Consumer Protection Law
Have you lost money as a result of someone misrepresenting goods or services that you have purchased or leased? If so, you may have a valid consumer protection claim under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). If you would like to find out if the DTPA applies to your situation and how you may be able to recover damages for your loss, contact San Antonio consumer protection lawyer Jeramie Gertz. He proudly assists people throughout Bexar County and beyond in bringing these claims. Jeramie Gertz also represents individuals who are seeking guidance with an estate planning matter or a Social Security Disability application, or who need a personal injury attorney to advocate for their rights.Bringing a Claim under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act
To protect consumers from unfair business practices, the state of Texas enacted the DTPA in 1973. The DTPA is a broad consumer protection law designed specifically to help people who have been defrauded of money when they have purchased or leased goods or services that are not up to the standards that were claimed or advertised. In other words, it provides a right of action to a wide variety of individuals who may have been “ripped off.”
Nearly every good or service leased or purchased in the state of Texas is subject to the protections afforded by the DTPA, including automobiles, houses, commercial property, appliances, clothing, electronics, food, vacation packages, event tickets, or household services. This law prohibits conduct that is false, misleading, deceptive, or unconscionable. While these terms can have somewhat vague meanings, there is now a vast body of case law that helps to establish how the law has been applied in many situations. Some of the practices prohibited under the DTPA include false advertising, selling “knock-off” goods as authentic, selling used goods as new, misrepresenting guarantees or warranties of goods or services, and more.
A victim who has been defrauded of funds under the DTPA has the right to sue the seller or lessor for damages suffered. For example, remedies may cover the costs of repair, losses as a result of loss of use, the loss of an item’s value, or the difference between the amount paid and the item’s true fair market value. In addition, plaintiffs may be able to obtain reimbursement for related expenses, such as interest payments, taxes, and direct costs of bringing the claim, like attorney’s fees.
Under the DTPA, a claim generally must be brought within two years of when the item or service in question was purchased or leased. In some cases, however, it must be brought within two years of when the consumer, exercising reasonable diligence, discovered or should have discovered the deceptive trade or practice. The plaintiff must establish the following elements:
- The plaintiff was the actual or intended consumer of the goods or services;
- The DTPA applies to the defendant;
- The defendant committed an act deemed wrongful under the DPTA; and
- The wrongful act was the cause of the damages suffered by the plaintiff.
If you have been defrauded of funds in a practice covered by the DTPA, San Antonio consumer protection attorney Jeramie Gertz can help you aggressively pursue damages for your loss. Since the DTPA provides for an award of attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff, you do not have to worry about whether you can afford to sue. Contact Jeramie Gertz at 210-807-4444, or use our online form to set up a free and confidential case evaluation. He proudly serves people throughout Bexar, Maverick, Medina, Guadalupe, Comal, Kendall, Bandera, and Atascosa Counties. If you need an injury, SSDI, or estate planning attorney, Jeramie Gertz can also guide you through the legal process in any of those areas.