Michigan business owners may have heard the term "deceptive trade practices" and wondered what the term means or how it could apply to them. A deceptive trade practice is any activity that is designed to mislead the public about a product or service. Deceptive trade practice laws apply both to individuals and businesses. Either the injured party or the attorney general may bring a lawsuit to stop unfair or deceptive trade practices. In some cases, a company that engages in unfair or deceptive practices could be criminally prosecuted, facing jail and fines.
Michigan law lists more than 30 different business practices that are considered unfair and deceptive. Illegal practices include false advertising, making false or misleading statements about price reductions, representing that a person requested services that weren't asked for and representing goods as new when they are not. It is also a violation to represent unnecessary repairs as needed, to falsely offer a rebate or discount for entering into a transaction, to require a customer to sign a document knowing the contents are not true or to make statements that create confusion regarding the terms of any credit being offered.
A business may not fail to disclose any material fact that could not be known to the consumer if hiding the fact could mislead or deceive the customer about the transaction. An injured party may choose to institute business litigation for monetary damages as compensation for any injury suffered.
If a company has been the victim of unfair or deceptive trade practices, a local business litigation attorney may be able to help negotiate a settlement. If the parties are not able to reach an amicable resolution, an attorney may be able to help file a lawsuit to stop the unfair business practices and seek damages.
Source: FindLaw, "Details on State Deceptive Trade Practices", September 29, 2014