Ebay is a global phenomenon. Recently, the sellers on such auction sites have come under greater scrutiny for potential violation of state consumer fraud acts including Texas. The relevant consumer protection act in Texas is the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act .
The state consumer fraud act carries a treble damages award, which means a victim can be awarded three times the amount of their actual loss. The law can be triggered when sellers exaggerate about merchandise sold online, through classified ads including Craigslist, and even flea farms or garage sales.
In NJ, the Supreme Court is weighing the case of a 1970 Corvette convertible , which was described as being “in good condition”. After the buyer paid well over $13K for the car on Ebay, he found upon receiving shipment that the vehicle was undriveable and he wound up spending $40K just to restore it.
The seller sued for breach of contract, common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of the Consumer Fraud Act. The lower state court awarded compensatory damages of $8561, but he also found the seller liable under the Consumer Fraud Act, trebling the damages to $29,953 and awarding $29,950 in counsel fees and $6,544 in court costs.
Under many state Consumer Fraud Acts, liability can generally only attach to dealers, limiting the law’s application to retail and wholesale sellers. Yet many legal counsel in the consumer fraud arena believe consumer fraud acts should apply to “any person” who commits an act of fraud in the sale of a product.
If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, contact your San Antonio and greater Texas consumer fraud attorney today.