Dissatisfaction with the common-law remedies for deceptive advertising led to the widespread enactment of state statutes providing individuals and businesses with a private right of action for the consumer-aimed deceptive practices of other businesses. In Texas, the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) empowers consumers to fight against such advertising. The Texas DTPA's underlying purpose is to protect consumers against false, misleading, and deceptive business practices, unconscionable actions, and breaches of warranty, and to provide efficient and economical procedures to secure such protection. A consumer may qualify as a plaintiff if he/she/it is an individual, partnership, corporation, the State of Texas, or a subdivision or agency of the State of Texas, who seeks or acquires by purchase or lease, any goods or services. The term consumer doesn't include a business consumer that has assets of $25 million or more, or that is owned or controlled by a corporation or entity with assets of $25 million or more.
The DTPA provides a list of conduct exempt from the provisions of the Act. The Act does not apply to newspapers that publish advertisements without knowledge of the false, misleading, or deceptive nature of the publication. Nothing in the Act applies to an act or practice authorized by specific rules or regulations of the Federal Trade Commission. Moreover, the Act does not apply to a claim for damages based on rendering of a profession service, the essence of which is the providing of advice, judgment, opinion, or similar professional skill. In addition, the exemption in certain cases will cover personal injury claims, written transactions involving more than $100,000, or any transaction consisting of more than $500,000.
Exceptions to the aforementioned professional service exemption include (a) an express misrepresentation of a material fact that cannot be characterized as advice, judgment, or opinion, (b) a failure to disclose information in violation of Section 17.46(b)(23) of the Act, (c) an unconscionable action or course of action that cannot be characterized as advice, judgment, or opinion, or (d) a breach of an express warranty that cannot be characterized as advice, judgment, or opinion.
There are four claims under the DTPA. Section 17.50(a) of the Act provides that a consumer may maintain an action where any of the following constitute a producing cause of economic damages or damages for mental anguish:
The use or employment by any person of a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice that is part of what is considered a laundry list, and relied on by a consumer to the consumer's detriment;
a breach of an express or implied warranty;
any unconscionable action or course of action by any person; or
the use or employment by any person of an act or practice in violation of the Texas Insurance Code.
Consumer Law in Texas applies to debt collection problems, and other such issues that potential clients may face, including business opportunities, contests and giveaways, health spas, home solicitations, the removal of an unauthorized vehicle from a parking facility, rental-purchase agreements, notaries pretending to be attorneys, mobile home sales, credit repair companies, unfair settlement claims, new lemon cars, timeshares, and the regulation of telephone solicitation.