Consumer Fraud Class Actions
Our economy and our society are based to a large extent on relationships between manufacturers, distributors, and retailers on one side; and consumers on the other. Most consumers are individuals purchasing goods for their personal use, from automobiles and major appliances to groceries and medications. This relationship relies on the consumer’s trust that the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of a good are trustworthy, that they are providing goods of reasonable quality, and that the statements made about the goods are true. Consumer protection laws allow consumers to recover damages for fraudulent statements, breaches of warranty, and defective products, but the consumer-merchant relationship often involves a significant imbalance of power. An individual consumer may feel that the cost of bringing a claim is not worth the possible recovery, and many large companies know this. However, with the assistance of a Chicago consumer fraud lawyer, consumers can pool their resources, join their claims, and present a single lawsuit that the company must take seriously.Examples of Consumer Fraud
Consumers have a duty of researching and reviewing products before deciding to make a purchase, but this depends on the availability of accurate information. It also depends on certain implied warranties required by law regarding the quality of products sold to the public. Fraudulent or deceptive trade practices that could give rise to consumer claims may include:
- Misleading statements about a product’s origin, quality, or workmanship;
- Offering a product for “sale” based on a misrepresentation of the product’s actual value;
- Breach of the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, such as when a merchant knows that a product is not of a sufficient quality for its advertised use;
- False or misleading statements about a product’s uses or effects, including many “health” products that claim benefits with no supporting evidence; and
- Fraudulent charges or surcharges that are not directly related to the product.
Every state has one or more statutes protecting consumers from fraudulent or deceptive practices by merchants. Illinois has two such statutes, the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which prohibit a wide range of business practices that harm consumers. They also give consumers causes of action for consumer fraud.Consumer Fraud Class Actions
Instances of consumer fraud often involve a large, even global, company versus the rights of an individual consumer. This imbalance of power may lead a consumer to think the chance of recovery is not worth the time or expense of asserting a claim. Class action litigation allows consumers, each of whom may not be able to bring suit individually, to join their claims against a defendant for similar injuries. This presents a unified and significantly larger front that the defendant cannot ignore.
Nationwide Consumer Rights’ Chicago consumer fraud attorneys offer decades of litigation experience to plaintiffs around the country who have suffered from consumer fraud and other violations of consumer protection statutes. We help individuals stand and assert their legal rights against much larger and better-financed opponents. Contact us today online or at (630) 333-0000 for a free and confidential consultation with a consumer fraud lawyer based in the Chicago area.