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Tennessee Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

State laws prohibit certain acts considered to be "deceptive trade practices," including false advertising, bait and switch scams, and tampering with a car's odometer. Tennessee has not adopted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, instead enforcing the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977. The law lists 44 different types of acts that, if unlawfully "affecting the conduct of any trade or commerce," may be charged as Class B misdemeanors. These include:

  • Passing off goods or services as those of another (counterfeiting)
  • Being untruthful as to the geographic origin of goods or services
  • Selling goods that are used or "altered to the point of decreasing value" as new
  • Promoting a sale with a false "going out of business" claim
  • False warranty claims

Penalties for a Class B misdemeanor range from up to six months in jail, a $500 fine, or both (unless otherwise stated in the statute). Courts may grant injunctive relief and revoke the violator's license, while injured consumers may file claims for damages in civil court. Additional details about Tennessee's deceptive trade practices law can be found in the following table:

Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted No (§47-18-101 et seq.) Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977
False Advertising Forbidden Yes (§47-18-104)
Who May Bring Suit Attorney general; individual; Div. of consumer affairs in the Dept. of Commerce and Insurance (§47-18-106, 107, 108, 109, 114)
Remedies Available Injunctive relief, damages for injured customers; revocation of violator's license; willful violators fined up to $1,000 (§§47-18-106, 108); possibly treble damages for willful violator (§47-18-109); Class B misdemeanor (§§47-18-104, 39-14-127)
Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden Yes (§47-18-104, (16)) Class A misdemeanor (§39-14-132)

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

What Can I Do If I'm the Victim of a Deceptive Trade Practice?

Any customer who overpaid, didn't get what they thought they paid for, or who was otherwise deceived by an unlawful business practice may file a consumer complaint with the Consumer Affairs Division of the Tennessee Dept. of Commerce and Insurance. The site recommends contacting the business first, however. Consumers also may file suit against the violator (up to treble damages for willful violations).

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