Deceptive Trade Practices
The Deceptive Trade Practices Act is one of the most powerful tools in Texas law for protecting consumers against the practices of unethical businesses. To be a “consumer” for the purpose of the DTPA - that is, to be protected by it - a person needs to have sought or acquired goods or services by sale or lease.  An apartment rental counts as a lease of "goods" under the DTPA.  

What does the DTPA protect consumers against?

In general, the DTPA is intended to protect consumers from five categories of behavior: (1) deceptive acts or practices which are included in the DTPA’s laundry list, (2) breaches of warranty, (3) unconscionable acts, (4) violations of the Texas Insurance Code, and (5) various “tie in” statutes which incorporate the DTPA’s remedies.

To give just a few examples, the DTPA’s laundry list forbids businesses from:
  • Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised;
  • Representing that goods are of a specific standard, grade, or quality when they are not;
  • Promoting a pyramid scheme;
  • Falsely representing that work or services has been performed on or the parts have been replaced in goods when they have not. 
The full scope of the acts covered by the DTPA is too broad to cover here. However, if you feel like you have been the victim of a deceptive trade practice, I would be happy to talk to you about your case.

What does remedies does the DTPA provide consumers who have been wronged?

Generally, the DTPA lets consumers recover their economic damages caused by a defendant’s violation of the statute. The consumer can also recover their attorney’s fees. Moreover, if the defendant acted knowingly or intentionally, the consumer can recover more. If the defendant acted knowingly, the consumer can recover mental anguish damages and up to three times their economic damages. If the defendant acted intentionally, the consumer can recover up to three times both their mental anguish and economic damages.