Protecting Consumers’ Rights in Pennsylvania
Federal and state laws protect consumers from unjust, deceptive, and illegal business practices. Collectively known as consumer protection laws, these laws provide an avenue of recourse for those harmed by such practices. For consumers, these laws can serve as a powerful tool for achieving justice when a business’s wrongful practices cause financial harm; for businesses, wrongful allegations of consumer protection violations can seriously impact everyday operations and even threaten the future of the company.
At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our Philadelphia consumer protection attorneys represent both consumers and businesses in a variety of consumer protection-related matters. Whether you are seeking restitution after being harmed by a business’s deceptive practices, or your company is being threatened by consumer protection violation claims, our team can help.
Does Pennsylvania Have Consumer Protection Laws?
In addition to federal consumer protection laws, the state of Pennsylvania protects consumers under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UPTCPL). Under this law, consumers are protected from deceptive, illegal, and unfair practices carried out by another person, professional service, business, or corporate entity. Specifically, the law prohibits businesses from carrying out “fraudulent or deceptive conduct which creates a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding.”
A wide variety of practices are considered “unfair” under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, including but not limited to:
- False advertising
- Deceptive pricing
- False statements
- Fake endorsements
- Exaggerated performance/results
- False representation of goods or services
- Failure to comply with manufacturing/safety standards
- Misleading promotions or false prize/free gift offers
- Deceptive guarantees
Anyone who purchases goods or services for personal, familial, or household purposes could have grounds to bring a consumer complaint against a business entity if that entity is found to have violated any state or federal consumer protection law.
How to File a Consumer Complaint in Pennsylvania
First, to file a consumer complaint, you will need to prove that you have grounds for a claim.
In most cases, this involves proving the following elements:
- You purchased goods and/or services for personal, familial, or household use
- You defensibly depended on the business’s practices when deciding to purchase the good or service
- The business engaged in deceptive, unfair, or illegal practices
- You suffered a measurable economic loss, including losses of money or property
- Your losses were caused by the deceptive, unfair, or illegal practices of the business or seller
If successful, a consumer protection claim can result in an award of treble damages for the plaintiff, meaning three times the amount the plaintiff suffered in damages, as well as repayment for attorney and/or litigation fees.
There are several ways to file an official consumer complaint in Pennsylvania. We encourage you to reach out to van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin to discuss your options with one of our attorneys during a free, in-person consultation. Often, taking legal action is the best way to hold a vendor, seller, or company accountable for consumer protection violations. Our Philadelphia consumer protection attorneys are prepared to help you navigate the legal process and seek the full, fair compensation you are owed.