You have rights as a consumer in Texas. Understanding them will ensure that you are better equipped to avoid scams and get a fair shake.
The Deceptive Trade Practices Act
The primary tool the Office of the Attorney General uses to protect Texas consumers is the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA).
This law lists many practices that are false, deceptive, or misleading. When you fall victim to illegal practices covered by the DTPA, you may have the right to sue for damages under the act. If you win your suit and prove that the defendant knowingly deceived you, you may be eligible to recover up to three times your damages. If you want to pursue an individual case under the DTPA, you should talk to a private lawyer, as the Office of the Attorney General cannot represent you. Refer to section 17.41 in the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Read the Deceptive Trade Practices Act
Dealing with Legitimate Businesses
Some scams are committed by illegitimate businesses -- those that exist simply to scam the public.
But if you have a complaint about a legitimate business, there are several steps you can take beyond filing a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division. These include:
Talk directly to the business
Take your problem to a salesperson, manager, or a customer service representative.
Remember, you have the leverage businesses thrive on the good will of their customers. Without it, they suffer. So start by simply and clearly explaining your problem to the business. They will usually want to correct the problem for you.
Go up the chain
If the business representative you're explaining your problem to can't (or won't) help, ask to speak to their manager.
Continue to move up the company chain until you find someone with the power to help resolve your issue. If it's a franchise company, you may be more successful communicating with the corporate headquarters.
When the business won't help
If the business refuses to fix your problem, you can file a complaint with us, with the Better Business Bureau, and with the Federal Trade Commission.
When the business moved or is closed
Corporations in Texas should be registered with the Secretary of State. You can contact the Secretary of State to find the business' registered agent and address.