What Is Florida’s “Little FTC Act”?
The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 (FTC Act) is one of the most important nationwide consumer protection laws. Signed by President Woodrow Wilson, the FTC Act makes unfair methods of commerce and competition unlawful. Many states have their own version of the FTC Act, including Florida. Modeled after the long-standing federal statute, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is sometimes referred to simply as the “Little FTC Act.”Here, our Miami deceptive and unfair trade practices lawyers provide an overview of this law.
Florida’s Little FTC Act Bars Deceptive and Unfair Commercial Practices
Much like its federal counterpart, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act bars unfair commercial practices. What constitutes unlawful conduct under the act depends on many different factors. Some examples of deceptive and unfair practices that are barred by Florida law include:
- False advertising;
- Material misrepresentations;
- Misleading bait-and-switch schemes;
- Breach of contract; and
- Violations of other commercial statutes.
Florida Law Gives Consideration to Federal Law
As noted previously, Florida’s deceptive and unfair trades practices law was actually modeled after the federal FTC Act. In defining what constitutes an unfair commercial practice, Florida law gives consideration to federal law. Acts that have been found unlawfully “misleading or likely to be misleading” for the purposes of the FTC Act by federal courts are also likely barred by the FDUTPA.
Enforcement Comes From Individuals, Businesses, and Regulators
State regulators can take enforcement action against businesses, organizations, and other parties that violate the FDUTPA. That being said, private parties also have the right to file a lawsuit. This is the key difference between the FTC Act and Florida’s Little FTC Act. Federal law has no private right of action. A case must be initiated by the government. However, a private business or private consumer has the right to file a Little FTC Act claim in Florida. If you suffered losses due to unfair or deceptive practices in Florida, you can seek compensation through a lawsuit.
Little FTC Act Claims are Limited to Actual Damages
Under Florida law, you are entitled to seek compensation for losses caused by an improper commercial practice. A court may award compensation for “actual” damages sustained. For this reason, it is imperative that any losses suffered as a consequence of a company’s unfair or deceptive trade practice are carefully documented. To get full and fair financial compensation for your damages through an FDUTPA claim, you will need to prove that you or your business suffered actual losses.
Speak to Our Miami FDUTPA Claims Attorneys Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business and consumer fraud lawyers have the skills and knowledge to handle state-based FDUTPA claims and federal-based FTC Act claims. If you have any questions about your rights, we are here to help. Give us a call today to arrange your strictly confidential case evaluation. Our firm serves communities all over Southeastern Florida, including Miami, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton Palm Beach Gardens, and West Palm Beach.