Houston Deceptive Trade Practices Lawyer
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(Note: We do not handle automobile-related claims or DTPA claims involving vehicles against auto dealers or manufacturers.)
Disputes over deceptive trade practices involve a wide range of misleading activities in Houston and throughout Texas. Claims under the state Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) can range from a customer complaint about bait-and-switch marketing tactics to lawsuits relating to warranties and service agreements. If you have been sued for an alleged deceptive trade practice, you will need a knowledgeable DTPA attorney to protect your interests.
The attorneys at Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey have more than a century of collective experience providing legal counsel and aggressive representation to clients on both sides of commercial disputes. We handle select cases involving the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, generally those involving allegations greater than $50,000.
The best way to win is to prepare aggressively.
Our lawyers use this approach in all areas of deceptive trade practice law, including:
- Warranty disputes
- Breach of contract, service, or installation disputes
- Misrepresentation of services
- Misrepresentation of product features
- Giving false and misleading information
- Bait-and-switch sales tactics
What Is the Deceptive Trade Practices Act?
In Texas, the DTPA prohibits false, misleading or deceptive acts in trade and commerce. The law was enacted in 1973 and quickly became a powerful tool to combat many types of fraud and misrepresentation in Texas. In 1995, legislators revised the act to limit damages, exempt some larger transactions and limit the original act in other ways.
However, the DTPA remains an important tool for all types of consumers and a concern for businesses throughout Texas. It is also complex. The issue of who may sue under the act and what potential violations they may sue for is often clear cut-but not always.
That's where our law firm can help. For 30+ years, our firm has provided clients with high-level counsel in a wide range of business law and business litigation matters. We have the knowledge to assess your legal problem to determine whether the DTPA applies and what defenses you may have.
In some cases, disputes over deceptive trade agreements are handled as disputes between two businesses or between an individual consumer and a business. In others, the Texas Attorney General may become involved. If your business is being investigated by the Office of the Attorney General for allegations of deceptive trade practices, our law firm can help. We represent clients in administrative law matters with the OAG and other state and federal agencies.
Who Can Sue Under the DTPA?
The DTPA applies to consumers, a term that encompasses much more than individuals. It also includes partnerships, corporations and even the state of Texas. Business consumers are excluded if they have assets of $25 million or more.
In general, however, a broad range of individuals and businesses can use the DTPA.
The DTPA applies to consumers who seek or acquire goods or services. Both purchases and leases apply. The 1995 changes to the act exempt some types of cases, including professional services, personal injury claims, and some large transactions. However, these exemptions do not apply in all cases. In ambiguous cases, our clients are thankful that our firm understands the gray areas of the DTPA.
What Kinds of Actions Are Prohibited?
The DTPA covers a broad range of misleading, false or deceptive practices. In fact, Section 17.46(b) lists 27 practices that could violate the act, and others could also be considered violations of the DTPA.
In general, the act covers:
- Misrepresentations regarding goods and services
- Misrepresentations regarding agreements and legal rights
- Failures to disclose, as long as the defendant knew information about a good or service and failed to disclose it to induce the transaction
- Breaches of warranty
What Damages Are Available Under a DTPA Claim?
Under the DTPA, consumers-whether businesses or individuals-can obtain economic damages for their losses. In some cases, they may also obtain damages for mental anguish. If a court finds the defendant acted intentionally or knowingly, it could award the consumer additional damages of up to three times the amount of economic and mental damages. Attorneys' fees may also be awarded to consumers.
Contact Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey: (713) 909-7323
Contact our offices to arrange a consultation with an attorney on our business litigation team today. To schedule an appointment, call (713) 909-7323 or fill out an online form.