Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Small Claims for Florida

Q: I live in Aus. A business in Florida accepted a 500$ deposit towards a future purchase, have sought a refund, ignored.

Advice provided.

1 Lawyer Answer
Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: You definitely can file a small claim, and during the pandemic, Fla. courts are doing everything remotely (video or telephonic hearings). However, when the time arrives for them to start up in-person again, you might have a problem. The first stage in small claims, after filing and serving the claim on the defendant, is a pretrial conference, which the judge would probably to allow you to appear by phone, pandemic or not. However, if the case is not settled, it then goes to a trial in which you must appear before the judge to give your testimony. Right now, that is mostly being done through Zoom (videoconference). I suggest you call the Clerk of the Court in the County in which the business is located, explain your situation, and ask them what is the minimum number of months they expect to continue having small claims hearings and trials remotely. Depending on which county you're in, the small claims process from beginning to end will probably take 3 to 5 months. By the way, if you sue a business, you must determine if it's a corporation or LLC, in which case you must put that name as defendant, and you must serve the registered agent listed at

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.