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Virginia Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Virginia Deceptive Trade Practice Law at a Glance

As the name implies, a "deceptive trade practice" is an advertisement, promotion, or some other act meant to deceive consumers. Virginia law does not adhere to the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, but the Virginia Consumer Protection Act of 1977 bans false advertising, automobile odometer tampering, and other deceptive methods. Individuals, commonwealth attorneys, and the state attorney general may file suit for violations.

What Acts are Considered Deceptive Trade Practices in Virginia?

The Virginia Consumer Protection Act lists more than 50 prohibited practices involving advertising, sales tactics, disclosures, return policies, and other aspects of commercial trade. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Misrepresenting that goods or services have certain quantities, characteristics, ingredients, uses, or benefits.
  • Advertising or offering for sale used, blemished, or reconditioned goods as new or unblemished.
  • Using any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation in connection with a transaction.
  • Selling children's products that are known (or should be known) to have been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Failing to disclose all conditions or fees relating to return policies or layaway agreements.

Contact the office of the Attorney General of Virginia to file a complaint pertaining to deceptive trade practice violation.

The following chart highlights the main provisions of Virginia's deceptive trade practices laws. See FindLaw's Consumer Protection section for additional articles and resources.

Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted No (§§59.1-196, et seq.) Virginia Consumer Protection Act of 1977
False Advertising Forbidden Yes (§59.1-200)
Who May Bring Suit Attorney general; commonwealth attorney (§59.1-203); harmed individual (§59.1-204)
Remedies Available Enjoin violations, actual damages or $500, whichever is greater (§59.1-204); penalty for willful violation is fine up to $1,000; attorney's fees and costs (§59.1-206)
Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden Yes (§46.2-112). Fines not more than $10,000 and sentenced to more than one year in jail, either or both for a first offense; subsequent offenses shall not be fined more than $50,000 and/or not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years in a state correctional facility.

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

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