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District of Columbia Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Both federal and state laws identify certain trade practices as "deceptive" and thus illegal. Such practices include lying about the origin of a product, advertising goods without the intention of stocking enough to meet demand, rolling back the odometer on a used car, and other offenses. State attorneys general usually bring claims against businesses on behalf of wronged consumers, while some states also allow private lawsuits to for damages.

Washington, D.C. Deceptive Trade Practice Laws at a Glance

As with most other state codes, the District of Columbia lists a number of acts considered to be deceptive trade practices. These include false advertising, bait-and-switch tactics, selling used or damaged goods as new, and other schemes. Contact Washington, D.C.'s Office of the Attorney General if you would like to file a formal consumer complaint.

More details of Washington, D.C.'s deceptive trade practices statute can be found in the following chart. See FindLaw's Consumer Transactions section for related articles.

Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted Yes (§28-3904)
Prohibited Acts  

It is a violation of D.C.'s Unlawful Trade Practices statute for any person to (see statute for complete list):

  • Represent that goods or services have a source, sponsorship, approval, certification, accessories, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities that they do not have
  • Represent that goods are original or new if in fact they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, or second hand, or have been used
  • Advertise or offer goods or services without the intent to sell them or without the intent to sell them as advertised or offered
  • Falsely state that services, replacements, or repairs are needed
  • Harass, or threaten a consumer with any act other than legal process, either by telephone, cards, or letters
Who May Bring Suit Director of Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; consumer (§28-3905)
Remedies Available Appropriate civil penalties: injunction, actual and treble damages, attorney's fees; consumer redress remedies; punitive damages (§28-3905)

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of new legislation but sometimes through decisions from higher courts or other means. You may want to contact a District of Columbia consumer protection attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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District of Columbia Deceptive Trade Practices Law: Related Resources

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