if the seller of travel is offering vacation certificates.
(2) The bond must be filed with the department on a form adopted by department rule and must be in favor of the department for the use and benefit of a traveler who is injured by the fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, financial failure, or violation of this part by the seller of travel. Such liability may be enforced by proceeding in an administrative action as specified in subsection (3) or by filing a civil action. However, in such civil action the bond posted with the department shall not be amenable or subject to a judgment or other legal process issuing out of or from such court in connection with such civil action, but such bond shall be amenable to and enforceable only by and through administrative proceedings before the department. It is the intent of the Legislature that such bond be applicable and liable only for the payment of claims duly adjudicated by order of the department. The bond must be open to successive claims, but the aggregate amount awarded may not exceed the amount of the bond. In addition to the foregoing, a bond provided by a registrant or applicant for registration which certifies its business activities under s. 559.9285(1)(b) or (c) must be in favor of the department, with payment in the following order of priority:
(a) The expenses for prosecuting the registrant or applicant in an administrative or civil action under this part, including attorney fees and fees for other professionals, court costs or other costs of the proceedings, and all other expenses incidental to the action.
(b) The costs and expenses of investigation before the commencement of an administrative or civil action under this part.
(c) An unpaid administrative fine imposed by final order or an unpaid civil penalty imposed by final judgment under this part.
(d) Damages or compensation for a traveler injured as provided in this subsection.
(3) A traveler may file a claim against the bond. Such claim, which must be submitted in writing on an affidavit form adopted by department rule, must be submitted to the department within 120 days after an alleged injury has occurred or is discovered to have occurred or a judgment has been entered. The proceedings shall be conducted pursuant to chapter 120. For proceedings conducted pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57, the agency shall act only as a nominal party.
(4) Any indebtedness determined by final order of the department shall be paid by the seller of travel to the department within 30 days after the order is entered for disbursement to the consumer. If the seller of travel fails to make payment within 30 days, the agency shall make a demand for payment upon the surety which includes an institution issuing a letter of credit or depository on a certificate of deposit. Upon failure of a surety to comply with a demand for payment pursuant to a final order, the department may file an action in circuit court to recover payment, up to the amount of the bond or other form of security, pursuant to s. 120.69. If the department prevails, the department may recover court costs and reasonable attorney fees.
(5) If the seller of travel is currently the subject of an administrative, civil, or criminal action by the department, the Department of Legal Affairs, or the state attorney relating to compliance with this part, the right to proceed against the bond as provided in subsection (3) is suspended until any enforcement action becomes final.
(6) The department may waive the bond requirement on an annual basis if the seller of travel has had 5 or more consecutive years of experience as a seller of travel in this state in compliance with this part, has not had a civil, criminal, or administrative action instituted against the seller of travel in the vacation and travel business by a governmental agency or an action involving fraud, theft, misappropriation of property, violation of a statute pertaining to business or commerce with a terrorist state, or moral turpitude, and has a satisfactory consumer complaint history with the department, and certifies its business activities under s. 559.9285. Such waiver may be revoked if the seller of travel violates this part. A seller of travel which certifies its business activities under s. 559.9285(1)(b) or (c) is not entitled to the waiver provided in this subsection.
History.—s. 5, ch. 95-314; s. 251, ch. 96-410; s. 33, ch. 97-250; s. 10, ch. 2003-132; s. 4, ch. 2008-214; s. 18, ch. 2014-147.