Unfair and Deceptive Business Practices & Unconscionable Contracts
Every state has laws to provide consumers with basic protections against fraudulent, deceptive, and/or misleading conduct by unscrupulous businesses.
The Federal Trade Commission also enforces rules against unfair and deceptive practices at the federal level. The goal of these protections is to provide consumers with honest treatment in the marketplace, free from unfair and deceptive practices. If you have been treated unfairly, a Nichols Kaster consumer attorney may be able to help.
Examples Of Deceptive Business Practices Prohibited:
- False statement about a product’s effectiveness, quality or ingredients
- Advertising sale items that are not actually available for sale
- Deceptive guarantees or failing to fully disclose the material terms of a guarantee
- “Bait and switch” advertising
- Fictitious testimonials
- Enrolling a consumer in an automatically renewing program (often called a “negative option”) without fully disclosing the material terms, such as how to terminate.
Unfair and Unconscionable Contracts
As a general rule, people are bound by the bargains that they make. Strict application of this rule in today’s society, however, may be unfair because companies hold all the cards when dealing with consumers.
To level this playing field, courts will sometimes refuse to enforce consumer contracts that are unfair or unconscionable.
What Is an Unconscionable Contract?
- When a business requires the consumer to sign a contract that contains very complicated, technical language that most people wouldn’t understand or recognize.
- A contract which contains very small font or terms used in a way that purposefully misleads the consumer.
- Contract terms that indicate extreme one-sidedness in favor of the seller, including provisions that limit damages against the seller, limit the rights of the consumer to seek court relief against the seller, or impose excessive penalties or fees.
- Contracts that contain open-ended terms that give the seller unilateral discretion to set or change terms relating to price or conditions of service, and the seller later abuses that discretion.
If you believe you have been treated unfairly by a large corporation, please contact us to take action. Our experienced consumer class action attorneys would like to hear from you.