Protecting Consumers with the
Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA)
Consumers in Texas are protected against deceptive business practices under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). This act is designed to protect consumers from misleading or false business practices, as well as breaches of warranty. Attorneys G.R. (Randy) Akin and Greg Burton of Longview, TX, have been representing clients in personal injury claims and business litigation for decades and can apply their legal acuity to your case, so you can collect the damages you are due under the DTPA. If you believe you have a claim that falls under the DTPA, contact our firm today to discuss your legal options.
An Overview of the DTPA
The purpose of the DTPA is to protect consumers against false, misleading, and deceptive business practices. Set out in Chapter 17 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, the DTPA defines a consumer as someone who seeks or acquires services or goods via purchase or lease. This can include individuals and extend to certain partnerships and corporations. The law is intended to be applied liberally and to provide an efficient and economical way to enforce justice after a violation.
Unlawful Acts under the DTPA
Consumers are protected from a number of fraudulent acts deemed unlawful by the DTPA. These acts are divided into three categories:
- Breach of Warranty (either written or verbal): This designation refers to the failure of a seller to fulfill the claims they made regarding a product.
- Unconscionable Acts: The DTPA characterizes an unconscionable act as one that is overwhelmingly one-sided. If, for example, a seller takes advantage of a consumer’s lack of knowledge or experience to a grossly unfair degree, this would be deemed an unconscionable act.
- False, Misleading or Deceptive Act: This comprehensive list of actions taken on the part of a company includes misrepresenting the source or certification of goods or services, as well as taking advantage of customers during a disaster.
Proving a DTPA Claim
Good intent is not a defense under the DTPA. In other words, defendants can be held liable even if they did not intend to misrepresent the product to the consumer. This is different than other types of fraud claims, in which the plaintiff must prove that the defendant knew that the representations were in some way false, or were made recklessly.
To prove and win a DTPA case, we must show:
- The plaintiff was a consumer
- The defendant engaged in conduct prohibited by DTPA
- The prohibited conduct caused economic and mental damages to the plaintiff
Defendants can be held liable even if they did not intentionally mislead the consumer.
What to Expect
If you have experienced a violation under the DTPA, it is important to retain counsel to ensure you are compensated fairly. Your lawyer will first inform the seller of the nature of the dispute in a written notice. This notification is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit. If the seller does not comply with your request within the designated time frame, your lawyer can file a suit on your behalf. The at-fault party may be held accountable for deceptive practices by way of:
- A court-ordered injunction
- A restoration order
- Revocation of their business license
- Damages to you covering any monetary and emotional losses
- Recovery for any legal fees
- Additional damages if the seller acted intentionally or knowingly
We will pursue all avenues to protect your rights as a consumer.
Secure the Legal Counsel You Need
A company that has caused you harm as a result of misrepresentation should be held accountable. Our attorneys, Mr. Akin and Mr. Burton, will advocate tirelessly on your behalf to help you achieve justice. We encourage you to schedule a consultation by calling us at (903) 297-8929, or by contacting us online.