There are several ways a business might use unfair or deceptive practices. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines unfair acts or practices as something that causes substantial injury to the customer without providing a sufficient benefit to outweigh the harm. The Federal Trade Commission establishes deceptive practices as a misrepresentation of a product or service so that customers interpret it in a way that causes material damage.
As a consumer, you need to look for unfair practices. If you educate yourself on how a business might deceive you, you have a better chance of avoiding a scam or recognizing when a company takes advantage of you.
Claims made over the phone or through a website need to use precise language. For example, a company cannot market a product as “new” if the product is more than six months old. False claims about “curing” specific ailments are also deceptive and might be open to lawsuits.
Pressuring or taking advantage of ignorance
Telemarketers are notorious for taking advantage of the elderly and non-English speakers. Using pressure tactics or ignorance of the customer is an unfair practice that the FTC does not consider legal if the customer cannot reasonably avoid the injury or omission of fact. If you have a relative who fell into a scam, contact a lawyer specializing in class-action lawsuits.
Unfortunately, many businesses take advantage of their customers. If you believe you are the victim of deceptive practice, you have legal recourse to recoup your losses. Do not take a financial loss if you do not have to.