Houston Deceptive Trade Practices Defense Attorneys
Contact Our Experienced Team if You Have Been Sued
(Note: We do not handle automobile-related claims or DTPA claims against auto dealers or manufacturers.)
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 Cowart P.C. have more than a century of collective experience providing legal counsel and aggressive defense for clients involved in commercial disputes or Texas Attorney General investigations.
On This Page
- The Best Way to Win Is to Prepare Aggressively
- What Is the Deceptive Trade Practices Act?
- Who Can Sue?
- Which Acts or Practices Are Prohibited?
- What Damages Are Available?
Our lawyers use this approach in defending all types of deceptive trade practice claims, 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
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 – making it easier for defendants to fight back against frivolous claims.
However, the DTPA remains a concern for businesses throughout Texas due to its complexity. 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 is where our law firm can help. For 30+ years, our firm has provided business 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 to your situation and what defenses you may have.
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 assert claims under 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 light of this ambiguity, a law firm with DTPA experience is critical.
In most cases, disputes over deceptive trade agreements are handled as disputes between two businesses or between an individual consumer and a business. In other cases, however, the Texas Attorney General may become involved.
If your business is being investigated by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for allegations of deceptive trade practices, our law firm can help. We regularly represent clients in administrative law matters with the OAG and other state and federal agencies.
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.
While there are 27 acts or practices deemed false, deceptive or misleading under the Act, most claims are based on these practices:
- Misrepresentation regarding goods and services
- Misrepresentation regarding agreements or legal rights and remedies
- Failure to disclose, as long as the defendant knew information about a good or service and failed to disclose it (one of the few provisions of the act that requires proof of intent)
- Breaches of warranty
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.
The exposure to damages in a DTPA lawsuit in Texas can be much higher than a breach of contract action. Contact the experienced business litigation attorneys at Hendershot Cowart P.C. to prepare your defense today.
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