Deceptive Trade Practices Litigation
Federal legislation and statutes in every state prohibit use of unfair or deceptive trade practices and unfair competition in business. Deceptive trade practices statutes do not govern all situations where a party has deceived another party. Most states limit the scope of these statutes to commercial transactions involving a consumer purchasing or leasing goods or services for personal, household, or family purposes. Even so, some state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act, including Texas', provide some protections for certain transactions for business consumers.
Most state deceptive trade practices statutes include broad restrictions on "deceptive" or "unfair" trade practices. These states often include prohibitions against fraudulent practices and/or unconscionable practices.
A consumer who has been victimized by a potential deceptive or unfair trade practice should consult with an attorney experienced in handling consumer and commercial actions under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. All of the attorneys at The Byrd Law Firm have experience both prosecuting and defending deceptive trade practices claims. In addition to the broad prohibition against deception, most state statutes also include a list of practices that are defined as deceptive.
Under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, if a business or person engages in the following, the action constitutes a deceptive trade practice:
- Passes off goods or services as those of another
- Causes likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services
- Causes likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to affiliation, connection, or association with, or certification by, another
- Uses deceptive representations or designations of geographic origin in connection with goods or services
- Represents that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or qualities that they do not have or that a person has a sponsor-ship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection that he does not have
- Represents that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or second-hand
- Represents that goods or services are of particular standard, quality, or grade, or that goods are of particular style or model, if they are of another
- Disparages the goods, services, or business of another by false or misleading misrepresentation of fact
- Advertises goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised
- Advertises goods or services with intent not to supply reasonably expected public demand, unless advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity
- Makes false or misleading statements of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amounts of price reductions
- Engages in any other conduct which similarly creates the likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding
In addition, the FTC and many states prohibit other unfair practices, including the following:
- Unfair provisions in contracts of adhesion
- Coercive or high-pressure tactics in sales and collection efforts
- Illegal conduct
- Taking advantage of bargaining power of vulnerable groups
- Taking advantage of emergency situations
- Unconscionable activities, including outrageous and offensive conduct by a business in the sale of goods or services
Under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act or similar "tie-in" statutes, other forms of conduct can be actionable including, insurance code violations, breach of warranties, unfair debt collection, and pyramid/ponzi schemes to name a few. A successful claimant who has been wronged by another's deceptive acts can potentially recover his actual damages, attorney's fees, mental anguish damages and "treble damages" for conduct that was done knowingly.
We are experienced in protecting the rights of our clients who have been violated by another's deceptive trade practices. If you have been such a victim, our attorneys can provide the legal representation you need.