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Texas homeowner files lawsuit against home builder

A Texas resident recently filed a lawsuit against a local manufactured home builder, claiming that she was sold a home back in 2010 that had a large number of defects. The homeowner claims that the home had been fixed approximately 10 times throughout the years; however, defects still existed.

The lawsuit noted defects such as water leaks and mold, as well as HVAC and septic system issues. Furthermore, the lawsuit accused the builder of breach of warranty and deceptive trade practices. The homeowner hopes to receive a judgment in her favor for loss of use of the home, as well as its diminished value, cost of repairs, out-of-pocket expenses and attorney's fees.

The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act

The purpose of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, or DTPA, is to shield consumers from the corrupt or reprehensible actions of businesses and the insurance industry. Even though the Act has gone through considerable changes since its origin in 1973, it can still be an effective weapon for consumers.

Businesses that deliberately deceive consumers regarding the nature of their products or services can be subjected to penalties and fines. They can also be held legally responsible if any consumers are harmed because of that deception.

Those who believe they have been subjected to deceptive trade practices have certain rights; however, it is important that individuals are aware of the acts that are considered to be unlawful under the DTPA. Such acts include the following:

  • Breach of verbal or written express warranties
  • Unconscionable acts, such as taking advantage of a consumer's lack of experience or knowledge
  • Any misleading, deceptive or false act, including things such as making representations that goods are of a certain quality when they are not, claiming that goods are new when they are used and failing to inform the consumer about information that was known at the time of the transaction in an effort to encourage the consumer's participation in the transaction

The DTPA also protects against additional acts not included in the list above. Individuals should be aware that in order to claim that a violation has occurred under the DTPA, the consumer must show that harm was caused by the consumer's reliance on the unlawful act.

DTPA guidelines

Prior to filing a lawsuit for damages under the DTPA, a consumer must serve written notice to the seller, explaining in reasonable detail exactly what is wrong and requesting an amount for the damages incurred. If, after receiving this letter, the seller does not send the consumer the amount requested within 60 days of receipt, a lawsuit can be filed at that time.

The DTPA allows victims of deceptive trade practices to possibly recover financial and mental anguish damages, related costs and attorney's fees. In some cases, a court may award up to three times the amount of financial and/or mental anguish damages. However, successfully resolving these types of cases can require the skill and aggressive representation of an attorney who has had success with litigating disputes arising under the DTPA.

An experienced deceptive trade practices lawyer can assist individuals with understanding their rights and responsibilities under the DTPA, as well as performing the appropriate steps to file and pursue a lawsuit.

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