Consumer Fraud Defense

Consumer fraud statutes in every state punish businesses for false or fraudulent advertising, marketing, and sales of products to the public. Consumers may claim actual damages as well as attorney’s fees, and some states even double or triple the actual damages if the plaintiff can produce evidence of malicious intent on the part of a defendant. If your business is facing a lawsuit for alleged consumer fraud, you need an experienced team of business and commercial litigation attorneys to defend your interests. Our Chicago consumer fraud defense lawyers represent businesses in individual and class action suits involving allegations of consumer fraud, business fraud, insurance fraud, and credit card fraud.

Consumer Fraud Statutes

The Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (CFDBPA) covers business-to-consumer transactions and transactions between businesses. It generally penalizes vendors who make deceptive statements or representations in order to induce someone to make a purchase. The statute defines “deceptive” through an extensive list of acts or practices, giving the word a very broad scope. It incorporates the list of prohibited “deceptive trade practices” in the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA), which includes:

  • Creating likelihood of confusion regarding attributes of goods or services, such as their source or sponsorship;
  • Misrepresenting the geographic origin of a good or service;
  • Claiming that used or reconditioned goods are new;
  • False or misleading descriptions of a good’s quality;
  • Misleading statements intended to disparage the goods or services of another; or
  • Providing misleading explanations for reductions in a good’s price.

The CFDBPA also addresses pyramid schemes, “chain referrals sales techniques,” personal services, representations regarding the quality of food and other products, and a range of transactions involving used or secondhand goods. It has extensive regulations on the use of consumers’ personal information and communications with credit agencies and other third parties. It requires businesses that transact business primarily through the mail to disclose the physical address where it conducts business.

Consumers may bring complaints of alleged deceptive practices to the Attorney General, who may pursue injunctive and other relief against the business. Consumers who file suit for damages may recover actual and, in some circumstances, punitive damages.

Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft: Facts and Figures

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) compiles an annual report on consumer fraud complaints. It states that 2012 was the first year in which it received more than two million consumer complaints. Identity theft was the largest single category of complaint. Its top ten categories were:

Identity Theft18 percent
Debt collection10 percent
Banks and Lenders6 percent
Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales6 percent
Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries5 percent
Impostor Scams4 percent
Internet Services4 percent
Auto-Related Complaints4 percent
Telephone and Mobile Services4 percent
Credit Cards3 percent

Based in the Chicago area, our consumer fraud defense attorneys have defended many different types of businesses in a large number of different types of consumer fraud cases including banks, new and used car dealers, landlords that own large apartment complexes and a host of other different businesses. Because we have had an active practice prosecuting consumer fraud cases for over 30 years, we bring a unique perspective to defending businesses in consumer fraud litigation. We spend a large amount of time understanding the nature of the businesses practices at issue and learning the facts of your case so that we can develop a comprehensive winning strategy that minimizes your costs and achieves an excellent result. We also review all of your business insurance policies and have a great deal of experience obtaining defense costs from your insurer and working to ensure that the carriers provide the agreed upon coverage for your business.

DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle’s Chicago consumer fraud defense attorneys have offices in Oakbrook Terrace and Chicago, Illinois. We represent clients throughout Illinois, including the Chicago metro area and DuPage County, as well as Indiana and Wisconsin. To schedule a consultation with a consumer fraud defense lawyer in Chicago, contact us via email, at (877) 990-4990, or locally at (630) 333-0000.

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