The Division of Consumer Services is the state's clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. The Division has responsibility for regulating various business industries operating in Florida and conducts investigations of unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Consumer education is the main focus of the Division. Along with the information provided through our Communications and Outreach center, which can be reached at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español, thousands of educational brochures are distributed each year to individuals, civic groups, community organizations and schools. The Division offers speakers, at no cost, to participate in community meetings, conferences and meetings around the state.
- Bureau of Compliance
- Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection
- Bureau of Liquefied Petroleum (LP) Gas Inspection
- Bureau of Mediation and Enforcement
- Bureau of Standards
The Division also includes the Communication and Outreach section and the Florida Board of Professional Surveyors and Mappers.
The Communications and Outreach section promotes educational outreach programs aimed at increasing public awareness of consumer protection issues among Florida citizens and visitors. This section assists consumers and businesses statewide through a variety of avenues, including our website, newspaper articles, newsletters, brochures and on-site presentations.
This section also facilitates the state's toll-free hotline 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352). The call center is located in Tallahassee and is staffed with trained analysts who answer more than 220,000 telephone calls and emails annually from consumers and businesses. In addition to supporting the program areas regulated by the Department, staff is able to provide callers with information on a wide variety of topics. When necessary, callers are directed to the appropriate government or private agency that can provide further assistance. A broad variety of consumer information materials are maintained by the center and are available free to consumers. The call center also has a dedicated line for Spanish speaking consumers at 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).
The Florida Board of Professional Surveyors and Mappers has been charged by the Florida Legislature with protecting the public interest and encouraging the entry of qualified individuals into the profession. The Board does this by approving individuals and businesses applying for licensure as professional surveyors and mappers. Individuals must meet certain education, experience and testing criteria prior to licensure. The Board provides protection by enforcing compliance with the Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative Code by disciplining those licensees who violate the professional practice act. The board meets in person four times per year in various locations around the State.
The Bureau of Compliance has regulatory responsibility for the following types of business entities: Business Opportunities, Motor Vehicle Repair Shops, Charitable Organizations, Dance Studios, Pawnbrokers, Health Studios, Sellers of Travel, Intrastate Movers, Sweepstakes/Game Promotions and Telemarketing. This bureau also administers the Florida Do Not Call Program.
The Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection mission is to promote the safety of Florida's citizens and visitors to our state through our amusement ride inspection program. The bureau is assigned to carry out the inspection and investigation mandates of Chapter 616.242, Florida Statutes, and enforcement of adopted rules, regulations and codes. The bureau has statewide responsibility to inspect all amusement rides in the state, except for certain large parks which have more than 1,000 employees and have full time inspectors on staff. All temporary amusement rides are inspected each time they are moved or set up at a new location, and permanent rides are inspected semi-annually. All amusement rides are required to be permitted annually by the Department, are required to undergo nondestructive testing for structural integrity, and must have an annual inspection by a professional engineer or qualified inspector.
The bureau investigates accidents involving amusement ride patrons and investigates incidents involving amusement rides when those rides may be unsafe for use. The Department has authority to impose sanctions on amusement ride owners for violation of the law, Section 616.242, Florida Statutes, or Rule, Chapter 5F-8, Florida Administrative Code, and can close and impound amusement rides which pose an immediate serious danger to the public health, safety and welfare.
The Bureau of Liquefied Petroleum (LP) Gas Inspection mission is to ensure the safe sale, use, storage, handling and transportation of propane in the State of Florida. Staff is assigned to various regions of the state and all activities are coordinated through the Tallahassee headquarters office. Tallahassee staff is divided into four work areas - administration, training and examinations, inspections and licensing. These four areas are assigned to carry out the inspection, investigation and examination mandates of Chapter 527, Florida Statutes, and enforcement of adopted rules, regulations and codes.
Once a complaint is filed with the bureau, staff mediates the complaint and tries to resolve issues to the consumer's satisfaction. Complaints that fall under the jurisdiction of another federal, state or local governmental agency are referred to that office for processing. This bureau also processes administrative enforcement actions for violations by an entity that falls within one of the Division's regulatory programs.
The Bureau of Standards, formerly Bureau of Petroleum and Bureau of Weights and Measures, covers a wide range of responsibilities and duties within the Division. The bureau is responsible for conducting inspections of the petroleum distribution system and analyzes samples of petroleum products to ensure consumers are being offered quality products at a fair measure. The quality of gasoline, alternative fuels (E85, biodiesel, ethanol, etc.), kerosene, diesel and fuel oil are determined at Department testing laboratories through analyses of octane rating, distillation, vapor pressure, vapor-liquid ratio, sulfur content, lubricity, oxygenate content, silver corrosion, alcohol content, fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) percentage, and flash point. The bureau's laboratory personnel also test antifreeze products for corrosion, freezing point, boiling point, pH, and foaming as part of the antifreeze registration and regulatory monitoring program. Similarly, brake fluid products must also pass strict standards for boiling point, elastomer swelling and chemical content before being registered by the Department for sale to the public.
The Bureau of Standards is responsible for conducting inspections at the 9,025 retail facilities and inspects more than 60,000 commercial measuring devices each year. Inspections included calibrating tests, proper installations and maintenance of measuring devices and attached equipment, price gouging investigations, testing for water and debris, verification of backup electricity generation equipment and wiring, labeling of petroleum dispensers at both wholesale and retail facilities, retail scales, pharmacy balances, industrial and livestock scales, vehicle scales and taximeters. Inspectors also routinely test the accuracy of retail price scanners, as well as the accuracy of labels and net contents of pack food items, packaged goods such as dry goods, household items, building and construction materials, gardening products and hundreds of other products purchased daily by consumers and business.
The bureau's metrology laboratory, maintains the state's primary standards of mass, length and volume. It also provides calibration services to the commercial measurement industry, scientific and law enforcement labs, manufacturers and the aerospace and technology industries.
Consumer Outreach Presentations / Speakers Available
We have the latest information on scams and fraudulent schemes that bilk people out of millions of dollars annually. At your next meeting or event, let one of our representatives educate your group on the latest consumer issues. We inform you of identity theft, how to avoid telemarketing fraud, home employment opportunities and much, much more. We're here for you and we're FREE! We believe an educated consumer is the best protection against fraud and deception! To invite a Department representative to your next function, please complete a speaker request form. Speaking engagements should be requested at least 2-3 months in advance to ensure availability.