In our increasingly global world, the possibilities for fraud and deception in business transactions grow exponentially. To protect consumers, the federal government and individual states have introduced laws prohibiting certain activities characterized as "deceptive" business practices, which can include a range of acts from odometer tampering to false advertising.
Many states follow the federal law known as the "Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act." However, Vermont is not one of them. Instead, the state deals with deceptive trade practices under the Vermont State Code.
What is Deceptive Trade?
When a consumer is buying a good or service, the seller cannot deceive the consumer about the good or service, as defined under Vermont law. A deceptive trade practice includes a seller making a false statement or misrepresentation about its goods or services, or failing to disclose material facts about its goods or services.
Who Enforces the Law?
The Vermont Attorney General is charged with enforcing this law when he or she determines that an enforcement action would be in the public interest.
Who May Bring Suit
Both a private citizen who is the victim of deceptive practices and the government authority in charge of enforcing the conduct of a particular industry may bring a lawsuit against a manufacturer or seller.
The federal government’s consumer protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), handles complaints relating to various businesses at the national level. The FTC works to protect both consumers and businesses by preventing fraud and deception by businesses, while also ensuring fair competition within the market.
Learn more about Vermont's deceptive trade practices laws in the table below, with links to additional resources. See Details on State Deceptive Trade Practices and Fair Advertising FAQ: A Guide for Small Business to learn more.
|Statute||No (Tit. 9 §2453)|
|False Advertising Forbidden||Yes (Tit. 9 §2453)|
|Who May Bring Suit?||Attorney general, state attorney (Tit. 9 §2458); damaged consumer (Tit. 9 §2461)|
|Remedies Available?||Injunction; civil penalty up to $10,000 (Tit. 9 §2458); equitable relief, actual damages, attorneys fees, exemplary damages (Tit. 9 §2461) restitution of cash or goods (Tit. 9 §2458)|
|Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden||Yes (Tit. 23 §1704a); fine not more than $1,000 for first offense and not more than $2,500 for each subsequent offense|
Note: If you have been misled or injured by false information provided by a seller or manufacturer of a product, there may be legal remedies available. An experienced Vermont consumer protection attorney can discuss the facts of your case with you and provide the appropriate legal advice for your situation.
Research the Law
Vermont Deceptive Trade Practices Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.