Do you live in California? Have you ever been mislead, deceived, or ripped off by a business? If so, you probably have a legal basis to file a lawsuit. California has some of the strongest consumer protection laws in the country. One of the oldest and most frequently litigated is the Unfair Competition Law (UCL). Found in the California Business and Professions Code sections 17200 through 17209, the UCL is designed to prohibit businesses from almost any sort of business-related misconduct. Specifically, it allows for “specific or preventive relief” “to enforce a penalty, forfeiture, or penal law in a case of unfair competition.”
What Constitutes “Unfair Competition”?
The California Business and Professions Code (BPC) defines unfair competition as one of the following:
- “Any unlawful” business act or practice
- Any “unfair” business act or practice
- Any “fraudulent business act or practice”
- Any “unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising”
- Any act in BPC sections 17500 through 17577, which is a highly specific list acts by different types of businesses
Significantly, each of these is an entirely separate claim, so you don’t have to plead or prove one to prevail on another.
False advertising claims are frequently litigated under the UCL. To prove a claim of “unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising”, a consumer must show that a company engaged in false advertising and that the consumer was harmed as a result (in the form of actual injury or a loss of money/property). Appellate Courts in California have interpreted advertising loosely, favoring consumers. Advertising generally includes any statement made by a business or a representative relating to the sale of a good or service. So when for-profit colleges spend money on television, radio, internet, and print in order to induce people to pay for classes, they are engaging in advertising. The ultimate question then becomes: when for-profit colleges advertise false or misleading statistics, inducing students into assuming unaffordable student loans, have they open themselves up to liability under the UCL?
If you have been a student at DeVry in the last ten years, you may be entitled to relief. Significantly, even if you received relief through the FTC lawsuit, you may still be entitled to additional damages from DeVry. The experienced team at Moss Bollinger wants to help you through this process. Our attorneys are very familiar with these claims against DeVry and will fight to get you the maximum amount of damages you may be owed. Call us today at (866) 535-2994 for a free consultation or reach us online.