The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) is focused on protecting consumers, both as individuals and corporations, against:
- False, deceptive, or misleading practices
- Any kind of breach of warranty
- Unconscionable actions from business
The following unpacks what the DTPA covers, how it works, and the potential penalties for DTPA violations.
About the DTPA
The Deceptive Trade Practices Act details various practices that are illegal for businesses to use with regard to consumers, advertising, product packaging, sales, and more.
Enforced by the Texas Attorney General and aimed at protecting consumers against scams, the DTPA outlines how and when consumers can sue businesses for violating this Act, setting forth specific statutes of limitations and prerequisites for filing lawsuits.
Examples of DTPA Violations
Violations of the DTPA can take various forms, including (but not limited to):
- False advertising
- Intentionally deceiving consumers by making them think they have to buy certain parts, products, or services
- Mischaracterizing the uses, origins, or certifications associated with a product, a service, or the service provider
- Misrepresenting the quality or standard of the goods or services, characterizing them to be of higher quality or standards than they actually are
- Failing to disclose information during a transaction that would alter the consumer’s decision to purchase the item or service
- Taking advantage of consumers’ lack of knowledge or experience in a particular area to a “grossly unfair degree”
These and other violations of the DTPA can trigger temporary restraining orders against the alleged violators, as well as permanent injunctions and possibly lawsuits.
How to Sue After DTPA Violations
Very specific procedures must be followed in order to take legal action over a DTPA violation. In fact, according to the DTPA:
- Consumers cannot file a lawsuit right out of the gate. There are preliminary steps that must be taken, including sending a registered or certified letter of written notice. This letter should explain the complaint to the seller, with sufficient detail, and clearly specify the damages requested.
- If the business does not provide the damages requested within 60 days of getting the letter, the consumer can, then, move forward to file a lawsuit.
With DTPA lawsuits, the available remedies can include (and not be limited to):
- Economic damages
- Damages for mental anguish
- Attorneys fees
- An injunction against the party that violated the DTPA
There is generally a 2-year-time limit for filing DTPA lawsuits, and if this action is necessary, it’s typically prudent to:
- Move forward quickly to gather as much available evidence as possible, before it potentially disappears.
- Retain an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process, protect your rights, and seek full, fair compensation.