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Proposed Title

CONSUMER LAW: Protecting The Consumer Under The Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA) in USA



Laws on consumer protection are enacted to regulate business and trading practices in the market to ensure unsuspecting consumers are not subjected to inferior goods, fraud and unfair tendencies that may arise due to market competition. The government uses consumer laws to ensure that the fundamental rights of consumers are always upheld. In the United States statutes such as The Truth in Lending Act among others seek to protect consumers and such laws and statutes are enforced by the Federal State Commission. Consumer protection laws dig much deeper to cover consumers against deception by producers through false advertisements and misbranding of commodities.

The history of consumer protection dates back in the 20th century during the pre-industrial era. At this period products of industrial activities were easy to understand and decipher thanks to the basic industrial mechanisms involved. Since 1914, the Federal Trade Commission has actively sought to protect consumers from market malpractices such as deception. Caveat Emptor let the buyer be aware principle dominated and influenced market proceedings. The principle works in assumption that consumers know what they require and have all the capacity and knowledge to make decisions based on what the need.

Industrial revolution has ensured sophisticated mechanisms of producing goods and it may require more than just general knowledge on the part of consumers to make wise decisions when purchasing goods. The need to protect consumers amidst sophisticated industrial developments has ensured a constant evolution of the consumer protection laws to address unfair market practices. In USA, FTC has achieved positive consumer protection results in some areas but on other states the scenario is completely different. The force, zeal and aggressiveness of consumer protection greatly vary and cases concerning breach of consumer rights remain less likely to be litigated in courts of law at times(Horvath, Villafranco and Calkins, 2009, p.562).

It should be further emphasized that consumers are protected by both criminal and civil statutes. Contract law specifically protects consumers during contractual sale agreements against unfair business conditions and terms. When goods are exchanged for a price, consumers are always protected by The Sale of Goods Act of 1979 as amended. Section 13 of this act specifically mentions the nature of business transactions which could be executed as either sale by a business entity of private individuals. Goods purchased by consumers may not only be detrimental to the purchasers but to the whole public as well. The Act protecting consumers empowers the public to sue whenever damages occur. The Act protecting consumers does not work in isolation but is dependent on other statutes of law such as the 1979 Act on Unfair Contractual Terms and also the 1982 enacted Act on the sale of goods. Such statutes come into play when goods are sold with certain conditions, warranties and other implied terms(Horvath, Villafranco and Calkins, 2009, p.561). This is further supplemented by the Deceptive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act enacted in 1973 to further protect consumers against false information with an intention to enjoy commercial advantage.

Thesis Statement

The Deceptive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection (DTPA) was enacted in 1973 to protect consumers against false information in business transactions and breach of terms such as warranties agreed upon during business transactions. Initially the Act did not cover business transactions in the field of real estate but this was later amended in 1975 to provide for these including lease agreements (Horvath, Villafranco and Calkins, 2009, p.561). The Act specifically defines terms as relating to business transactions against any ambiguities that may arise. The law under the Act does not require prospective consumers to prove the underlying intentions of the sellers as related to the sale of goods. As a matter of fact any unconscious misrepresentation of facts in a sale agreement is no defense at all. The Act further protects against any views that may have influenced consumers make decisions to the contrary.

Under DTPA, consumers can suspend under some circumstances, their rights in order to acquire goods. Such waiver of rights is however against the general spirit of public policy and may be considered untenable. In 1995, the Act was amended to provide an opportunity to consumers to suspend their rights but under very strict conditions. This situation is tenable if such waiver of rights is made in writing and signed by the consumers. The research paper discusses in depth consumer protection laws and how individuals get protection in general under The Deceptive Trade Practices Act in the United States of America.

The Research Problem Questions

Key Objectives of the Study

Project Scope

Literature Review


Analysis and Key Discussions


DTPA provides for consumer protection against false presentation of information regarding the status of goods during an act of sale. Consumers are as well guarded against breach of condition of warranty as provided by sellers of goods. Once consumers prove that damages occurred due to information relayed by the sellers, they can recover monetary loses, legal fees and any compensation to a scale of three times the initial cost incurred. As previously indicated, the consumers of goods are not under any condition of law to prove the motive of the sellers in a transaction. In the event of a breach of terms agreed, the sellers must be properly served notice of complain in sixty days under a settlement should be discussed and implemented failure to which a court proceeding could now be explored.


Horvath, A., Villafranco, J ., & Calkins, S.(2009). Consumer protection law developments. New York, NY: American Bar Association. 561-653.