Filing a Complaint for Unfair or Deceptive Business/Trade Practices

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It’s been said that all is fair in love and war – but the same doesn’t necessarily apply for business.

Under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, unfair or deceptive acts or trade practices in the marketplace are prohibited. A practice is considered unfair or deceptive if it will likely mislead or induce a reasonable consumer, to purchase a product to that consumer's detriment.

Unfair or deceptive practices are often committed by businesses against consumers and it usually involves fraud, misrepresentation or other oppressive or illicit acts. Here are some examples of unfair or deceptive trade practices:

  • False advertising
  • Pricing goods or services at a much higher rate than what is marked, published or advertised
  • Deceptive pricing (i.e. claiming goods are on sale or at a special price even if there is no actual reduction)
  • Trying to pass off one's goods as those of a competitor
  • Deceptive Lending

This law is implemented through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a federal agency who not only regulates unfair or deceptive trade practices but also receives and handles consumer complaints.

The following elements must be present for the FTC to consider the company’s actions or trade practices to be unfair or deceptive:

  • It goes against or is offensive to public policy, common law, or statutes
  • Is immoral, unethical, oppressive, or unscrupulous
  • It substantially injured consumers

Take note that it is important that substantially injury to consumers must be proved as this is the most important consideration. However, your claim may be disproved if the consumer injury is outweighed by benefits to other consumers or the industry or that such injury could not have been reasonably avoided.

If you are either a consumer or a debtor who feel deceived or swindled of your money’s worth or suffered any personal injury or pain and emotional distress, it would be best for you acquire the services of an attorney who is either well-versed in product liability or personal injury.

It is not easy to go against giant companies or manufacturers so it would take legal expertise to actually know whether you have a valid claim and if it can be successfully filed.

A lawyer will be able to assist you in filing an unfair and deceptive trade practices complaint. Selecting the right lawyer however is of paramount importance because if you win your case, you may also be awarded punitive damages aside from the typical award of compensatory damages and legal fees.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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