Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices
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Unfair and deceptive trade practices undermine consumer protection. In the United States, it is the responsibility of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to manage the incidence of deceptive trade practices used in advertising campaigns. The FTC’s consumer protection laws regulate the relative veracity of advertising and marketing campaigns. In addition to consumer protection statutes of the FTC, each state has consumer protection laws that closely mirror the language of the FTC’s statutes. The FTC and state-level consumer protection laws work towards eliminating the frequency of deception in order to provide consumers with all the information they have the right to know when making a purchase based off of an advertising campaign. Disclosing all important and pertinent information to consumers via marketing of products and services is of incredible importance in preventing injury and harm to consumers.
False advertising pertains to the use of spurious and incomplete information used to market a company’s products and services that influence consumers into making a purchase. False advertising also pertains to charging consumers for undisclosed fees for products and services. In the case of cellular phone service providers, attorneys at Carey Danis & Lowe have worked on class action lawsuits filed against major providers of wireless cell phone service who were “cramming” their clients’ cell phone bills with third party fees. In the case of wireless cell phone providers’ fraudulent bill cramming schemes, the clients were never made aware of the excessive fees being added to their monthly service bills, nor did these clients ever voluntary opt into the receipt of third party services that would justifiably warrant a fee. Attorneys at Carey Danis & Lowe are highly experienced in consumer protection litigation and can provide expert legal counsel to victims of unfair and deceptive trade practices. If you have fallen victim to an unfair and deceptive trade practice, contact a consumer protection litigator at Carey Danis & Lowe.
Consumer protection laws are federal and state statutes governing sales and credit practices involving consumer goods. Such statutes prohibit and regulate deceptive or unconscionable advertising and sales practices, product quality, credit financing and reporting, debt collection, leases, and other aspects of consumer transactions.
The goal of consumer protection laws is to place consumers, who are average citizens engaging in business deals such as buying goods or borrowing money, on an even par with companies or citizens who regularly engage in business. Historically, consumer transactions—purchases of goods or services for personal, family, or household use—were presumed fair because it was assumed that buyers and sellers bargained from equal positions. Starting in the 1960s, legislatures began to respond to complaints by consumer advocates that consumers were inherently disadvantaged, particularly when bargaining with large corporations and industries. Several types of agencies and statutes, both state and federal, now work to protect consumers.
Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices
False Advertising is often the cause of consumer complaints. At common law, a consumer had the right to bring an action against a false advertiser for Fraud, upon proving that the advertiser made false representations about the product, that these representations were made with the advertiser’s knowledge of or negligent failure to discover the falsehoods, and that the consumer relied on the false advertisement and was harmed as a result
Truth in Lending Act
Consumer credit—home mortgages, student financial aid, and credit cards, for example—is an area fraught with complicated finance terms, and Congress has designed laws requiring lenders to fully disclose and explain those terms to potential borrowers.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Consumer Protection Act was amended in 1996 to include the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Public Law 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 ). Congress passed the law to address the abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices used by many debt collectors. Personal, family, and household debts are covered under the act.
Warranties are promises by a manufacturer, made to the consumer purchasing the manufacturer’s product, that the product will serve the purpose for which it was designed. The Uniform Commercial Code is a law, adopted in some form in all states, that regulates sales transactions and specifically the three most common types of consumer warranties: express, merchantability, and fitness.
Laws protecting consumers vary in the remedies they provide to consumers for violations. Many federal laws merely provide for public agencies to enforce consumer regulations by investigating and resolving consumer complaints. For example, in the case of a false advertisement, a common remedy is the FTC-ordered removal of the offensive advertisements from the media. In other circumstances, consumers may be entitled to money damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees; these remedies can be effective in a case involving a breach of warranty.