California consumer protection laws intend to protect consumers from unlawful trade practices, like bait and switch advertising, pyramid schemes, identity theft, phishing, and others. Deceptive trade practice statutes hinder a number of deceptive trade practices deemed to be false, misleading or deceptive. A deceptive trade practice is a fraudulent activity in which an individual or business tries to mislead or lure consumers into purchasing their product or service. Such practices include disinformation, false advertising, labeling, odometer tampering, etc.
Deceptive trade practices are viewed as an offense against consumers and can have special law enforcement status. In some states, such kind of practices may result in criminal prosecution. Some other states have statutes that provide private enforcement.
The victims of deceptive trade practices have the right to sue a business or an individual for violating deceptive trade practice laws. They are entitled to punitive or/and statutory fines to recover punitive damages.
Many states have adopted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA) which covers almost all the prohibitions and issues addressed in state laws. However, California has not adopted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. In the state, deceptive trade practices are dealt under California Business and Professions Code § 17500 et seq. Sections 17500, 17500.5 and 17505 prohibit false advertisements.
Common Deceptive Trade Practices
The list of offenses defined as deceptive trade practices is basically the same in every state, with few variations. The most common trade practices defined as “deceptive” include:
- False representation of the source, sponsorship, approval, certification, accessories, characteristics, benefits, or quantities of a good or service.
- Representing goods as original or new when, in fact, they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, or used.
- Falsely stating that certain services, replacements, or repairs are needed.
- Bait and switch tactics. That is advertising goods or services with the intent of not selling them as advertised.
- Rolling an odometer of a vehicle back to reduce the number of miles indicated.
- Passing off goods or services as those of another.
- Representing goods or services as having a sponsorship, approval, sponsorship, or certification of goods or services.
If you believe you have a claim for deceptive trade practice, the knowledgeable and skillful consumer protection attorneys at the Margarian law firm are ready to help you have a successful claim and ensure that businesses adhere to legal regulations.