The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) protects consumers in Florida from unfair methods of competition, unreasonable practices or deceptive acts during trade or commerce. Below is what you need to know about bringing a claim under the FDUTPA.
What is the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act?
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act prohibits unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable acts or practices. It offers a private right of action for individuals in order to protect consumers and businesses from misleading and false tactics. Although the statute provides for a right of action for consumers, Florida courts have recently allowed businesses to sue other businesses.
Under the statute, a party can sue if they were tricked into paying for goods or services they never received or if they overpaid more than advertised for goods for services. In order to have a claim under FDUTPA, you need (1) a deceptive or unfair practice; (2) causation; and (3) actual damages. Claims under FDUPTA are subject to a four-year statute of limitations and thus any lawsuit must be brought within four years of the alleged harm.
What remedies are available under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act?
If you are a plaintiff who was a victim of an unfair practice or deceptive act, you will be entitled to damages. This includes the difference between the amount you paid for the good or service and the market value of what you received. However, you are not entitled to any special or consequential damages for a violation of FDUPTA. For example, imagine a scenario where you hire a company to install a sprinkler system in your backyard. However, the company installs the wrong sprinkler system and as a result, all of your plants die. In this instance you would be entitled to the difference in value between the sprinkler system that you paid for and the one that was installed but you would not be able to recover the value of the plants that died.
Are you entitled to attorney’s fees under the FDUPTA?
Yes, if you have a valid claim under FDUPTA, you may recover attorney’s fees and court costs. This is important because attorney’s fees can add up over the course of the case. Fla. Stat. §501.2105 allows you not only to recover actual damages but attorney’s fees and court costs, an appealing component of a claim brought under the FDUPTA.