What Remedies are Available Under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA)?
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is a state law that protects businesses and consumers against fraudulent, deceptive, or other unlawful commercial practices. Unlike its federal counterpart, the statute contains a clear private right of action—meaning a business or a consumer can file a lawsuit against the responsible party for an FDUTPA violation.
This raises an important question: What legal remedies are available through an FDUTPA lawsuit? In general, the law limits plaintiffs to recovering financial compensation for ‘actual damages.’ Below, our Miami business and consumer fraud lawyers provide a more detailed overview of what you need to do to pursue your remedies under the FDUTPA.
Step #1: Prove a Deceptive Act or Unfair Practice Occurred
To access the legal remedies available under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, a plaintiff must first prove that violative conduct occurred. Fraud and deception can come in a wide range of different forms. Some examples include:
- Bait and switch tactics;
- Unauthorized charges;
- Delivery of defective products/merchandise;
- Material misrepresentations; and
- Failure to disclose defects/material omissions.
Ultimately, all FDUTPA claims must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. What constitutes fraud and/or unlawful deception is a highly fact specific matter. That being said, Florida courts consistently found that practices aimed at materially misleading or misrepresenting businesses or consumers violate the law.
Step #2: Link the Improper Commercial Act to Tangible Harm
Remedies are only available through an FDUTPA lawsuit if the plaintiff can prove causation between the defendant’s unlawful conduct and the harm they suffered. Without causation, there are no remedies available under the statute. Notably, Florida courts have found plaintiffs are not required to provide specific evidence of subject reliance on the defendant’s representations/promises. Instead, it is sufficient to prove a reasonable business or consumer would have relied on the defendant’s representations.
Step #3: Prove the Full Extent of Actual Damages Suffered
The primary legal remedy under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is actual damages. That is to say that a plaintiff can seek financial compensation for the tangible harm it suffered as a direct consequence of deceptive or unfair conduct. In other words, consequential damages and special damages generally cannot be recovered under the statute. If you or your company suffered financial harm due to an FDUTPA violation, it is imperative that you carefully document the full extent of your losses.
Call Our Florida Business and Consumer Fraud Attorneys Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business and consumer fraud lawyers have skills and legal expertise to protect your rights. We are here to help you get justice and the maximum compensation. If you have any questions about your available remedies under the FDUTPA, we can help. Call us today to get a confidential, no obligation review of your case. From our West Palm Beach and Miami offices, we handle FDUTPA claims throughout all of South Florida.