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deceptive trade practices and consumer protection

The Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) is Texas's primary consumer protection statute and can even protect certain "business consumers." While fairly complex, the DTPA can be a consumer's formidable weapon when harmed by deceptive business tactics. Likewise, a business that has been threatened with or named in a DTPA lawsuit needs sound advice and representation to effectively defend or resolve such claims.

The DTPA prohibits a list of commercial practices deemed to be false, misleading or deceptive and also prohibits conduct that is "unconscionable." The prohibited, listed activities include the following, among others:

  • Passing off goods or services as those of another
  • Representing that goods or services have benefits, characteristics or quantities that they do not have
  • Representing that goods are new when they are reconditioned, used or secondhand
  • Advertising goods or services with the intent not to sell them as advertised or with the intent not to supply a reasonable public demand (sometimes called "bait and switch")
  • Making false or misleading statements about the reasons for or amount of price reductions
  • Misrepresenting the authority of a salesman to negotiate the final terms of a consumer transaction
  • Advertising of "going-out-of-business-sales" when the person or entity is not going out-of-business
  • Representing that a guarantee or warranty gives rights or remedies that it does not give
  • Promoting a pyramid promotional scheme
  • Representing that services have been performed on or parts replaced in goods when they have not

The DTPA applies generally to "goods" and "services." "Goods" include tangible things or real property purchased or leased for use, and "services" include work, labor, or services purchased or leased for use, and services in connection with the sale or repair of goods. The DTPA, however, does not apply to professional services, which turn on advice, judgment, opinion or similar professional skill. Consumers may sue for damages, and those who win a suit brought under the DTPA, generally may recover their attorney's fees. If they show the defendant acted "knowingly," they can receive damages of up to three times their damages.

Let us help you find out if you have a valid claim and present it for recovery, if possible. Or, if you are faced with an invalid DTPA claim, we can help you defend yourself.