Consumers harmed by the bad behavior of corporations have robust protections under laws such as the Virginia Consumer Protection Act and other states’ Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts and Practices Acts (UDAP statutes). Such laws cover a broad range of unfair or misleading acts. In addition to multiple other unfair practices, the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, for example, prohibits the following:
- Misrepresenting goods or services as those of another;
- Misrepresenting the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services;
- Misrepresenting the affiliation, connection, or association of the supplier, or of the goods or services, with another;
- Misrepresenting geographic origin in connection with goods or services;
- Misrepresenting that goods or services have certain quantities, characteristics, ingredients, uses, or benefits;
- Misrepresenting that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, grade, style, or model;
- Using any other deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation in connection with a consumer transaction;
Consumers who are harmed by violations of the Act are entitled to damages for each violation in the amount of their actual damages, or $500, whichever is greater. Further, if the violation was willful, consumers may receive up to three times the actual damages sustained, or $1,000, whichever is greater. Additionally, the Act provides that the merchant who committed the violation must pay the consumer’s attorneys’ fees and court costs. Finally, even in the case of unintentional violations, the Court is empowered to award restitution and payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.
If the violations are widespread, consumers can band together in a class action to secure relief for all of the victims of the fraudulent or deceptive behavior.
If you believe you have been harmed by the unfair acts of a merchant, call us at 888-987-9991 or complete our online contact form.