FDUTPA: An Overview of Deceptive Acts and Unfair Practices
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is the state’s most comprehensive consumer protection law. Through an FDUTPA claim, businesses and other parties can be held legally liable for losses caused by their deceptive and/or unfair conduct. This raises an important question: What constitutes a violation of the FDUTPA? The answer is not always so clear. In this article, our West Palm Beach deceptive unfair trade practices lawyers highlight five commercial practices that could have previously been deemed “deception” or “unfairness” by Florida courts.
Five Examples of Deceptive Acts and Unfair Practices in Florida
- False Advertising
Florida courts have consistently ruled that false advertising could constitute a violation of the FDUTPA. In advertising products or services, businesses have a basic legal responsibility to make accurate representations to consumers. Under Florida law, companies should have a reasonable basis for the claims that they are making in their ads. Misrepresentations or omissions could constitute unlawful deception.
- Material Misrepresentations
Beyond public facing advertising, businesses also have a legal responsibility to make fair and accurate representations in an individual sales pitch. They can be held liable for losses caused by a material misrepresentation. As a simple example, imagine that a car dealership stated that a used vehicle recently had a brand new engine installed. If that is not true, that representation violates the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
- Bait-and-Switch Tactics
Florida courts have ruled that bait-and-switch tactics may constitute deceptive and/or unfair practices under the state’s consumer protection law. A common example is of this is a contractor providing low initial estimates to its customers and then adding new charges at the last minute. While no estimate is perfect, a company that intentionally uses bait-and-switch tactics may be held liable for an FDUTPA violation. Businesses have a basic responsibility to treat customers fairly under the law.
- Breach of Contract
Breach of contract is its own cause of action. However, there are also some cases in which a contract breach violates the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. To bring an FDUTPA in relation to a breach of contract, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant not only failed to live up to their obligations under the agreement but also used some form of deceptive or unfair practices.
- Statutory Violations
Finally, Florida courts have held that certain statutory violations constitute deceptive and/or unfair conduct under the state’s consumer protection statute. Indeed, the law specifies that it is an unfair commercial practice to violate any rules promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or state regulatory agencies.
Call Our Miami, FL Fraud Lawyers for Immediate Help
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business and consumer fraud attorneys have extensive experience handling complex FDUTPA claims. If you have any questions about bringing a fraud lawsuit, we can help. Get in touch with us today for a fully confidential case evaluation. We represent shareholders throughout all of Southeast Florida, including in Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Coral Gables, and Jupiter.