It happens to everybody. You buy that miracle product, pay for an expensive repair, hire an expert to do the job… only the product doesn’t work, the repair is faulty and the job never gets done. You’ve been ripped off.
A lot of consumers feel very helpless. Maybe you’ve complained to the business, and they won’t do anything. But there is justice. You don’t have to take being ripped off.
Many Texas Legal members and their attorneys pursue legal action through a law called the DTPA – the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act – and get justice from scam artists and fraudsters of all types.
You’ve Been Scammed. Now What?
If you’ve been the victim of some kind of false advertising or failure to deliver on promises, call an attorney to see if it’s covered through the DTPA. The law is very broad and covers a lot of areas. If someone is taken advantage of in a transaction – like purchasing a car, purchasing a house, having a contractor do a job, almost anything except a professional service – the party who promised you some kind of result doesn’t deliver or they deceived you or misrepresented, you can have an action through DTPA.
A lot of consumers don’t take action both because they assume that nothing can be done, but also because they don’t know if it’s worth it to call a lawyer. But the law’s scope makes fighting being ripped off very worth your time. Not only can you claim your economic damages, but also attorneys fees, emotional distress and up to triple damages if their actions were knowing or intentional.
Writing a Letter to the Scammer
To take action through the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act, the first step is writing a registered or certified letter to the offender, detailing your complaint – what they promised they’d do or said you were buying and what actually happened, complete with as much detail as you can provide – transactions, prices, dates, etc. In the letter, you should state the amount you are requesting in damages.
While you can send a personal letter to fulfill the requirements of the DTPA, it’s also helpful to have a lawyer write a letter on your behalf. As a Texas Legal member, this service is covered under your plan and is often more effective than a personal letter, especially if you’d like to avoid filing suit. Often a letter from an attorney will be enough to resolve a situation.
Pursuing Legal Action When You’ve Been Ripped Off
If the party fails to respond to your letter or an attorney’s letter, it’s time to file suit under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act. Texas Legal plans cover consumer law cases and allow you to pursue these claims without extensive legal fees. Even if the infraction was relatively small, you might consider pursuing action, especially if you’re concerned about the seller ripping off other people in your community through a similar scam.
If the court finds the business violated the DTPA, they can remedy the situation in a number of ways, including:
- economic and mental anguish damages
- an injunction
- a restoration order
- revocation of a defendant’s license or certificate to do business
- court costs and attorney’s fees
In addition, the court can order any other relief that they find to be proper, and if the act was committed either knowingly or intentionally, the court can triple the amount of damages the seller is required to pay.
Justice for the Little Guy
The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act allows Texas consumers to get justice when they’ve been treated unfairly. If you’ve been the victim of a scam or a fraud in a consumer transaction, locate a consumer law attorney near you through Texas Legal’s Attorney Finder. Remember that your employer-offered or independent plan covers consumer law cases and consultations with an attorney and can help you find justice and get your money back.