Wright Commercial Litigation represents clients throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area in claims based on the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA), often on a contingency or hybrid fee basis. The DTPA is designed to protect a purchaser from deceptive, unlawful, or unconscionable business practices related to the sale or lease of goods or services, such as those involving a fraudulent inducement to purchase. Most states have similar laws focused on consumer protection, yet Texas is unique in defining a “consumer” to also include businesses so long as they have less than $25 million in assets. That means the DTPA in Texas can apply to many types of deceptive practices and commercial transactions involving up to $500,000, in addition to ordinary purchases by an individual.
The DTPA statute in Texas has complex procedural and substantive requirements though, so it is crucial to have an experienced deceptive trade practices attorney on your side to make sure all the boxes are checked before a lawsuit is brought in order to avoid delay and leverage the statute’s remedial provisions to their fullest potential.
Wright Commercial Litigation has gained, by experience, deep knowledge of the statute’s intricacies and worked in the past to achieve favorable results for both individuals and businesses throughout Texas, in McKinney, Collin County, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area harmed by deceptive business practices.
How the DTPA Protects Consumers and Business Purchasers in Dallas-Fort Worth
The DTPA protects a purchaser from false, deceptive, or misleading practices, breach of warranty, and other unfair conduct. The statute itself contains a “laundry list” of activities deemed to be automatic violations, including:
- False or deceptive advertising
- False or misleading statements used for inducement of a sale
- Making false statements about or disparaging a competitor
- Misrepresenting the terms of an agreement, guarantee, or warranty
- Failing to disclose material information about the goods or services sold
- Misrepresentations in real estate transactions
- Price-gouging during an emergency or natural disaster
- Home and roof repair fraud (or misrepresenting a repair was done when it was not)
- Fraud and deceptive practices in construction or improvements
- Bad faith insurance denials and other violations of the Texas Insurance Code
- Unfair debt collection
- Deceptive investment schemes
- Breach of an express or implied warranty
- Any other “unconscionable” act or practice
Some Larger Transactions Are Not Covered by the Texas DTPA
Because the DTPA in Texas applies to businesses in addition to ordinary consumers, some transactions of a higher value or that typically involve attorneys are made exempt from the DTPA, including:
- Transactions involving a written contract for more than $100,000 (excluding a consumer’s residence) in which an attorney represented the consumer.
- All transactions over $500,000 that do not involve a consumer’s residence.
The best way to know and enforce your rights under the DTPA or in connection with any deceptive business practice is to work with an experienced commercial litigation attorney. Wright Commercial Litigation’s experience as a deceptive trade practices lawyer can help guide you through the process at a great value.
Available Remedies Under the Texas DTPA
A plaintiff that prevails in a deceptive trade practices claim where they have experienced fraudulent inducement or other unfair practices in connection with a purchase under Texas law may be entitled to substantial damages and powerful remedial tools, including:
- Economic damages (that can also include future losses)
- Actual damages for a number of “tie-in” statutes
- Attorney fees
- Injunctive relief
If the defendant’s conduct was committed “knowingly” or “intentionally,” then mental anguish and treble damages may be awarded. Finally, the relief ordered may include:
- Appointment of a receiver
- Revocation of a defendant’s license or certificate to do business
- Any other relief a court deems proper
Victims of Deceptive Business and Trade Practices in Texas Must Act Quickly
The statute of limitations in which to bring a DTPA claim is two years from when the violation or breach occurred (which, in general, will be the date of purchase or lease). Depending on the circumstances, however, the time period may not start running until when the plaintiff did or should have discovered a violation. For this reason, it is important to consult with an experienced Texas deceptive trade practices attorney soon as possible if you feel you have experienced a fraudulent inducement to purchase.
Representing Dallas-Fort Worth Businesses and Individuals in Texas DTPA Claims
Given the challenges involved in pursuing deceptive trade and business practices litigation, it is important to have solid legal guidance on your side early. Wright Commercial Litigation’s principal attorney–Jason E. Wright–takes the time to understand every client’s unique circumstances, to explain all rights and options, and explore all possible recoveries whether the firm’s involvement begins with trying to negotiate a resolution or taking your claims to court in order to win at trial with a favorable verdict.
Whether you are a business or individual consumer considering a DTPA suit, you can turn to Wright Commercial Litigation’s principal lawyer for experienced advice and skilled representation, often on a contingency or hybrid basis since DTPA claims allow for the recovery of attorney’s fees and treble damages for knowing or intentional misconduct.
Contact the firm here to request an initial consultation on your DTPA dispute.
Wright Commercial Litigation serves clients throughout Texas, including in McKinney, Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, and beyond with deceptive business and trade practices claims.