Can You File a Lawsuit Against a Competing Business Under the FDUTPA?
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is one of our state’s most important consumer protection laws. Yet, the law does not only apply to consumers. Businesses also have the right to take legal action under the FDUTPA. In fact, a company may file an FDUTPA claim against one of its competitors. Here, our Miami deceptive & unfair trade practices attorneys explain the most important things you need to know about suing a competing business for violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Competitor Businesses Have Standing Under the FDUTPA
The protections found in the FDUPTA applies to more than just individual consumers. Nearly two decades ago, Florida lawmakers revised state statutes to clarify that businesses also have rights under this law. The effect is that businesses have clear standing under the FDUTPA. As it states in the statute, the anti-fraud law exists to “protect the consuming public and legitimate business enterprises from those who engage in unfair methods of competition, or unconscionable, deceptive, or unfair acts or practices.” When a competing firm engages in an unfair or deceptive commercial practice, it can cause real harm to your business.
A Successful Lawsuit Requires Establishing a Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practice
In order to bring a successful lawsuit against a competing company under our state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, you must prove that the defendant violated the law. Florida courts have repeatedly noted that the term “unfair or deceptive act” must be construed broadly. It covers a wide range of different illegitimate commercial activity, including:
- False advertising;
- Material misrepresentations in sales pitches;
- Bait and switch tactics;
- The use of abusive terms on contracts; and
- The inclusion of hidden, deceptive fees.
Proving Damages Can Be an Issue for Competitors
As with other business lawsuits, plaintiffs should be prepared to prove their damages. The FDUTPA gives competing businesses the right to recover “actual damages” from a defendant that violates state law. At the same time, Florida courts will only award damages in these lawsuits when a plaintiff can present a strong case demonstrating that they have suffered losses as a consequence of the defendant’s unfair or deceptive conduct.
The more directly you can link financial damages to misconduct on the part of the competing business, the better position you will be in to recover financial compensation in a lawsuit. If you are considering filing an FDUTPA lawsuit against a competing company, an experienced Florida business fraud lawyer can help you build a compelling, well-documented legal case.
Call Our Miami, FL Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices Attorneys Today.
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in business and consumer fraud claims. If you have any questions about bringing a claim as a competitor under the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, we are here to help. For a confidential consultation, please call us today. We represent businesses and organizations in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and beyond.