Consumer protection laws such as the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act exist to ensure that businesses can be held liable for fraud and deceptive business practices.
Breaches of consumer trust can include various behaviors. Behaviors ranging from misrepresenting the safety of a product or service or failing to honor a warranty to inadequate disclosure of contract terms can be a breach. The consequences of such actions by businesses can have implications that go far beyond “buyer’s remorse.” Even if the consumer can weather them, there is no question about the fact that they are illegal.
If you have experienced fraudulent or deceptive business practices, the Chicago consumer law attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates may be able to help.
Types of consumer cases
Scam artists and business criminals rely heavily on their ability to confuse, mislead, or pressure you into agreeing to a purchase or contract that you do not fully understand. The Chicago consumer law lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates are well-acquainted with their methods and the laws designed to protect consumers.
If a dishonest business has victimized you but you can’t quite put your finger on how they violated the law, or what your options for recourse might be, we can help. A no-cost consultation with our staff can quickly clarify your situation and help you understand your rights.
It is illegal for businesses to make deceptive claims in their advertising or marketing materials. This includes claims that are false, misleading, or unsubstantiated. The FTC and other consumer protection agencies are charged with holding businesses accountable when they engage in fraudulent advertising practices.
Deceptive trade practices
Businesses that deceive consumers through misrepresentation of product or service quality, quantity, or price can be held liable for monetary damages. Fraudulent advertising can fall under the category of deceptive trade practices, but other actions like bait-and-switch tactics and failure to honor a warranty may also be considered deceptive.
Unfair debt collection practices
Debt collectors are governed by a number of laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Unfair debt collection practices include harassment, misrepresentation of the debt, and failure to honor a payment arrangement.
Identity theft is a serious crime that involves the theft of one’s personal information for financial gain. It can have long-term implications for victims, such as damaged credit scores. If you have been a victim of identity theft, you may need the help of an experienced attorney to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Predatory lending is a form of loan fraud in which lenders target vulnerable individuals with deceptive terms and conditions. Examples include payday loans, high-interest mortgages, and “credit repair” services. While not necessarily illegal, predatory lending can be a form of consumer exploitation and may warrant civil legal action.
Consumer fraud includes any deceptive or misleading business practices that result in a financial loss for the consumer. Anything from phishing scams (in which someone obtains financial information through false emails) to unauthorized charges on credit cards can fall under the umbrella of consumer fraud.
Unfair or deceptive business practices
Other business practices can be considered unfair or deceptive if they are done with the intent to exploit or mislead consumers.
For example, a pest control company may provide a false termite inspection report to a concerned homeowner in an attempt to upsell them a more expensive service. Similarly, a car dealership might lie about a vehicle’s accident history to a potential buyer in order to persuade them to purchase the vehicle.
Class action lawsuits
Many consumer fraud cases are brought as class action lawsuits, in which a group of similarly situated plaintiffs joins together to pursue legal action against a common defendant. Class action lawsuits can be a powerful tool for holding unethical businesses accountable and for ensuring that victims receive justice.
Federal and state consumer protection laws
Laws have been enacted at both the state and federal levels to protect consumers from fraudulent and deceptive business practices. These laws often provide for both civil and criminal penalties to businesses that violate their terms, depending on the nature of the offense. The following are just a few of the many laws that may apply to Illinois consumer fraud cases.
Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act
The Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA), encoded into the law as 815 ILCS 505, is Illinois’ comprehensive state-specific consumer protection law. It’s designed to prevent and combat consumer fraud, deceptive business practices, and unfair competition methods.
These practices are not only illegal under the ICFA, but the law also gives consumers the right to pursue a civil cause of action — a lawsuit to seek monetary damages — against liable businesses when they’ve been harmed by such practices.
Federal Trade Commission Act
The United States federal government has enacted the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) to empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to broadly protect Americans against “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” Under the FTCA, the FTC may act on behalf of consumers in seeking monetary compensation for losses associated with these acts.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The United States Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1978 to combat “abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices” by third-party debt collectors. This federal law prohibits “false, deceptive, or misleading representation” as a means to collect on a debt.
Debt collectors are also prohibited under the FDCPA from harassing or annoying debtors, threatening to arrest debtors, or threatening civil legal action when the threat isn’t genuine. If a debt collector violates the law, the FDCPA holds them liable for the consumer’s damages.
Truth in Lending Act and Fair Credit Billing Act
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is another federal law that’s designed to promote informed and fair consumer credit practices. It requires creditors that work with consumers to disclose in writing the terms of loan agreements, including the cost of credit and the finance charge associated with it.
The Fair Credit Billing Act, later introduced as an amendment to the TILA, also requires creditors to provide “prompt written acknowledgment” of billing complaints made by consumers and requires the investigation of creditor billing errors, among other debt-related protections.
Benefits of working with a Chicago consumer law attorney
Claims for consumer fraud and deception are often made against some of the largest and most powerful business entities in the nation. These corporations have nearly limitless resources to fight back against claims, and the power imbalance can make it challenging for consumers to hold them accountable on their own.
With the help of an experienced consumer law attorney, you can level the playing field and pursue justice for the harm you’ve suffered. A seasoned consumer law attorney in Chicago can help build a strong legal case against the liable parties and advocate zealously on your behalf.
Why hire Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates
The Chicago personal injury attorneys with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates have over 350 years of combined experience representing people just like you who have suffered losses due to the negligent or malicious actions of others. Since 1924, we’ve recovered more than a billion dollars on behalf of our clients through out-of-court settlements, jury verdicts, and administrative rulings.
We have the ability and the resources to thoroughly investigate your case and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. Our Chicago consumer law attorneys will take every step necessary to get you the settlement that you deserve. We worked closely with ConsumerAffairs, a consumer advocacy group that works to alert consumers to questionable products, companies, and business practices.
You can arrange a consultation via phone at (800) 985-1819 or use the “Live Chat” feature on this website. There’s no charge for the consultation. There will be no charge for any other work that we do for you until after we’ve settled your case.
Our Chicago consumer law attorneys are ready to help
If you have been harmed, you have recourse. If it is the best strategy for your case, Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates has extensive experience representing clients in complex class action lawsuits.
Our Chicago personal injury attorneys have fought cases against major corporations. Some of the major corporations include America Online, General Motors, K-Mart Corporation, Canon, and Sunbeam. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you. Call now.