Consumer Fraud Increases in Wake of COVID-19
Already struggling to stay afloat during this global crisis, many people are finding themselves the victim of unfair, fraudulent, and illegal business practices. Fraud and price-gouging are just two common problems facing consumers during this time of economic uncertainty.
Consumer fraud and unfair business practices are likely to continue to increase, as unscrupulous companies look to save money and increase profits in illegal ways, such as through false advertising, denying valid warranty or insurance claims, or outright fraud.
If a company violates the rights of you or your business, you have the legal right and ability to hold them accountable and recover your losses.
Is My Case Worth the Cost of an Attorney?
A major misconception is that it will be too expensive to hire a lawyer. Many people give up on enforcing their rights before even contacting a lawyer for help! The reality is that our consumer law team is often able to assist clients on a contingency basis, with no out-of-pocket expenses to the client.
In many cases, “fee shifting” laws exist to allow consumers to enforce their rights, even when the amount of damages might otherwise be too small to justify hiring a lawyer, by shifting the expense of the lawsuit to at-fault party. Thus, you may be able to bring a civil claim to recoup not only your losses, but also your attorney fees and, in some cases additional statutory damages.
Is My Small Business Also Protected by Consumer Protection Laws?
Most people would assume that consumer protection laws only help individuals. However, a “consumer” can also be a corporation, partnership, LLC, or any business entity, where the business is itself the customer in the transaction. Therefore, if your business has been the victim of fraud, overbilling, false advertisements, or a denied insurance claim, your business may have valid and important legal claims.
Consumer Protection Laws
The consumer law team at Dickinson & Gibbons, P.A. consists of experienced attorneys who have helped countless consumer fraud victims recover compensation for their damages and vindicate their legal rights, whether through settlement or jury trial. Our depth of experience has provided a deep understanding regarding the wide-range of both Florida and Federal laws that govern consumer protection.
Our consumer law attorneys have handled numerous cases involving
- Violations of debt collection and reporting laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA), Florida Consumer Collection Practice Act (FCCPA), Truth In Lending Act (TILA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
- Faulty, unsafe, or unnecessary motor vehicle repairs, in violation of Florida’s Motor Vehicle Repair Act.
- New and used car sales fraud and violations by dealerships and manufacturers of new and used car warranties.
- False advertising, bait-and-switch, and other misrepresentations related to the sale of goods or services.
- Home warranty claims, including the wrongful denial of covered losses or unfair offers of compensation from the warranty company.
- Defective products, including denial of warranties, refusals to accept the return of defective products, and injuries related to dangerous products.
- Denial of insurance coverage and unfair settlement offers, including property damage claims, business interruption claims, personal injury claims, wrongful cancellation of coverage, and unjustified settlement offers.
- Cybersquatting and online crimes, such as defamation, stealing of online business, and other deceptive practices.
- Exploitation of the elderly, including financial and physical crimes of elder exploitation.
- Deceptive and Unfair Business Practices, including a wide-range of misconduct for which the consumer is protected by law.
If you need to enforce your legal rights, or protect your business, contact us for a free consultation.
Jesse R. Butler is a partner at the Sarasota law firm Dickinson & Gibbons, P.A.. He is a consumer and business law attorney, and a board-certified appellate specialist. His practice is focused on helping consumers and small businesses in cases involving consumer protection, insurance coverage disputes, breach of contract, warranty claims, product liability, business litigation, and general civil litigation.
Charles Denny is a partner at Dickinson & Gibbons, P.A. specializing in commercial litigation and consumer law. Mr. Denny has assisted consumers who have been victimized by financial institutions, debt collectors, insurance companies, construction contractors, household good moving companies, motor vehicle repair shops, construction contractors, government entities, realtors and other corporate entities and individuals. He has obtained substantial settlements on behalf of consumers and has tried multiple consumer cases to Florida juries when necessary.
Andrew Wilson is an associate at the Sarasota law firm Dickinson & Gibbons, P.A. His practice focuses on consumer protection matters and commercial litigation. He has handled litigation in state and federal courts involving the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Truth in Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Electronic Funds Transfer Act, Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, and Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.