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How Does Florida Protect Consumers?

May 26, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Florida consumers fall victim to deceptive trade practices every day. When insurance companies refuse to pay a legitimate claim, they violate the terms of their own policy that they sold to you. Florida law prohibits businesses from engaging in deceptive and unfair acts, which harm consumers, businesses and individuals.

Fraudulent acts include false advertising, high-pressure sales tactics, “bait-and-switch” or “come-on” advertising, billing fraud, and use of misleading contractual language. Additional examples of deceptive acts include the misrepresentation of product ingredients or origins, the use of misleading labels or tags and the implementation of packaging designs and advertising similar to a known consumer brand or trade name.

The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is one of the strongest consumer protection laws in Florida. It provides that consumers can recover their actual damages from a business, which has treated them unfairly or deceptively, in addition to having their attorneys’ fees paid.

If you are the victim of a deceptive trade practice, you have a variety of remedies. Florida statutes provide for recovery of actual damages, in addition to your attorney fees. Florida law is unclear on whether a victim can recover punitive damages in consumer protection cases.

Have you suffered harm from a deceptive trade practice?