Unfair Business Practices
Unfair business practices encompass fraud, misrepresentation, and oppressive or unconscionable acts or practices by a business entity against consumers or other businesses. California’s Unfair Competition Law (also known as the Unfair Business Practices Act)1 is California’s most frequently used consumer protection statute, with the number of cases filed with Section 17200 claims increasing from year to year.
“Unfair competition” includes any one of the following types of business “wrongs”: (1) an “unlawful” business act or practice; (2) an “unfair” business act or practice; (3) a “fraudulent” business act or practice; (4) “unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising”; and (5) any act prohibited under the the false advertising laws.2 Under the false advertising law, it is unlawful to engage in deceptive, false and misleading advertising in connection with the sale or disposition of real or personal property or services.3
The reach of Section 17200 is extremely broad.4 Each of the five “wrongs” discussed above operates independently from the others. Hence, a business practice is prohibited as unfair or fraudulent even if not unlawful and vice versa.
Bringing a Claim for Unfair Competition
Any person or business damaged by unfair business practices may bring a claim for an injunction to stop unfair practice. They may also obtain restitution for money lost as a result of the wrongful conduct. A winning party may also be able to recover attorney’s fees, especially when the relief obtained confers a significant benefit to a large number of citizens.
Our law firm represents litigants in disputes over unfair business practices and unfair competition including unlawful contracts, fraud, false advertising, and other unfair business practices. Call us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
- Business and Professions Code Section 17200 et seq.
- Business and Professions Code Sections 17500 through 17577.5.
- Section 17500
- See, Cel-Tech Communications, Inc. v. Los Angeles Cellular Telephone Co. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 163, 180.