We have all seen the flood of advertisements on the television, online, or in newspapers promising a “cure”, “guaranteed weight loss”, or “debt elimination”. What most people do not know is that some of these advertisements violate the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which was designed to protect consumers from misleading or false advertising. Read on to learn more about the basics of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), and how it may affect you.
Deceptive Trade Practices Act Basics
Texas Business and Commerce Code § 17.46 is the section of state law related to unlawful or deceptive trade practices. The purpose of the DTPA is to protect consumers from actions that are:
- False, misleading, or deceptive
- Unconscionable (grossly unfair conduct)
- Considered a breach of warranty
The DTPA has numerous individual actions that are considered unlawful. According to the DTPA, false, misleading, or deceptive practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce, includes:
- Advertising services or goods as something else
- Being misleading or confusing regarding the sponsorship, approval, source, or certification of services or goods
- Deceptive designation or representation regarding the geographic origin connected to services or goods
- Representing items as new or original if they are, in fact, reclaimed, reconditioned, or deteriorated
- Disparaging the services or goods of another party by misleading or false representation of the facts
- Advertising services or goods without intent to sell them as advertised
- Misleading or false statements regarding any need for item replacement, parts, or repair service
- Promotion of pyramid scheme
- Falsely representing warranties
- Selling necessity items (food, fuel, medications) at exorbitant prices
There are many other actions deemed unlawful. To learn more about the DTPA, check out Texas’ Business and Commerce Code, or contact a consumer protection attorney.
Legal Action and Damages
Under the DTPA, businesses must be provided with the option of rectifying consumer complaints. Generally, this is done via certified mail, when the consumer identifies and details the complaint and the amount of financial damages caused. The business then has 60 days to respond to the letter and remit payment. If the business fails to do so, the consumer can then proceed with filing a lawsuit.
Under Texas law, there are a few types of damages that can be sought in a consumer protection lawsuit, including:
- Financial losses
- Mental/Emotional anguish
- Court cost or legal fees
- Suspension of the permit or license of the business
- Other damages deemed by the court to serve justice
Your Rights and the DTPA
As a consumer, you have the right to question false, misleading, or otherwise unlawful actions by businesses or manufacturers. If you believe you have been harmed due to unlawful business practices like those discussed in the DTPA, contact Daic Law to speak to our consumer protection attorney about your rights. Do not be overwhelmed or intimidated by deceptive or unfair trade practices. Let Daic Law help you protect your rights and pursue justice.