FLORIDA DECEPTIVE AND UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICE ACT
Deceptive and Unfair Practices
For consumers who are victims of deceptive or unfair business practices, Florida law known as the “Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act” (FDUTPA), Ch501, Fla. Stat., gives consumers strong legal protection against commercial wrongdoing. This Act was patterned after the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC), (15 USC §§ 45, et seq). The FDUTPA prohibits unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of trade or commerce. Unjustified consumer injury or financial loss is important and such loss may be substantial even if it does a small harm to a large number of people.
The unfairness and deceptiveness of various types of practices which have satisfied the criteria for FDUTPA class action lawsuits include:
- Coercion of the public into purchasing unwanted goods or services
Failing to give important price or performance information, leaving a buyer with insufficient information to make comparisons:
- Exerting undue influence over classes of purchasers through marketing efforts directed to those groups, such as persons with serious illnesses
- Consumers who buy defective goods or services on credit being unable to assert against the creditor claims or defenses arising from the transactions certain credit practices which have been held to be violations of the FTC
Class actions are an approved method for redressing harm (such as substantial consumer damages when a small loss is inflicted on a large number of people) which might otherwise leave the violation without an economically practical remedy. Under FDUTPA, the expressed statutory purpose of the law is to protect the consuming public and legitimate business enterprises from unfair acts and practices, and therefore, class action treatment is appropriate in many cases. Therefore, if you feel have been the victim of an unfair act or practice, don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
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