Florida Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA)
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is a law that protects consumers, as well as competing businesses, from unfair tactics. Businesses sometimes use unfair tactics so customers will pay more than is reasonable for goods and services. If you think you have been treated unfairly, or tricked, by a Florida business, it is important to speak to a Florida FDUTPA attorney that can help you make things right.
What is the FDUTPA?
Businesses employ many strategies to get ahead of the competition and to take advantage of customers. The FDUTPA was designed to stop these practices and to give customers and competing businesses a method of remedying the situation when businesses try to act unfairly.
The FDUTPA was enacted in Florida in 1973 and the protections from wrongdoing it provides are many. To have a claim under the FDUTPA, you must prove:
- A business engaged in an unfair or deceptive trade practice
- The unfair or deceptive trade practice caused consumers harm
- Consumers suffered actual l osses as a result
Under the FDUTPA, a deceptive or unfair trade practice does not have to be intentional in order for consumers to take legal action. A business must have only attempted to persuade consumers to pay more for a product or service than it is reasonably worth.
Common Deceptive Business Practices
A business may engage in any number of deceptive business practices. Some of the most common include:
- False advertising, such as ‘bait and switch’ campaigns
- Falsely claiming used goods are brand new
- Falsely stating a product or vehicle is in need of replacement or repair
- Including improper fees into a contract or invoice without notifying the consumer
- Including unauthorized charges onto a phone bill, also known as cramming
- Billing for the delivery of goods that were not ordered and accepting payment unless the consumer declines
- Price gouging after a state of emergency
- False claims from salespeople that they hold a position of authority only to make a sale
- Placing sponsored content and ads within actual news articles to make them appear more legitimate
Depending on the court any specific case is heard, unlawful debt collection practices are also sometimes covered under the FDUTPA.
Common Businesses Associated with the FDUTPA
Although any business could treat consumers unfairly, there are some industries that are more likely to abuse their customers than others. These are as follows:
- Pest control companies
- Travel agencies
- Timeshare companies
- Flooring installers and sellers
- Prepaid calling card companies
- Private schools
- Debt relief companies
- Data security firms
- Mechanics and automotive sales
Of course, not every business within these industries are dishonest. However, consumers should be particularly careful when using these services.
Our Business Lawyers in Florida Can Help
If you have been the victim of unfair business practices, our Florida business lawyers are here to help. At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our skilled attorneys know how to hold businesses accountable when they treat their customers unfairly, and we want to put our experience to work for you. Call us today at 561-291-8298 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and obtain the sound legal advice you need.