Timing is everything right? It is, especially when it comes to Demands under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Act Statute § 501.98.  Chapter 501 is a favorite of consumer attorneys, a catch all claim, with a very low threshold.  You don’t even have to violate a law to be found in violation of this statute.  They simply have to allege that a practice or procedure appears to be deceptive or unfair to bring a claim. The Statute also allows consumer attorneys to seek their fees if their client is the prevailing party, and when I say fees, I mean in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, for even the smallest disputes.  Dealers, however, have a layer of protection against the consumers’ legal fees but only if the law is followed.  Dealers are given a 30-day window of opportunity to resolve an issue without incurring the legal fees for the consumer.  But this is a bright line rule, this isn’t 31 days or 33 days.  It must be within 30 days of receiving the letter.  The law is very clear: A dealer and its employees, agents, principals, sureties, and insurers may not be required to pay the attorney fees of the claimant in any action brought under this chapter if: The dealer, within 30 days after receipt of the demand letter, notifies the claimant in writing, and a court or arbitrator subsequently agrees that the amount sought in the demand letter is not reasonable in light of the facts of the transaction or event described in the demand letter or if the demand letter includes items and amounts not properly recoverable under this chapter. What I have found is lawyers, who don’t normally practice in the consumer realm, do not know, or understand how important this timeline is.  If you plan to respond to a demand letter, make sure you do it within 30 days. If you send the demand letter to your lawyer to respond for you, confirm with them that they know they must respond within the 30 days from when you received it.  This could save you tens of thousands of dollars.  Don’t ignore these demand letters, really look at the underlying facts, if its something that is more cost effective, and customer good will, to resolve, then do it.  Fighting your corner on some these issues will end up costing you more in your own legal fees and possibly the consumers as well, look at these from a business perspective and potential legal exposure. The consumer attorneys will still try to demand legal fees, but if you are going to resolve the case for your customer, and you respond within the 30 days, you do not have to pay the lawyers anything beyond what is required under the law.  Don’t be fooled, you agree to resolve the issue with your customer, so long as it is a legitimate concern, you are protected from legal fee demands.  Use this tool, and protect yourself, these laws were meant to help make consumers whole, not to make consumer lawyers rich.