Deceptive Trade Practices

Apr 15, 2015 by

When an individual or business uses any activity that intended to mislead or attract the consumers into buying a product or availing a service is considered a deceptive trade practice. These deceptive trade practices are considered a criminal offense in many states in the US, and, according to the website of Smith Kendall, PLLC, certain statutes that administer private enforcement (giving a consumer the right to sue for punitive damages and/or sanctioned fines when the individual or business violated the deceptive practices laws). The attorney general likewise has the right to sue the business enterprise or individual for their fraudulent actions.

Among the most common types of commercial deception and fraud are false advertising, bait-and-swtich, and tampering of odometer, although there are many other types of “deceptive” business practices. Since a great majority of these acts or practices has the potential of affecting consumers in more than one state, certain number of states in the US has adapted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA) which works together with the states’ prohibitions and issues regarding consumer protection laws. Those who do not adhere to the standardized UDTPA have their own comprehensive laws that would still focus on the protection of the consumers on the products and services that they purchase.

Although the state of Texas does not follow the UDTPA, the state still gives the attorney general, district attorneys and consumers the authority to file a lawsuit against an individual or business who engages in deceptive trade practices. The penalties for committing such fraudulent acts for profit consists of actual and treble damages, orders for the business enterprise to stop the deceptive actions, and lawyer fees should the case in won by the consumer. Furthermore, the penalties can be heavier when the victim of is over the age of 65, due to their fragile nature. Because consumers nowadays are more informed about product and health safety, claims due to violations of the deceptive trade practices law has become prevalent in business litigation.

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