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Civil Law & Contract Disputes

Civil Law and Contract Disputes

DTPA - The Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) is the primary consumer protection statute in Texas. It applies to trade and commerce. In the statute the definitions of “Consumer”, “trade” and “commerce” have a very broad definitions, therefore, it includes many businesses and many types of business transactions. This permits qualifying businesses or individuals to sue under the statute. DTPA disputes are usually contract disputes and can include but are not limited to construction disputes arising from new construction, renovations or repairs to your home or business. They also include disputes between service providers and their clients. Depending on the nature of the dispute the statue provides a step-wise procedure to be followed before a lawsuit can be filed in Court. The statute also gives the court the power to award attorney fees and punitive damages in certain cases.

Documentation is very important in this type of case, so be proactive in your dealings under any type of contract with a business or individual and ask for written quotes, appraisals and timelines. (If they are reluctant to provide written documentation, reconsider hiring them.) Document changes that occur during the lifespan of the project in writing and don’t hesitate to take pictures at each stage of the project. If an issue does arise during the lifespan of a project try to have another person present during your discussions with the other party about the issue. Another set of “eyes and ears” can be extremely valuable if the content and outcome of the conversation is disputed at a later date.

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