Consumer Protection – The Deceptive Trade Practice Acts Statute (DTPA)
The Deceptive Trade Practice Acts Statute (DTPA) is a Texas law designed to protect consumers from false, misleading, or deceptive business practices, unconscionable consent, and breach of warranty. This law can be useful if you have been wrongfully damaged in consumer transactions due to false deception, misleading conduct, or false representation. Examples of consumer transactions are: purchasing a home, a car, a boat, a television, or any other big ticket item. The DTPA covers transactions that pertain to property, business, and consumer purchases.
The DTPA exists to protect consumers from deceptive practices of merchants who through falsity, deception, and unfairness trick or coerce a consumer into purchasing a faulty or inferior product. The DTPA is liberally construed by Texas Courts to give the consumer the greatest benefit in remedying any damage he may have sustained from unfair practices. The most common claim under the DTPA is found in Texas Business & Commercial Code § 17.46(b) [Laundry List]: this section states multiple specified misrepresentations that are relied on by a consumer to the consumer’s detriment.
If a merchant is found to have violated the DTPA then the consumer may be able to recover actual damages, attorney’s fees, and any equitable remedy available to the specific case. If the consumer can prove that the merchant’s actions lead to mental anguish, then the consumer may be awarded mental anguish damages as well. Further, if the consumer can prove that the merchant or seller “Knowingly” committed this falsity, deception, or unfairness then the consumer may be able to receive three times the actual damages.
If you feel that you have been deceived unfairly, then you should contact a lawyer that has experiences in these matters. Many times you may feel as if you do not have any recourse and must “take the hit” regarding a bad or crooked deal. Just remember this is not always a “learning experience” and that there is a remedy under Texas law if you have been treated with a gross unfairness or false misrepresentations that have harmed you.