What is consumer fraud?
“Consumer fraud” refers to deceptive practices, including deceptive labeling, misleading advertising, sale of defective products, financial scams or other similar conduct that generally results in financial or other losses for consumers. If you feel you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can get a professional opinion from a member of the class action team at Halunen Law. Our dedicated attorneys have a proven record of prosecuting consumer fraud claims nationwide through what is called a “class action.”
What is the Consumer Protection Act?
1967 was a good year for consumers—it was the year the Consumer Protection Act was enacted to replace the guiding principal of caveat emptor (aka: buyer beware). Before the Consumer Protection Act, the assumption was that people and companies selling products could and would do anything to get you to buy their products—including lie to you—and there was little you could legally do to stop them. Today, the Consumer Protection Act prohibits businesses from using false advertising. But unfortunately, not every company is truthful about its products.
What is a class action?
In a class action, one or more persons who have been subjected to consumer fraud file a lawsuit on behalf of others who have had similar experiences. A class action can achieve justice for many people when it would be too expensive for individuals to challenge a company’s bad conduct on their own. Those people who step forward are called “class representatives.”
What is a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit?
A Consumer Class Action Lawsuit is more than a mysterious notification you get in the mail. It is a powerful tool that can provide monetary relief to consumers who have experienced harm due to false advertising or faulty products. Perhaps more importantly, a Class Action Lawsuit can change fraudulent industry practices that may have otherwise gone unchallenged.
How does a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit work?
A Consumer Class Action Lawsuit can be brought by one person on behalf of a group of people that have been harmed in the same way. It may seem daunting to think about standing alone against a large company that may have harmed you as a result of false advertising. But when you represent a group of people who have experienced similar harm, it is more likely that you’ll have a successful outcome. And the economic harm each person experiences does not have to be a significant amount to warrant a suit as long as enough people experienced a loss. For instance, if a million people each lost only one dollar as a result of a company’s false advertising, the harm totals one million dollars.
Who can bring a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit?
It only takes one person to bring a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit. Thanks to the Consumer Protection Act, only one person who purchased the product or service needs to sign up with an attorney—and that person can act as a representative for everyone else who may have purchased the same product or service.
What determines whether or not I can file a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit?
To file a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit you need to have experienced harm as the result of purchasing a product or service. The harm you experienced needs to meet certain criteria: it needs to be illegal; and it needs to be illegal to a group of people. If you’re not sure whether or not your experience meets those criteria, we can help you figure it out.
If I bring a class action lawsuit, will it change anything?
If successful, the class can receive monetary relief from the resolution of a Class Action Lawsuit. Additionally, Class Action Lawsuits can be—and often are—the catalyst for significant change within industries. Labels can be changed, products can be reformulated, and companies can be held accountable for the promises they make about their products. And often, when liability is found against one company, other competitors who may be acting similarly quickly change their conduct because they don’t want to get sued. By holding one or two companies accountable through Class Action Lawsuits, an entire industry can be changed.
Case in point:
Halunen Law recently resolved a Class Action Lawsuit against household product manufacturer Seventh Generation Inc. The product named in the lawsuit made a number of claims about being natural but contained synthetic ingredients, including one that is a skin allergen. In that settlement we were able to bring about several outcomes:
- Consumers who had purchased the product got monetary relief.
- The company changed its
- The company agreed to reformulate some of its
Halunen Law prides itself on assisting our clients to be a catalyst for change. Fairness. Honesty. Justice. It’s in our DNA. If it’s time to take a stand, Halunen Law will stand with you every step of the way. Contact us today.
Why would I want to serve as a class representative?
One person can make a big difference. When you stand up for your rights you can help countless others and make a profound impact on an entire industry. When companies are held accountable for their deceptive actions, other companies take note.
What are my next steps?
If you have experienced consumer fraud, contact the Halunen Law consumer class action team. We will evaluate your potential claims and discuss your options.
What is false advertising?
False advertising is just what it sounds like: it’s describing a product as something that it is not, in an effort to sell it. Sometimes false advertising is a flat-out lie—the claims about the product are simply not true. And sometimes false advertising is a bit more subtle—it can be a statement that is technically true, but misleads the consumer.
How can I tell if I’ve been the victim of false advertising?
Sometimes false advertising becomes apparent rather quickly, like when the product you purchased simply doesn’t work. But for certain types of products, like building materials, defects can remain hidden for years before you discover the company’s false claims.
For instances in which advertising seems misleading, the courts have set up a Reasonable Consumer Standard. That standard asks: Would a consumer acting reasonably believe the claims of the advertiser? And if that consumer was acting and thinking reasonably, would they have been misled and experienced harm? Halunen Law’s case against Earth Friendly homecare products provides a good example. The products claimed to be “natural” despite containing a synthetic chemical known to cause rashes and other skin conditions. Given the brand’s claim it was reasonable for the consumer to expect the products were “natural” and free of chemicals. As a result of our work we were able to negotiate removal of the harmful chemical from the product line.
Still, companies are allowed something the courts call “puffery” in advertising, which could be described as the legal version of “stretching the truth.” Examples of puffery are: “This product is the best.” or “This service is great.” Essentially, puffery is when companies make promotional statements that cannot be measured or tested.
What can I do if I think I’ve been the victim of false advertising or misrepresentation?
If you believe you are the victim of false advertising, you may be able to file a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit. Call us to schedule a free consultation. You can tell us your story so we can help you determine what course of action you may be able to take. If we are not able to bring a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit on your behalf, we may be able to steer you toward other solutions.
Are some companies too big to sue in a class action?
At Halunen Law we believe no company is too big, too powerful, or too influential to avoid responsibility when its actions fall outside the boundaries of the law. While we appreciate and respect responsible corporate citizens, we will challenge those who take advantage of consumers. We consider it a privilege to have successfully represented many consumers who took a stand against some of the largest domestic and international corporations.
If you think you are a victim of consumer fraud, or would like to know more about the Halunen Law class action team investigations, please “Contact Us” or call us at 612-605-4098.
This information is not legal advice.