The laws regarding deceptive trade practices deal with business scams and false advertising. This area of law was created to protect consumers in the state of Utah. The laws ensure that the citizens of the state can safely engage in fair business dealings. The laws cover a wide range of business activities from car sales to the sale of counterfeit goods. This will be a brief introduction into the Utah statutes dealing with deceptive trade practices.
False AdvertisingUtah Code § 13-11a-1, et seq. is the "truth in advertising" statute. This section explicitly prohibits false or misleading advertising for any purpose. The types of acts that are considered illegal include:
- Passing off products as those of another business.
- Creating confusion as to the certification or source of goods.
- Misrepresenting the geographical origin of a product.
- Driving up the demand for a good without the intent to provide a reasonable supply.
- Lying about the reason behind price reductions, i.e. false liquidation sales.
- Misrepresenting a product's association with another person or brand.
- Claiming that second-hand goods are new.
- Inaccurate price comparisons.
Overall, any type of deceptive or misleading acts by a seller of goods or services may constitute false advertising. If you believe you have been victimized by false advertising you should contact a business attorney to determine if a cause of action exists. Consumers are allowed to sue violators under Utah Code § 13-11a-4.
Motor Vehicle Sales
The Utah code also addresses misrepresentations during the sale of motor vehicles. The main issue encountered under this section is odometer fraud. Utah Code § 41-1a-1319 makes it a third degree felony to reset an odometer in an attempt to mask the true mileage. Section 41-1a-1310 makes similar conduct a class B misdemeanor. It is also illegal to knowingly sell a vehicle with an altered odometer if the fact is not disclosed to the buyer.
Damages for Deceptive Trade Practices
In a civil case a plaintiff (consumer) may have the right to recover damages from a seller. Under Utah Code § 13-11a-4, a plaintiff is entitled to $2,000 or the amount of the loss, whichever is greater. The court can also issue an injunction to prevent a defendant from continuing the deceptive practices. In a criminal case the defendant can be subject to jail time and fines if proven guilty.
If you are the victim of a deceptive trade practice, or have been unfairly accused of engaging in such an act, contact a business law attorney now. Spencer and Jensen, LLC can help you prove your case. Speak with Terry Spencer or Gavin Jensen by calling 801-566-1884 at your convenience.