What Is Consumer Fraud?

When consumers suffer financial losses or personal injury due to deceitful, unfair, or questionable business practices, it is called fraud. 

Consumer fraud encompasses everything from ransomware to phishing and identity theft, to false advertising and unauthorized banking expenses. (1) (2)

A key factor in consumer fraud is the entity committing these acts knew they were false or illegal at the time the acts were committed. 

Existing Laws, Acts, and Regulations Protecting Against Consumer Fraud

There are numerous laws, acts, and regulations in place to protect consumers. Consumer protection laws exist at both federal and state levels.

Examples of some of these are:

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — A federal agency protecting banking consumers. (3)
  • New York General Business Law 349 — State laws shielding consumers from deceptive acts and services. (4)
  • California Consumer Legal Remedies Act — State law safeguarding consumers from misrepresentations of goods and services. (5)
  • California Unfair Competition Law — State law banning unfair practices aimed at eliminating competitors. (6)

While every state differs, all states have laws regarding consumer protection, warranty, unfair competition, and false advertising.

If you or a loved one have suffered from consumer fraud, contact us today to understand your legal rights.

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Types of Consumer Fraud

Consumer fraud affects all industries. Here are some common types:

Who Is at Risk of Consumer Fraud?

Anyone can fall victim to consumer fraud. Fraudsters may target seniors, college students, non-native English speakers, or people who are carrying debt. 

Here are some personal characteristics that make you more vulnerable: (7)

  • Age.
  • Consumer literacy.
  • Debt.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Overconfidence.
  • Race/ethnicity.
  • Recent negative life events.
  • Risk tolerance.

What Are the Grounds for a Consumer Fraud Case? 

Knowing if you have grounds for pursuing a consumer litigation for fraud is important. False claims, or misleading statements about products and services without supporting evidence, are grounds for consumer fraud cases. So are unauthorized charges or surcharges.

Understanding the definitions of “injury” and “harm” in relation to consumer fraud litigation is also essential. In consumer litigation focusing on fraud,  the terms “injury”  and “harm” typically refer to suffering substantial monetary losses. 

To determine if you may be a victim of consumer fraud, consider:

  • Are there unauthorized charges on your credit card or bank statements?
  • Do products work as advertised?
  • Has your credit score slipped?
  • Have you been harmed by a product?
  • Have the products you ordered been delivered?
  • Were product claims, warrantees, or guarantees false or misleading?
  • Were product instructions incomplete, unclear, or missing?

Determining the Responsible Parties in a Consumer Fraud Lawsuit

If you have been a victim of consumer fraud, determining who to hold accountable is important. 

Companies are responsible for the products they design, manufacture, sell, or distribute. They can be held accountable for defective and harmful products, as well as misleading information about those products.

Services provided by professionals and organizations are also subject to consumer protection laws. (8) 

To determine the liable parties, consider:

  • Who provided the product or service — designed, manufactured, distributed, or sold it?
  • Were the advertising and instructions adequate, confusing, misleading, or missing?
  • Was the product or service actually delivered?

W&L Has Experience in Consumer Fraud and Litigation Lawsuits

If you have been victimized, it may be time to consider filing a consumer fraud litigation. W&L is a national consumer litigation law firm. We have successfully pursued companies who caused consumers to be harmed.

Here is a snapshot of some of our cases:

  • Roblox Corporation — Class action against an online gaming platform, for operating an illegal child gambling ring.
  • Eli Lilly — Class action against the manufacturer, on behalf of diabetics overpaying for insulin products, resulted in a settlement worth more than $500 million in cost savings.
  • Prudential Insurance Company and Wells Fargo — Class action for conspiring to enroll low-income customers in life insurance policies without their knowledge.
  • Wells Fargo and National General Insurance — Class action over swindling customers for car insurance that was not needed.

Attorneys Dedicated to Combating Consumer Fraud

At Weitz & Luxenberg, our consumer protection team is dedicated to combating consumer fraud. James Bilsborrow is a W&L partner and our practice group co-chair.

An experienced litigator, Mr. Bilsborrow spearheads many of our firm’s consumer class action initiatives. He believes, “Earning a profit is not an excuse for questionable and illegal practices. We will fight legally to put a stop to consumer fraud wherever we find it.” 

If you have suffered from consumer fraud, contact us today for a free case review.

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Why Hire Weitz & Luxenberg for Your Consumer Fraud Case?

Fraudsters do not care about the harm they inflict, only about making a dollar. W&L fights back. 

We have the experience and skills to help you get compensation for the fraud you suffered. In all our consumer litigations, we put our energy into getting you the resolution you deserve. 

Violation of the law — and related trickery — needs to be stopped. We believe in protecting consumers and their families from corporations and organizations who take advantage of them.

If you have been affected by a dishonest company, we want to help. Reach out to us. W&L offers a free initial consultation. Let us explore the legal options you have — to get the justice you deserve.