The Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) is designed to protect consumers from false promises made by businesses offering goods or services. While a DTPA claim is not at the center of a product liability case involving injuries, it can be a component of obtaining a fair settlement from an insurance company.
One of the most important aspects of the DTPA is its liberal wording. According to the Texas Supreme Court, the DTPA “protects consumers against false, misleading, and deceptive business practices, unconscionable actions, and breaches of warranty.” The DTPA is purposefully broad so that it can apply to a variety of situations.
What Does the DTPA Ban?
Breach of Warranty
Businesses are obligated to fulfill the claims that they made about a product. This includes honoring a warranty and ensuring that they do not make false promises regarding the functions of a product or service. A breach of warranty can include written or spoken promises.
An unconscionable act is one that makes a transaction one-sided. The DTPA defines an unconscionable act as one that “takes advantage of the lack of knowledge, ability, experience, or capacity of a person to a grossly unfair degree.” For example, the DTPA bans a business from taking advantage of a customer’s lack of knowledge and promising functionality that their product can’t deliver.
False, Misleading, or Deceptive Acts
Actions that fall under this category include improper product labeling, misrepresenting the origin of a product, or claiming something is made from a material that it isn’t. For example, the DTPA bans selling a pole made from aluminum as one that’s made of steel.
Who Does the DTPA Apply To?
To file a DTPA claim, a person must be a consumer. The defendant must have produced or provided the good or service to the plaintiff. Finally, the supposed DTPA violation must be the source of the plaintiff’s damages.
Does the DTPA Apply to Insurance Claims?
In certain circumstances, the DTPA might apply to insurance claims. If an insurer sells a policy to someone promising a specific coverage and fails to deliver that coverage, they might be liable under the DTPA. However, it’s always best to speak with an attorney if you believe you might have a DTPA claim involving an insurance policy. Call Arnold & Itkin LLP today at (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation of your case. Our insurance claim lawyers are ready to help you obtain the compensation that you deserve.