Early this year, Uber was forced to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit for misleading drivers about how much they could make on the ridesharing service. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which started its investigation in 2015, alleged that drivers in New York were making an average of $61,000 a year—$29,000 less than former CEO Travis Kalanick claimed. Many Uber advertisements for markets across the United States, including Miami and Los Angeles, also exaggerated earning claims.
In short, this was false advertising—one of many deceptive trade practices—and Uber paid the price for it.
Deceptive Trade Practices
When an individual or a business engages in activity that is likely to deceive the consumer into purchasing a product or service, it is typically considered a “deceptive trade practice.” Some examples of deceptive trade practices include:
- Passing off someone else’s goods or services as your own
- Selling goods or services for a different price than advertised
- Claiming that goods and services are a certain quality, standard or style when they are not
- Designating goods or services a certain geographic location they do not have
- Advertising goods as new or original when they are used, deteriorated or second-hand
- Claiming that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, uses, ingredients, benefits or qualities they do not have
- Giving a low estimate for a job and then charging for a variety of “extras” in order to increase the price
- Engaging in any other conduct which creates a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding
The FTC regulates, among other things, unfair or deceptive trade practices. In Texas, the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) is the state’s primary consumer protection statute, which gives consumers the right to file a lawsuit.
How a Deceptive Trade Practice Claim May Be Resolved
If you are a consumer or individual who has been victimized through a deceptive trade practice, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit. In order to file a suit, you must send a prospective defendant a demand letter, which is typically drafted by an attorney. It must state your complaint in detail and have the damages you’ve incurred in dollar amount. Many times, a defendant may want to settle. If not, the case can go to court. You can file a suit 60 days after you have sent a demand letter.
Two ways a deceptive trade practice claim can be resolved include:
- Compensation: If actual damages are proven, you may be entitled to statutory damages to reimburse you for your losses. In severe cases, the court may require the defendant to pay triple the amount of losses.
- Equitable Relief: An equitable relief prevents a party from performing a particular act, such as claiming their product is a certain price or contains a certain ingredient, or forces them to follow certain measures.
Anyone can fall prey to the illegal tactics of unethical individuals and businesses. If you or someone you know has been the victim of deceptive trade practices, speak with a Dallas litigation attorney from Deans & Lyons, LLP today. We have a proven track record in business disputes, fraud, complex liability matters and intellectual property issues. Let us represent you.Call (844) 297-8898 or contact us online to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.