NYC Consumer Fraud Lawyers
Consumers who want to purchase products and/or services have a legal right to get honest and truthful information. New York laws are in place to regulate advertisements from manufacturers. Any false, misleading or deceptive claims about the price, purpose or quality of these products and/or services, such as lying about interest rates on bad credit small business loans is illegal.
Still, some consumers may feel powerless because they do not realize there is a legal recourse to being misled into buying something. Fortunately, victims of consumer fraud can hire lawyers with knowledge and experience in handling such cases.
What Qualifies as Fraud?
Many types of practices can qualify as consumer fraud. Price rigging, also known as artificially inflating prices, is an illegal practice to get higher prices at the expense of consumers. Some use the fine print that not everybody reads to mislead consumers.
Others fail to disclose information about a product or service that would possibly change the consumer’s mind about buying if known. Bait-and-switch advertising is another illegal tactic that advertisers use across a wide range of industries.
In many cases, losses resulting from consumer fraud is relatively small. Yet, consumers should not have to bear those losses, whether big or small. A person could get injured by a defective product or become a victim of a bait-and-switch tactic. In either case, there are options available that force negligent parties to compensate the person for the damage.
Some people choose to resolve the issue with an individual lawsuit. Others may decide that a class action lawsuit will benefit their situation. Both legal remedies allow people to obtain compensation for losses.
Class Action Lawsuits versus Individual Fraud Claims
Consumer fraud cases can be pursued with a class action lawsuit or on an individual basis. Either suit can be filed against a large corporation, debt collector or any type of business that serves consumers.
Bringing a class action suit in a consumer protection case requires that a large number of people have similar situations after purchasing a certain product or service. Generally, this type of suit is appropriate when one company wronged all people in the class the same way.
An individual lawsuit works best if, for example, a car dealer violates a lemon law and sells a car to one person without having a history of selling similar cars to other consumers.
New York Consumer Fraud Law
Consumer fraud in New York that occurs by fraudulent concealment, fraudulent inducement or misrepresentation is prohibited under the Deceptive Practices Act and common law.
An example of how common law applies to fraudulent inducement is the consumer must show a misrepresentation or material omission of fact was known by the defendant to be false. Additionally, a person will need to prove that the deception was made to persuade them to rely on it.
Different elements are required under the Deceptive Practices Act. It must be established that the business’s practice or act was misleading, consumer-oriented and the person suffered harm from the deceptive practice or act. Proving intent to mislead is not required.
Breach of Contract
People may have a breach of contract claim if the other party in the contract fails to perform its promises. Monetary awards can come in the form of compensatory damages, liquidation damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are intended to cover the losses a consumer suffers from the breach. The point is to make the consumer whole again.
Liquidation damages are usually written into the contract and are usually a fair estimate of what damages could be if the contract is breached. This applies when actually damages are hard to foresee.
With punitive damages, the breaching party is punished and deterred from committing future breaches. This type of award is rare in contract cases, but could apply in some cases of fraud.
Services Not Rendered
Unfortunately, there are many instances where consumers are charged for services that were ever delivered. For example, a person could take their car for repairs and be charged for work that the auto mechanic never does. Not only has the person paid for services they never received, but they are also at risk of injury or death while driving.
Another example is paying for home repairs that were not necessary. Some contractors depend on victims who are unaware about what has happened. These contractors will charge for extra work that was never part of the original problem.
Bringing such fraudulent business practices to justice can help the original victim and others who could have the same negative experience.
Contact a NYC Consumer Fraud Lawyer
Being the victim of consumer fraud can be an unsettling experience. no one should suffer through the experience alone. Instead, they should contact a NYC consumer fraud lawyer as soon as possible. A free consultation can ease the tension and put them on the path to seeing that the negligent party is held accountable and that they get the compensation they deserve.