San Antonio Consumer Dispute Attorneys
Protecting San Antonio and Texas consumers from unfair business practices under the DTPA
Federal and state consumer legislation protects consumers from fraudulent and deceptive business practices, scams, and harassment. As a consumer, you have certain rights under the law when a company employs false or misleading tactics and you suffer loss as a result. Whether a business failed to perform services as contracted, provided false information, or otherwise engaged in fraudulent business practices, our attorneys can help.
Texas has the best consumer protection laws in the country. If a judge or jury determines that a business engaged in a scam, fraud, or other deceptive business practice, then Texas may permit that consumer to be reimbursed, collect additional damages, and attorney fees. The ability to recover attorney fees for even small dollar claims encourages attorneys to assist consumers and fight the deceptive conduct of businesses.
The San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw have decades of experience protecting the rights of the people and businesses of Texas in consumer protection cases. Yes, businesses can be consumers too. You can count on us for strategic and aggressive representation when a business fraudulently advertises, markets, or sells their products. We assist clients in a wide range of consumer disputes, and can advise you on how to proceed with your claim. Contact us today for a consultation.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"My husband and I just completed a successful lawsuit against a major lending company and realtor with Mr. Grable and his team. They are very knowledgeable and made sure to keep us informed as well as explain anything we wanted to know over the very long process. We could not have asked for a better group of people to help our family during such a difficult and stressful time. We are so grateful for Mr. Grable and the rest of the law firm." – Alexa K.
What are some common consumer scams and fraud?
Unfair business practices and “scams” include situations when consumers are lured into agreements, sales, or contracts through deceptive or misleading information. Examples of this include:
- False advertising
- “Bait and switch” sales tactics
- Odometer tampering
- Artificial retail markups and sale prices
- Fake charities
- Prize and lottery fraud
- Identity theft
- Debtor harassment
Texas has several consumer protection laws in place to help if you have suffered losses and damages due to consumer fraud or deception.
What is the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act?
The strongest tool consumers have in their arsenal when scammed or harmed by illegal business practices is the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, or the DTPA. The DPTA, enacted in 1973, lists practices that are misleading, false, or deceptive. If you are a victim to any of these, you have the right to file for damages with the help of an experienced attorney. Consumers generally only have two years to pursue claims under the DTPA, so it is imperative to seek an attorney immediately if you think you were tricked or scammed by a business.
Under the DTPA, Texans are protected against “false, misleading, and deceptive business practices, unconscionable actions, and breaches of warranty.” In other words, any company or vendor promoting or selling products using false or misleading statements or advertisements is breaking the law. The DPTA is meant to deter businesses from taking advantage of consumers for the sake of profit – not only putting products on the market that don’t meet expectations, but can potentially cause harm to the general public.
How does the DTPA protect consumers?
The Texas DTPA protects consumers against a broad range of deceptive and fraudulent business practices, divided into three main categories:
- Breach of warranty. This can be either written or verbal, and happens when a seller makes false promises or fails to follow through on the claims made about a product.
- Unconscionable acts. An “unconscionable act” is one that’s unfairly one-sided. For example, if a seller takes advantage of a buyer’s lack of knowledge or language skills to a gross degree, it would fall under this category.
- False, misleading, or deceptive acts. This is a comprehensive list that includes things like improper labeling, fraudulently representing certifications or sources of goods and services, or taking advantage of consumers during natural disasters.
The DTPA also protects against pyramid schemes, disparaging the goods and services of another company by false representation of facts, and representing reconditioned or used items as original or new. The consumer protection attorneys at Grable Grimshaw can investigate whether your losses occurred as a result of a DTPA violation, and then work with you to determine your next legal steps.
How do I prove a DTPA claim?
You must be a consumer to file a claim under the DTPA and the defendant must have provided the good or services to you. Under the DTPA, a “consumer” can be an individual, another company or corporation, the State of Texas, or an agent or representative of the State. You do not have to prove a contract existed in the relationship to be considered a consumer. Further, a defendant can be held liable for your damages even if they did not intentionally mislead consumers.
To successfully prove a DTPA claim, our attorneys will:
- Show that you were a bona fide consumer
- The business in question engaged in conduct prohibited by the DTPA
- This conduct resulted in damages to you, the plaintiff
It is crucial to retain the services of an experienced consumer protection lawyer to ensure you secure the full compensation to which you are entitled. Our San Antonio litigation attorneys can help.
What damages can I recover under the DTPA?
Under the Act, a successful claim can recover the following losses:
- Economic damages
- Lost profits
- Attorney fees
If the court finds the defendant acted knowingly or intentionally, the DTPA allows for additional damages. If the defendant acted knowingly, a plaintiff is eligible for three times the amount of their economic damages, and up to three times the amount of mental anguish damages. Exceptions include written contracts covering transactions over $100,000 and transactions over $500,000 (these do not apply to real estate transactions).
Other exceptions and claims may be applicable. The attorneys at Grable Grimshaw in San Antonio can explain this in more detail to ensure you do not lose out on the consumer protections the DTPA affords.
What are some other Texas consumer protection laws?
Depending on your specific situation, you may also look to a number of other consumer protection laws when you’ve been a victim of fraud or deception. Our legal team can determine which laws may apply to your case, including violations under Texas’s:
- Business Opportunity Act, which protects “persons against false, misleading, or deceptive practices in the advertising, offering for sale or lease, or sale or lease of business opportunities,” and provides “efficient and economical procedures to secure that protection.”
- Telephone Solicitation Act, which protects persons against false, misleading, or deceptive practices in the telephone solicitation business.
- Health Spa Act, which protects the public against “fraud, deceit, imposition, and financial hardship…in the field of health spa operations and services by prohibiting or restricting injurious practices.”
- Debt Collection Act, which rules that a “third-party debt collector or credit bureau may not engage in debt collection unless the third-party debt collector or credit bureau has obtained a surety bond issued by a surety company authorized to do business in this state as prescribed by this section.”
- Creditor Harassment, including “excessive amounts of telephone calls to debtors, misrepresentation of the facts to third parties, threats of arrest, and illegal repossession.”
- Texas Lemon Law, which “helps consumers who buy or lease new motor vehicles and have repeated problems getting their vehicles properly repaired under the manufacturer’s original warranty.”
- Manufactured Housing Standards Act, which ensures manufactured homes are well-constructed and safe, installed properly, and that consumers are provided fair remedies.
If you believe you have experienced consumer fraud, talk to the attorneys at Grable Grimshaw today for knowledgeable counsel.
San Antonio consumer protection lawyers working for you
The attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC help secure justice when companies and businesses attempt to take advantage of consumers through the use of deception and fraud. We thoroughly understand the ins and outs of Texas consumer protection laws and put that knowledge to work for your case. If you need help with your consumer claim, contact us today for a consultation to see how we can assist you. Call us at our San Antonio offices at 210-963-5297 or fill out our contact form. We’re proud to serve clients throughout Texas.