Consumers are frequently the victims of unscrupulous businesses that tack on undisclosed fees or costs and mislead you about what they or their products do or don’t do.
When this occurs, you can sue a company for unfair business practices. Fortunately, Florida has a special law to try to protect consumers from the bad apples that is called Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). FDUTPA protects consumers and legitimate business enterprises from those who “engage in unfair methods of competition, or unconscionable, deceptive, or unfair acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” FDUTPA allows you to bring claims for monetary damages for the value you lost because of the deceptive conduct. It also allows you to get injunctive relief to stop the business from harming other people.
FDUTPA allows recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs from the business engaged in deceptive conduct, so there is potentially more money left for you. It also allows people to bring claims that may not have a large dollar value and thus might not be able to bring suit due to cost and time constraints. It also provides you with a chance to help your fellow consumer.
What are some illegal business practices under FDUTPA?
Here are just a few examples that may lead to an unfair business practices lawsuit:
- Charging an undisclosed fee or cost
- Misrepresenting information about a product
- Misrepresentations about cars, trucks, and other vehicles
- Unauthorized charges on cable, phone, and utility bills
- Adding goods and services onto bills and invoices
- Price gouging on repairs, gas, and other necessities after a storm
What are some deceptive trade practices that may lead to an unfair business practices lawsuit under FDUTPA?
Here are some places you should look for deceptive representations:
- Ticket contracts for cruises, airlines, shore excursions, vacation rentals, rental cars, new cars, used cars, and other events
- Online terms and conditions
- Utility bills
- Repair invoices from car and boat mechanics
- Quotes and contracts from contractors
- Quotes and contracts from service providers and vendors
- Representing used items as new
How can we prevent unfair or deceptive trade practices?
The best way to prevent unfair and deceptive trade practices is by holding these businesses accountable. For many large and powerful businesses, unfair business practices lawsuits (and fear of them) are the only thing that keeps them in check.Back to Unfair Business Practices