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Consumer protection in Texas

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2017 | Civil Litigation

Under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices–Consumer Protection Act, consumers may file claims for false or misleading acts that are unlawful under the DTPA. Deceptive acts prohibited under the statute also include statements and practices made in commercial or trade dealings. The statute lists several specific acts but provides that the list is not comprehensive.

The statute specifically targets false, misleading, or confusing statements and representations made in connection with the sale, pricing, quality, and advertisement of goods or services. However, prohibited acts also include making false or misleading statements in connection with the formation of contracts and rights or remedies connected thereto. It is unlawful to induce consumers to transact for goods or services on terms that they would not otherwise agree to but for a vendor failing to disclose material information.

Under the DPTA, a consumer may be an individual or business that purchases or leases goods or services or who “seeks” to do so, with some limitations. The definition of “consumer” does not include businesses with assets of $25 million or more or businesses owned by an entity that owns $25 million or more in assets.

If a consumer has relied on an act or practice that is false, misleading, or deceptive under the statute, he or she can file a lawsuit for economic damages or damages for mental anguish. A consumer who prevails in such an action is entitled to necessary attorney fees and court costs.

The Texas Attorney General may also sue for violations of the DPTA. On the official website of The Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton, 45 lawsuits by the attorney general are listed, which represent only a portion of the cases prosecuted by its office.