The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act

The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“DTPA”) is the primary consumer protection law in the State of Texas. The Texas DTPA statute protects consumers from false and misleading trade practices. Consumers must send a demand letter before pursuing a DTPA claim. The statute provides for attorneys’ fees and three times damages if the defendant acted knowingly. There are various “tie-in” statutes that allow for consumers to sue under those statutes. Dunnam & Dunnam lawyers have extensive experience in DTPA claims.

An essential element of a DTPA claim is that the Plaintiff qualifies as a “consumer.” The Act defines a consumer as an individual, partnership, a corporation, the State of Texas, or a subdivision or agency of the State that seeks or acquires goods or services by purchase or lease. Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 17.45(4). Because the focus is on the plaintiff’s relationship to the transaction, the plaintiff does not have to prove that a contract existed with the defendant in order to have standing as a consumer.

Prohibited Conduct under the DTPA

In a DTPA suit, a plaintiff must prove that defendant committed a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice and that plaintiff relied on such act or practice to his own detriment. It is important to note that the plaintiff is not required to prove that the defendant acted knowingly or intentionally. Section 17.46(b) of the Texas Business and Commerce Code sets forth a non-exclusive laundry list of 25 prohibited acts. The following are several acts included in the list:

  • Passing off goods or services as those of another
  • Representing that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits or quantities that they do not have
  • Representing that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, reconditioned, used or secondhand
  • Representing goods or services are of a particular standard or quality if they are not
  • Failing to disclose information about goods or services known at the time of the transaction

Some consumer protection laws include the following:
Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act Statute
Business Opportunity Act
Health Spa Act
Telephone Solicitation Act
Regulation of Telephone Solicitation Act
Texas Insurance Code
Texas Debt Collection Act
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Texas Lemon Law
Manufactured Housing Standards Act

Contact one of Dunnam & Dunnam’s DTPA lawyers about your potential claims: