Georgia Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Deceptive trade practices are acts (or omissions) by businesses that mislead consumers, such as tampering with a used car's odometer or engaging in bait-and-switch advertising tactics. Georgia law adheres to the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act now recognized by most states. Georgia deceptive trade practices law bans false advertising, making it a misdemeanor charge and also allowing victims to sue for damages.

Much of the relevant laws and regulations are encoded in Georgia's Fair Business Practices Act, which applies primarily to consumer transactions. The Governor's Office of Consumer Protection investigates complaints and enforces the law. Activities prohibited by the Act include:

  • Passing off goods/services as those of another, such as claiming a product was manufactured by Company A when it was actually manufactured by Company B.
  • Misrepresenting the origin of a product.
  • Misrepresenting used goods as "new."
  • False claims regarding the quality or grade of a product or service, such as claiming that conventionally grown apples are organic.
  • Making false statements about another company or its products.
  • Using "bait-and-switch" tactics
  • Not having enough stock to meet expected demand for advertised items.
  • Making misleading statements about sale prices.

These types of laws don't necessarily make things fool-proof for consumers, however. For example, using disclaimers (typically in smaller print) often gets companies off the hook for otherwise deceptive acts. And claiming your product is "all natural," for example, merely suggests a certain quality without making specific claims.

The following chart lists the main provisions of Georgia deceptive trade practices law, with links to additional articles and resources.

Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted Yes (§10-1-370 to 375; 390 to 407) Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act
False Advertising Forbidden Yes (§§10-1-420, 421)
Who May Bring Suit Administrator; private party (§§10-1-397, 398)
Remedies Available Misdemeanor (§10-1-420); civil penalty $25,000 (10-1-405); enjoining practices (§10-1-423); exemplary damages for intentional violation, limited to actual damages if bona fide error (§10-1-399, 400); fine over $100 but less than $1,000 or prison for up to 20 days or both (§10-1-421); exception for ignorance (§10-1-396)
Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden Yes (§40-8-5); violator liable for three times actual damages or $1,500, whichever is greater, costs and attorney's fees

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Georgia consumer protection attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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