The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) has 25 specific practices that a consumer can use to invoke the authority and additional damages and remedies under the Texas DTPA in a private lawsuit. These forbidden acts are central to Texas consumer law in general and the Texas DTPA in particular. These acts are known as the “laundry list”.
The laundry list includes, along with explanations:
1. It is not acceptable to pass off a good or services as those of another.
A company is not permitted to pretend that what they are selling is something that it is not.
2. Causing confusion or misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of any particular good or service.
In order to avoid confusion as to the quality of a good or service, it is not permitted to pretend that a product or service has some sort of sponsorship or “seal of approval” that it does not.
3. A company can not cause confusion or misunderstanding as to affiliation, connection, or association with, or certification by, another.
It is not acceptable to state, or even cause confusion, that a product is affiliated with another product, service or organization whether private or governmental.
4. Using any deceptive representations or designations of any sort of geographic origin in connection with either goods or services.
If it is claimed that something is from a certain place, it has to be from that particular place.
5. It is impermissible to represent that a good or service that claims to have a sponsorship, approval, characteristic, ingredient, use, benefit, or quantity that it does not.
It is not acceptable to exaggerate a benefit or minimize a liability of any good or service.
6. One may not claim that goods are original or new if they are: deteriorated, reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or second-hand.
The FTC has very specific guidelines about what can be called new and what can not.
7. Any representation that a good or service is of a: standard, quality, or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model, if it is of another.
It is not permissible to overstate the quality of a particular good or service. It is important to note that the misrepresentation must be specific and not overly vague.
8. The disparagement of the goods, services, or business of another by any false or misleading representation of fact.
It is impermissible to criticize the product of another unless the complaint is true and verifiable.
9. It is not permitted to Advertise a good or service with intent not to sell it as advertised.
This is commonly known as “bait and switch” advertising.
10. One can not advertise a good or service with the intent not to supply a reasonable public demand, unless the advertisement disclosed a limitation of quantity.
If a business advertises something then that business must have it.
11. It is not permissible to make a false or misleading statement of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amount of price reductions.
Anytime there is a “sale” or “price reduction” or “discount” the business must tell the truth about it.
12. It is illegal to represent that an agreement confers or involves rights, remedies, or obligations which it does not have or involve, or which are prohibited by law.
All statements about any warranties, or the lack thereof, must be true and accurate.
13. It is unacceptable to knowingly making false or misleading statements of fact concerning the need for parts, replacement, or repair service.
Repair people must be honest. It is important to note that the statements must be made “knowingly”, which is a higher degree of mental awareness than is found in other parts of the statute.
14. The authority of a salesperson, representative, or agent to negotiate the final terms of a consumer transaction must be represented accurately.
This section forbids the salesperson from raising the price or adding conditions and blaming it upon a lack of authority.
15. All charges for repairs of items must not be based, in whole or in part, on the quantity or warranty instead of on the value of the actual repairs made or work to be performed on the item without stating separately the charges for the work and the charges for the warranty or guaranty, if any.
Just because an item is under warranty does not mean a person can be overcharged.
16. An odometer can not be Disconnected, turned back, or reset in any motor vehicle so as to reduce the number of miles indicated on the odometer gauge.
No one can mess with an odometer in a car.
17. It is illegal to advertise any sale by representing that a person is going out of business if that is fraudulent.
Much like section 11, lies about a sale, in this case a “going out of business sale” can not be told.
18. It is a violation to use or employ a chain referral sales plan in connection with the sale, or offer to sell, of goods, merchandise, or anything of value, which uses the sales technique, plan, arrangement, or agreement in which the buyer or prospective buyer is offered the opportunity to purchase merchandise or goods and, in connection with the purchase, receives the seller’s promise or representation that the buyer shall have the right to receive compensation or consideration in any form for furnishing to the seller the names of other prospective buyers if receipt of the compensation or consideration is contingent upon the occurrence of an event subsequent to the time the buyer purchases the merchandise or goods.
Most forms of “pyramid schemes” are forbidden, even indirect ones.
19. Representing that a guaranty or warranty confers or involves rights or remedies which it does not have or involve; provided however, that nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to expand the implied warranty or merchantability as defined in Section 2.314 and 2.318 of the Business and Commerce Code to involve obligations in excess of those which are appropriate to the goods.
A salesperson can not lie or exaggerate in regards to a warranty.
20. One can not sell or offer to sell, either directly or associated with the sale of goods or services, a right of participation in a multi-level distributorship.
This is a ban on direct pyramid schemes. The more indirect versions of which are forbidden by section 18.
21. It is illegal to represent that work or services have been performed on, or parts replaced in, goods when the work or services were not performed or the parts replaced.
If a repair shop says that they did something, it is necessary that they have done it.
22. Companies are forbidden from filing suit founded upon a written contractual obligation of and signed by the defendant to pay money arising out of or based on a consumer transaction for goods, services, loans, or extensions of credit intended primarily for personal, family, household, or agricultural use in any county other than in the county in which the defendant resides at the time of the commencement of the action or in the county in which the defendant in fact signed the contract; provided however, that a violation of this section shall not occur where it is shown by the person filing such suit he/she neither knew nor had reason to know that the county in which suit was filed was either the county in which the defendant resides at the commencement of the suit nor the county in which the defendant in fact signed the contract.
This prevents companies from filing lawsuits in areas that are too far away from a consumer to be fair just because it is permitted in the contract.
23. A seller must disclose information concerning any goods or services that are known at the time of the transaction where the consumer would not have entered the transaction except for the lack of disclosure.
If a seller knows something negative about a product then they need to tell the buyer.
24. It is not acceptable to use the term “corporation,” “incorporated,” or an abbreviation thereof if a company is not, in fact, incorporated.
A company can not falsely claim to be a corporation.
25. A business can not use a disaster declared by the Governor under Chapter 418, Government Code, to sell or lease fuel, food, medicine, or another necessity at an exorbitant or excessive price or demand an exorbitant or excessive price in connection with the sale or lease of fuel, food, medicine, or another necessity.
Businesses can not take advantage of a disaster to engage in price gouging.