Every company wants to present their products and services in the best light possible, but state laws place strict limits on the claims they can make and how they can conduct business. In North Carolina, companies that engage in overtly misleading advertising or engage in other deceptive activities may be subject to penalties, stiff fines, and civil litigation suits filed by consumers or other businesses injured by unfair practices. This guide explains the state’s laws governing deceptive business activities.
Unfair Business Practices
In North Carolina, unfair and deceptive business practices are governed by statutes, specifically, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1. North Carolina law closely mirrors Federal law on unfair and deceptive practices in the statute entitled Methods of Competition, Acts and Practices Regulated; Legislative Policy states that “Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are declared unlawful.” First, Clearly, what constitutes unfair or deceptive is subject to interpretation and an North Carolina Business Attorney will be well versed in the relevant case law and can assist an individual and entity in knowing if they have a claim based on the act. For example, what may appear to be a standard breach of contract, can qualify as a violation N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1 if substantial aggravating factors are present. Consumers tricked into paying for a product based on misleading advertising may be able to file a suit and get their money back, along with attorney’s fees and other damages, depending on the severity of the offense. Alternatively, if an action has been commenced against your business pursuant to the statute, your may have one or more defenses to the claim. For instance, the relief under the act is limited to acts or methods in or affecting commerce, commerce includes all business activities but does not include professional services rendered by some professionals who are members of a “learned profession”.
Whether you are contemplating bringing a lawsuit for unfair and deceptive practices, or a lawsuit has been brought against you or your company for alleged unfair business practices, it is important to remember, that damages awarded pursuant to violations under the act are tripled, and it is important to consult with a licensed North Carolina business lawyer familiar with the relevant law as soon as possible.
If you’ve fallen victim to false advertising or unfair business practices, or your company has received a complaint, the civil litigation attorneys at The Law Office of W. Randall Holcomb PLLC have the experience and skills to ensure your interests are protected. Learn more about their array of business litigation services online, and call (336) 888-8760 to schedule a consultation today. For more legal advice, news, and updates, follow the firm on Facebook.