Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA)

The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA) is a statute that helps prevent companies from taking advantage of Texas consumers through deceptive or misleading business practices, unconscionable actions and breaches of warranty. This statute, although constantly re-interpreted, represents a step towards more ethical standards in the day-to-day operations of businesses in Texas.

DTPA Coverage

The DTPA covers more than just the individual consumer; in fact, smaller enterprises also benefit from some of the standards set by the DTPA. The statute’s guidelines concerning consumer fraud, false statements, and breaches of warranty protect various transactions. In fact, they protect anything from grocery store purchases to six-figure business transactions.

However, you must qualify as a consumer to receive by the DTPA. A “consumer” under this act is an individual, partnership, company, organization or even a state agency that acquires any goods or services by purchase or lease. However, businesses with assets above $25 million do not qualify as consumers.

Notice Requirement

The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act requires that before filing suit, a consumer must send the seller a written notice at least 60 days prior. The notice should not threaten the other party but explain in detail the amount of economic damages, psychological damages and expenses incurred, including attorneys’ fees. If the seller fails to send the consumer the amount requested within 60 days of receiving the notice, the consumer may now file a lawsuit.

Unlawful Acts Under the DTPA

The DTPA makes it illegal for any individual or business participating in trade or commerce to engage in “unconscionable conduct.” Unconscionable conduct involves any act or behavior by the seller to take advantage of consumers’ lack of knowledge, experience, or ability in an unfair manner. The DTPA also lists many practices that deemed to be false, deceptive, or misleading such as:

  • Passing off used products as new ones
  • Making false statements about the manufacture or origin of a good or service
  • Exaggerating or misrepresenting the benefits or endorsements of a product or service

Other unlawful acts the DTPA include:

  • Exaggerating or misrepresenting the benefits or endorsements of a product or service
  • Breaching warranty of merchantability – the item can’t do what it is ordinarily used for
  • Breaching warranty of fitness – the item can not do what the salesperson said it would do

Relief for Customers

Above all, the DTPA gives consumers the right to sue for damages. If a seller committed these unlawful acts knowingly, a consumer may recover all the expenses incurred. In fact, you can seek up to three times the amount of economic damages. Contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas (LRS) in Austin toda We’ll listen to your DTPA or consumer matter to possibly connect you with a professional attorney with the right expertise to adequately represent you.

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