Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices
When commerce is robust in our state, all North Carolinians prosper. However, sometimes businesses can take it a step too far and harm the consuming public.
The law in North Carolina intends to protect consumers from fraudulent or unfair conduct by businesses. At Horton & Mendez, so do we.
Enforcement of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, found in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1, is a means for righting the wrongs of businesses and people that seek to take advantage of consumers. A wronged party has a right to file a civil action to help maintain ethical standards of dealings between persons engaged in business and the consuming public, and to ensure good faith and fair dealings between buyers and sellers at all levels of commerce.
What may constitute an unfair and deceptive trade practice?
- Misrepresentations about the history and condition of a motor vehicle during a sale
- Businesses that target and make misrepresentations to particularly vulnerable people such as the elderly
- False representations made by landlords to tenants
- Advertisements that include false statements or misrepresentations
- False or deceptive pricing
- Libel and slander in business dealings
- Failing in good faith to settle insurance claims
All levels of commerce are protected. In other words, bad conduct is actionable no matter the size of the violation or damages involved. The law also provides for the potential recovery of attorney fees, which enables attorneys to take on cases that involve a small amount of financial harm or damages. To even further dissuade unfair conduct, the law allows for “treble damages” that requires courts to multiply damages by three when a violation is found and damages are owed. Still, some people and businesses persist and push the envelope too far.