The tenets of capitalism play themselves out every day in America. A back and forth occurs in which we consumers want to get the best deal possible, while companies are trying to make as much money as possible. This is fine, so long as both sides of the transaction are up front and honest. But what about sellers who make false claims about their products or use misleading tactics to entice sales?
Such tactics are called “deceptive trade practices” and include anything from mislabeling food products to hiding defects on a used car. Luckily for consumers, laws exist to protect citizens from false advertising and other shady sales tactics. The following is a brief summary of deceptive trade practice laws in Delaware.
|Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted||Yes (Tit. 6 §§2531, et seq.) Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (6 §2536)|
|False Advertising Forbidden||Yes (Tit. 6 §2532)|
|Who May Bring Suit||Attorney general and victims of deceptive trade practices (6 §2522) Service in accordance with 6 §2514|
|Remedies Available||Violation of Tit.6 §2501 is $100 (Tit. 6 §2503); not more than $10,000 for each willful violation, enjoin practice or other appropriate relief (Tit. 6 §§2522 to 2524); actual damages (Tit. 6 §2524); treble damages (Tit. 6 §2533[c]); injunction, attorney's fees (Tit. 6 §2533)|
|Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden||Yes (Tit. 21 §§6401, 6404)|
A consumer scam can come in all shapes and sizes. If you suspect a person or business is engaging in unfair or deceptive business practices, you should contact a consumer protection office in your area. These offices contain information about ongoing consumer scams and can also investigate and prosecute scammers according to criminal law. You may also have local sources, such as your local prosecutor, newspaper, radio station, or television station, which can help you. Many of these local sources have dedicated resources to help protect local citizens against consumer scams or expose existing scams.
In addition to state and local agencies, you may also contact relevant federal agencies, such as www.consumeraction.gov. There are also a number of nonprofits, such as the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org and sites like www.fraud.org, which can assist you in registering complaints regarding consumer scams. Fraud.org will let you fill out a fraud complaint, and will also handle forwarding it to all of the appropriate agencies.
Related Resources for Delaware Deceptive Trade Practices Laws:
It’s not easy trying to figure out if you’ve been the victim of a consumer scam. If you would like legal advice regarding a consumer law matter, you can contact a Delaware consumer law attorney in your area and schedule a consultation to discuss your case. If you’d like to continue your own research, you can visit FindLaw’s Consumers and the Law section for more introductory information on this topic.
Contact a qualified attorney.