The Pivotal Law for Consumer Protection in Florida:
A Primer on Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA)
In Florida, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act protects consumers by providing private remedies based on consumer protection law. Sometimes referred to as the “Little FTC Act.” this Act covers unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable acts or practices. Whereas the FTC Act doesn’t provide private cause of action, FDUTPA does provide private causes of caution.
Why the Creation of FDUTPA?
The purpose of the FDUTPA is to:
1. simplify, clarify, and modernize the law governing consumer protection, unfair methods of competition, and unconscionable, deceptive, and unfair trade practices.
2. protect the consuming public and legitimate business enterprises from those who engage in unfair methods of competition, or unconscionable, deceptive or unfair acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.
3. make state consumer protection and enforcement consistent with established policies of federal law relating to consumer protection.
Who does FDUTPA Protect?
Broadly speaking it protects the rights of the consuming public at large. This encompasses individuals, children, business, firm, association, joint venture, partnership, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, fiduciary, corporation, any commercial entity, or any other group or combination. To be protected, the consumer must suffer the injury while participating in either trade or commerce. So what does “trade or commerce” mean? Essentially it includes advertising, soliciting, providing, offering, or distributing, whether by sale, rental, or otherwise, of any good or service, or any property, whether tangible or intangible, or any other article, commodity, or thing of value, wherever situated.
FDUTPA requires three elements to be met to recover, (1) a deceptive act or unfair practice; (2) causation; and (3) actual damages. Therefore if the conduct complained of doesn’t cause an actual damage to the consumer, there can be no recovery. One of the biggest incentives under FDUTPA is the ability of consumers to recover attorney’s fees and court costs.
For a consultation with an experienced attorney to determine whether you have an actionable claim under FDUTPA, contact attorney Kweku Darfoor at 754-800-5657.