Florida Deceptive And Unfair Trade Practices (FDUTPA Florida Statutes)
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is a law that protects lawful business enterprises and the consumers from unethical methods of competition, unreasonable practices or acts during any commerce or trade. You can violate the FDUPTA in two ways:
- A ‘traditional’ violation
- A ‘per se’ violation
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUPTA) can be found in the Florida Statutes 501.201 – 501.213. Formulated after the Federal Trade Commission Act, FDUTPA prohibits unfair competition, as well as illegal, or dishonest trade practices. It is different than its federal counterpart, since Florida statutes offer a private right of actions to individuals, while under the federal act, only the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may sue to enforce the law. The best lawyers who practice business law will know these technicalities and will be able to save their clients time and money in handling their lawsuit.
This law is designed to protect competing businesses and consumers from an extensive range of misleading and false tactics that trick customers into paying for goods or services they never received or into paying more for goods and services than was advertised. A standard claim for damages under the FDUTPA has three main elements, which include:
- A deceptive act or unfair practice
- Actual damages
In comparison, a per se violation of the FDUTPA can be caused by a transgression of any ordinance, regulation, rule, statute, or law that proscribes unfair methods of competition, or deceptive, unconscionable, or unfair acts of practices.
The Stated Purpose of FDUTPA
The purpose of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is to protect businesses and consumers by the following means:
- Modernize, clarify, and simplify the laws around consumer protection, unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable trade practices, and unfair methods of competition.
- Protecting legitimate business enterprises and the consuming public from those engaging in unfair, unconscionable, and deceptive practices in the conduct of any trade or unfair methods of competition.
- Make state enforcement and consumer protection consistent with established policies of federal law related to consumer protection.
The Florida statutes protect anyone, who suffers from another’s unconscionable, unfair, or deceptive practices, and allows them to bring an action to obtain:
- An order for actual damages suffered, and court costs and attorney’s fees.
- An order to force that person to stop their unlawful practices or acts.
- A court declaration that the practice or act you are being harmed by is a violation of the statute.
The Florida statute doesn’t specify any conduct or actions that violate the law, but it does reference any acts or conduct that is declared unlawful by the FTC.
Experienced and Professional FDUTPA Attorneys
At Shiner Law Group, our business lawyers have experienced and professional FDUTPA attorneys, with an extensive record of winning FDUTPA cases for businesses and consumers in Florida. The FDUTPA outlaw’s unconscionable practices or acts, unfair methods of competition, and unlawful practices and acts. Our lawyers have encountered various kinds of deceptive practices over the years, and some of the most common tactics business engage in, which violate the law include:
- “Bait and Switch” or other misleading or false advertising
- Adding unauthorized charges onto a phone bill (cramming)
- Deceptively placing sponsored content or ads among actual news items in online marketing
- Delivering goods that weren’t ordered and billing unless customer declines (negative options)
- Falsely claiming that a product or vehicle needs replacement or repair
- Misrepresenting used goods as new
- Price gouging during a state of emergency or after a flood, or hurricane
- Salespeople misrepresenting their authority to close a sale or negotiate terms
- Slipping undisclosed or improper fees into a bill or contract
In most courts, unlawful debt collection practices also come under the FDUTPA, since unfair debt collection is prohibited by other laws, like the Florida Consumer Collections Act (FDCPA).
If you’re experiencing problems with a collections agency, our consumer rights lawyers, will find the law that applies to your situation, and put an end to all abusive practices.
Watch out for Serial Abusers of Consumer Rights
Any business may engage in unfair or deceptive practices, but there are some industries in Florida that are more prone to committing this abuse than others. These industries include the following:
- Sellers of travel packages
- Sellers of prepaid calling cards
- Sellers and installers of flooring
- Resellers of timeshares
- For-profit schools
- Debt relief agencies
- Data security firms
- Automotive sales and service centers
If you think that you have experienced an abuse of your consumer rights then you may have a claim. Remember, in bringing your claim you are also fighting for other individuals who may have been wronged but never took the appropriate correct steps to protect their legal rights. As outlined above, the industries that infringe on people’s consumer rights get away with harming others because people do not always know where to turn for answers… if you are looking for the best business attorney then call the lawyers at Shiner Law Group to discuss your rights. Act now, get in touch with Shiner Law Group today to speak with our FDUTPA lawyers today.
Exceptions of the FDUTPA
The Florida statute has carved out some exceptions regarding what and where the FDUTPA doesn’t apply to. These are known as exceptions of the FDUTPA and include the following:
- A claim for death or personal injury, or a claim for damage to property.
- A practice or act specifically permitted by state or federal law
- A printer, broadcaster, or a publisher engaging in reproducing printed materials or distributing information, including pictures, if they are being distributed without any knowledge of violation.
Any activity or person being regulated by laws set by:
- The Office of Insurance Regulation of the Financial Services Commission.
- Loan associations, savings, and banks regulated by the Office of Financial Regulation of the Financial Services Commission.
- Florida Public Services Commission
- The former Department of Insurance, which is now administered by the Department of Financial Services
There are further exceptions to the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, which is why it is important to acquire the services of an experienced and knowledgeable FDUTPA attorney. If you feel that your Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act rights have been violated, please get in touch with Shiner Law Group today!
Legal Representation from Professionals for FDUTPA
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) authorizes all private citizens to bring legal action against dishonest businesses. With the best legal representation you can get a successful resolution to your case, which will allow you to recover any actual damages you suffered, like the difference in price you paid, and what you should have paid. Apart from that, the other party will also pay for your court costs and attorney’s fees. In Florida, consumers have rights! If you are searching for legal answers to your business questions then do not hesitate to call a the Shiner Law Group and our top business lawyers.
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t let another business take advantage of you with unscrupulous and dishonest business practices in Florida. Call the experienced FDUTPA lawyers at Shiner Law Group, at (561) 777-7700 today, for a free consultation today! Or fill out our online case evaluation form and we will have an attorney contact you immediately.
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