When purchasing a product, you have expectations of that item. Primarily to do what the product states, advertised, and intended for when you looked into the product. However, sometimes things don’t go that way. Products can, unfortunately, contain false or misleading information that can lead to deceptive business practices. Fortunately, the Deceptive Trade Practices (DTPA) came about in 1973 and designed to protect consumers from these businesses’ false promises. It’s not the same as a liability case if someone gets injured, but it can help obtain a settlement from insurances. It’s used by victimized consumers that seek legal action for justice and compensation. You can also refer to the full act in section 17.41 in the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
So, what is the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and how can it help you?
What Does the Deceptive Trade Practices Act Do?
Thankfully, the Deceptive Trade Practices Act covers various exchanges like the purchasing of a good or service. This can include products and even real estate in many cases. The Texas Attorney General can seek out the business to prevent them from any future deceptive practices and allow the consumer to rectify damages caused by the business.
When Does This Happen?
This can occur when businesses take advantage of consumers by their current lack of knowledge, ability, experience, or capacity to understand the product. They could pass off their goods and services for another business. They could also advertise them and sell them differently than what was advertised. In other cases, they have plagiarized their goods and try to sell them as new or original.
When thinking about this can apply to, the act defines trade and commerce as “the advertising, offering for sale, lease, or distribution of any good or service, or any property, tangible or intangible, real, personal, or mixed, any other article, commodity, or thing of value wherever situated, and shall include any trade or commerce directly or indirectly affecting.”
This works with any “goods,” meaning anything tangible or property purchased or leased out to someone. When it talks about services, it means any work or labor bought or leased for use; this means the sale or repair of goods.
What To Consider
If you’re looking to file a claim, there are things to look at to see if it’s valid under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Consider some of the following:
- Warranty Breaches
A business must honor a warranty and not make any sort of false promises that involved the product or service’s functionality. This can include written and spoken promises from the manufacturer.
- An Unconscionable Act
This means an act that makes the transaction one-sided. The Deceptive Trade Practices Act defines this as someone that “takes advantage of the lack of knowledge, ability, experience, or capacity of a person to a grossly unfair degree.” This basically means that the business took advantage of the consumer by promising something such as a function of a product that they (the business) can not deliver.
- False, Misleading, Or Deceptive Acts
This includes false or improper labeling, misrepresentation, or the product’s origin. Or stating that the product was made from a material that was not used.
Steps To Take When Dealing With Deceptive Trade Practices Act
If you have fallen under one of the situations listed, then there’s a few steps to take before you take someone to court. You must first try to contact the business first to find a resolution. Many times a product might just come out faulty and can get fixed easily with the help of the business. However, if the company does not get back to you at all within 60 days of reaching out, you can then file a suit for your claims. Once this occurs, then it’s also time to reach out to a lawyer to start helping you build a case.
If offered a settlement, then the offer must take care of the consumer’s damages and their attorney fees.
Do note that you have two years to file for this act. However, anything past two years can get a 180-day extension in some cases. This rarely happens since you should realize the results sooner than two years out due to the nature of these cases.
Quinonez Law Firm
From products printed with misleading labels, false claims, and advertisements, or a pullback on a warranty, we can help. The Deceptive Trade Practices Act has a lot of the ins and outs to weave through if you’re looking to file for a claim. Quinonez Law Firm has the knowledge and experience through all these types of claims. We will help guide you through the legal process to get back the damages that you’ve experienced. For any questions you have about the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, give us a call so we can start helping you.