Florida DBPR Complaints: A Guide to the Process, Steps to Take, and How to Avoid Future Complaints

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Receiving a complaint from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) can be a stressful and daunting experience for any business owner. The DBPR is responsible for licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in Florida, including those in the fields of real estate, construction, hospitality, and more. A complaint can not only affect your business operations but can also tarnish your reputation if not addressed properly. This comprehensive guide will show you how to respond effectively to a complaint from the DBPR, with an emphasis on protecting your business interests and maintaining compliance.

Understanding the Complaint Process

When the DBPR receives a complaint against a business or professional, it initiates an investigation to determine the validity of the complaint and whether any laws or regulations have been violated.

The process generally includes the following steps:

  1. Complaint Review: The DBPR reviews the complaint to determine if it falls within their jurisdiction and if there is sufficient information to proceed.
  1. Investigation: If the complaint is deemed valid, an investigation is conducted. This may involve gathering documents, interviewing witnesses, and working with experts.
  1. Probable Cause Determination: A panel reviews the findings to decide if there is probable cause to believe a violation occurred.
  1. Formal Charges and Hearing: If probable cause is found, formal charges may be filed, leading to an administrative hearing.
  1. Final Order: After the hearing, a final order is issued, which may include penalties, fines, or other disciplinary actions.

Steps to Take Upon Receiving a Complaint

  1. Review the Complaint Carefully: Understand the specifics of the complaint, including the alleged violations and the aspects of your business it concerns.
  1. Consult with an Attorney: It's crucial to seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in Florida administrative law and the specific regulations governing your industry. They can guide you through the response process and represent you in hearings or negotiations.
  1. Gather Documentation: Collect any documents, records, or evidence that may help your case. This may include contracts, correspondence, policy documents, and compliance records.
  1. Prepare a Written Response: Based on your attorney's advice, prepare a detailed written response to the complaint. This response should address the allegations factually and provide any evidence that supports your position.
  1. Cooperate with the Investigation: While protecting your rights, cooperate fully with the DBPR's investigation. This includes providing requested documents and making yourself available for interviews or depositions.
  1. Explore Resolution Options: In some cases, the DBPR may offer alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation, to resolve the complaint without formal charges. Consider these options carefully, as they may offer a more favorable outcome.
  1. Prepare for a Hearing: If the case proceeds to a hearing, work with your attorney to prepare your defense. This may involve gathering additional evidence, preparing witness testimony, and developing legal arguments.

Best Practices for Avoiding Future Complaints

  • Ensure Compliance: Regularly review and update your business practices to ensure they comply with Florida laws and regulations.
  • Educate Your Staff: Provide training to your employees on compliance matters and the importance of adhering to professional standards.
  • Maintain Records: Keep detailed and organized records of your business operations, as these can be crucial in defending against complaints.
  • Implement a Complaint Resolution Process: Develop an internal process for addressing customer or client complaints promptly and effectively before they escalate.


Responding to a complaint from the DBPR requires a careful and strategic approach. By understanding the complaint process, consulting with legal professionals, and taking proactive steps to address the complaint, you can protect your business and mitigate the impact of the complaint. Additionally, implementing best practices for compliance and complaint resolution can help prevent future issues and maintain a positive reputation in your industry. If you have received a complaint from the DBPR or have questions on implementing plans to help avoid complaints, contact the business attorneys at MSD-Business for a free consultation.


About the Author:

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Description automatically generated Chase Carpenter is a partner in the Business Division of Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A.. His practice revolves around business transactions and business litigation. Mr. Carpenter handles a wide range of cases including contract drafting, partnership disputes, commercial leases, and construction litigation. These cases encompass diverse industries, including healthcare, technology, real estate investment, and government contracting.

About the Firm:

The Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A., also known as MSD Business, is a local business law firm in Tampa, FL, serving clients throughout Fort Lauderdale and statewide. Our firm has a long history of helping clients navigate all types of complex legal matters, including local and state tax issues. In our business law practice, we assist clients with everything from mergers and acquisitions to contract disputes, business litigation, general counsel, and more.