New York's General Business Law makes deceptive business practices illegal. The law is extremely beneficial to consumers who have disputes with businesses and need to litigate.
Deceptive business practices are far too common. Some examples include false advertising, bait-and-switch, misrepresentation, and violating disclosure laws to name a few.
When it comes to a dispute between a consumer and a business, the business generally has the upper hand. Businesses usually have the resources and finances to give them advantages in lawsuits. However, in New York, General Business Law section 349 gives consumers, the injured parties, a more fair playing field when it comes to fighting deceptive business practices. The businesses may be more willing to settle litigation and negotiate.
There are three elements that constitute a deceptive business practice. First, the deceptive business practice must affect consumers at large. Second, there must be an act of deception in a material way. Third, the deceptive business practice must have left the consumer injured.
The plaintiff, or injured party, can recover up to three times their actual damages. They can also be awarded attorney fees. The award of attorney fees is what allows the plaintiff to be able to fight big businesses in court. Additionally, if the deceptive business practice took place in New York state, then the actual purchase of materials did not need to occur in the state for a plaintiff to pursue charges.
A defendant could effectively fight back and win if their actions complied with the regulations of the Federal Trade commission or other U.S. government statutes. They could also win their case if they can prove their actions did not affect the consumer, the plaintiff suffered no injury, the statue of limitations expired, or it was not a deceptive act.
For advice about your specific dispute or lawsuit, consult an experienced attorney.