The Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) is Texas’s primary consumer protection statute. The statute prohibits a list of deceptive trade practices deemed to be false, misleading or deceptive. The DTPA gives consumers the right to sue for damages. Consumers who win a suit brought under the DTPA, are entitled to attorney’s fees, and if they show the person acted “knowingly,” they can receive damages of up to three times their damages. Other consumer protections statutes tie in to the DTPA and allow consumers to sue under the DTPA for violation of those other statutes.
Other Consumer Protection Statutes, targeting specific industries and specific transactions:
- The Timeshare Act
- Contest and Gift Giveaway Act
- Business Opportunity Act
- Health Spa Act
- Telephone Solicitation Act
- Regulation of Telephone Solicitation Act
- Regulation of Consumer Reporting Agencies Act
- Credit Services Organizations Act
The Insurance Code applies to only insurance related matters. Similar to the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Insurance Code prohibits false, deceptive and misleading acts and practices. People who are injured by a violation of this law may recover damages, possible treble damages, as well as attorneys’ fees.
The Debt Collection Act covers any conduct by a person trying to collect a consumer debt.The Act prohibits practices that are false, deceptive, harassing or abusive. It supplements the federal debt collection act that applies to only third party debt collectors who are collecting debts for someone else.
Related Federal Consumer Laws:
- Liability for Lost or Stolen Credit Card – 15 United States Code § 1643
- Liability for Unauthorized Credit Card Charge – 12 Code of Federal Regulations § 226.12
- Liability for Lost or Stolen Debit Card – 15 United States Code § 1693
- Billing Errors – 15 United States Code § 1666
- Billing Error Rules – Code of Federal Regulations § 226.13
- Credit Reporting – 15 United States Code § 1681
The Motor Vehicle Warranty Performance Obligations Statute contains what is known as the lemon law. The lemon law gives the owner ofa defective car the right to obligate the manufacturer of that defective car to buy it back. A lemon is defined as a car that has a serious defect that has been reported within the warranty term and has not been repaired in a reasonable number of attempts. The lemon law begins with section 6.07 of article 4413(36). “Warranty Performance Obligations” is the heading that begins the lemon law portion of the statute, but keep in mind, the actual phrase “lemon law” is not used in the statute.
The Manufactured Housing Standards Act sets forth provisions to protect consumers of mobile homes.
The Business and Commerce Code, which is the basic commercial law of Texas, is a uniform law, which in effect means that many states have adopted the same code.
- Chapter 2 Sales
- Chapter 2a Leases
- Chapter 3 Negotiable Instruments
- Chapter 4: Bank Deposits and Collections
- Chapter 9: Secured Transactions
Title 4 of the Finance Code provides consumer protections to those individuals who borrow money or finance purchases of goods or services.
Title 4 of the Finance Code: Consumer Loans, Pawn Shops, Credit Sales of Goods and Services, Motor Vehicles and Manufactured Housing
The Landlord and Tenant provisions of the Texas Property Code, provide consumers protections against wrongful refusal to return security deposits, utility cutoffs, retaliatory evictions, landlord repairs, and other practices.
Chapter 91 and Chapter 92 of the Property Code: Landlord and Tenant
The Residential Construction Liability Act sets forth the procedures consumers need to follow should they wish to make a claim against a home re-modeler or builder. This statute does not provide a cause of action against a builder or re-modeler; rather, it establishes notice requirements that must be met before any lawsuit is filed.
The Texas Fair Housing Act protects consumers in the housing market from unlawful discrimination.
The Occupations Code regulates various professionals and industries, such as acupuncturists, dentists, health spas and credit services.
Examples of Regulated Professions: