Deceptive Practices

Sec. 32.42.  DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES. 

Some violations of the Consumer Protection Laws are criminal acts in Texas.

Consumer protection regulations are meant to protect consumers from unfair, abusive, and /or deceptive business practices.  These regulations are enforced by the consumer affairs division in a variety of federal, state, and local agencies. 

In Texas, a person commits an offense of Deceptive Business Practice if in the course of business s/he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence commits one or more of the following deceptive business practices:
(1)  using, selling, or possessing for use or sale a false weight or measure, or any other device for falsely determining or recording any quality or quantity;
(2)  selling less than the represented quantity of a property or service;
(3)  taking more than the represented (purchased) quantity of property or service;
(4)  selling an adulterated or mislabeled commodity;
(5)  passing off property or service as that of another;
(6)  representing that a commodity is original or new if it is deteriorated, altered, rebuilt, reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or secondhand;
(7)  representing that a commodity or service is of a particular style, grade, or model if it is of another;
(8)  advertising property or service with intent to  not to sell it as advertised, or  not to supply reasonably expectable public demand (unless the advertising adequately discloses a time or quantity limit);
(9)  representing the price of property or service falsely or in a way tending to mislead;
(10)  making a materially false or misleading statement of fact concerning the reason for, existence of, or amount of a price or price reduction;
(11)  conducting a deceptive sales contest;  or
(12)  making a materially false or misleading statements in an advertisement for the purchase or sale of property or service.

Range of Punishment is typically a misdemeanor and can vary between a class C to a class A, depending on the details of the charge. 

Consumer Law Acts regulate a variety of businesses including, but not limited to, banking, lending, e-commerce, auto sales, telephone, utility service, Internet marketing and other business opportunities.  Specific examples of the types of business practices which give rise to a consumer affairs complaint typically include:
  •  Identity Theft;
  •  Predatory Lending;
  •  Debt Collection Abuses;
  •  Lemon Law Violations;
  •  Deceptive Marketing and Advertising; and
  •  The Sale of Unsafe Products.

Consumer Protection Laws Commonly Violated: Violations of federal laws commonly give rise to consumer affairs complaints.  An individual or entity that violates the consumer law acts may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties.  The following is a list of a few of the laws which are most commonly violated:
  • The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act – Makes identity theft a federal crime and imposes a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years and a maximum fine of $250,000 for criminals convicted under this law
  • The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act – Expands the Fair Credit Report Act and gives consumers who have been victims of identity theft additional protections and rights;
  •  The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act – Creates the crime of aggravated identity theft and enhances the sentences of criminals who are convicted of aggravated identity theft;
  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – Outlaws debtor harassment and prohibits abusive, threatening and unfair collection tactics by collection agencies;
  •  The Truth-in-Lending Act – Regulates lending practices and requires lenders to disclose the true cost of a loan;
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act – Promotes accuracy in consumer credit reports and requires credit bureaus and creditors to implement measures to protect the privacy of consumers;
  • The Fair Credit Billing Act – Amends the Truth-in-Lending Act and governs credit and charge card billing errors;
  • The Electronic Funds Transfer Act – Provides consumers protection for transfers made with debit cards or via other electronic means and limits a consumer's liability for unauthorized electronic transfers; and
  •  The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act -  Federal Lemon Law which governs new product purchased for more than $25.00 which comes with a warranty.

Gilbert G. Garcia, has practiced Criminal Law since 1978 and has been Board Certified in Criminal Law since 1989. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is the logical choice to represent you in your criminal case, providing the quality legal services you deserve in your most important matters.

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