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California Consumer Lawyers Committed to Stopping Unlawful Trade Practices

Unfair competition and deceptive business practices hurt small businesses and consumers by causing economic loss and damaging our ability to shop and conduct basic transactions with an assurance of quality and basic fairness. Fortunately, California has laws in place to protect consumers and businesses from such misleading tactics. The attorneys at Rounds & Sutter know these laws and fight to protect the rights of consumers and small businesses from unlawful activity throughout Southern California.

Protecting Businesses from Unfair Competition

The California Unfair Practices Act, beginning at Section 17000 of the California Business & Professions Code, prohibits unfair competition and “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising.” A merchant who violates the Unfair Practices Act can be assessed a civil penalty up to $2,500 per violation, as well as an additional penalty if the victim is a senior citizen or is disabled. Two of the most common types of unfair practices are:

  • Loss Leader – selling an item at less than cost in order to promote the purchase of other merchandise, deceive customers or harm competitors
  • Locality Discrimination – selling a product at a lower price in one section or community than in another place without adequate justification

Protecting Consumers from Deceptive Business Practices

California consumers can find protection from unfair and deceptive business practices regarding the sale of goods or services in the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA). The CLRA prohibits a long list of deceptive practices, including:

  • Passing off goods or services as those of another
  • Misrepresenting the source of goods or services
  • Misrepresenting the affiliation of another
  • Misrepresenting the geographic origin of goods
  • Misrepresenting the approval, ingredients, uses, or benefits of goods or services
  • Misrepresenting goods as original or new
  • Misrepresenting goods or services as of a particular standard, quality, or grade
  • Disparaging the goods, services, or business of another by false or misleading representation of fact
  • Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised
  • Advertising goods or services with intent not to supply reasonably expectable demand, unless the advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity
  • Representing that a part, replacement, or repair service is needed when it is not
  • Misrepresenting that the consumer will receive a rebate, discount, or other economic benefit
  • Misrepresenting the authority of a salesperson to negotiate the final terms of a transaction with a consumer
  • Certain unsolicited prerecorded telephone messages
  • Certain home solicitations to senior citizens

Consumers who are harmed by any of these practices can take the merchant to court and sue to stop the unlawful practice and recover actual damages as well as punitive damages where appropriate. Many consumer law attorneys will take the case on a contingency basis, seeking fees and costs from the other party if successful.

California Attorneys Standing Up for Consumers and Small Businesses

At Rounds & Sutter, our lawyers are familiar with the full range of consumer protection laws, including California’s lemon law covering warranty repairs of new and used cars. If you believe you are being treated unfairly or are the victim of deceptive business practices or unfair competition, contact Rounds & Sutter for a free consultation at our offices in Ventura, Westlake Village, Santa Barbara and San Clemente.

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