Skip to main content

Most states prohibit illegal business practices, but California law goes one step further and protects consumers from unfair business practices

And while those laws protect hardworking, everyday people from corporate greed – some corporations still try to take advantage of consumers like you. 

At the Consumer & Employment Law Group, we fight for the people. Our San Diego-based team has extensive experience in fighting unfair business practices, including advocating for victims of false advertising and deception.

What makes a business practice unfair?

Unfair business practices in California consumer law are defined as any practice that offends public policy, is unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, or substantially injurious to consumers.

One of the most famous examples of unfair business practices may be the gross food industry standards of the early 1900s – rodents getting mixed in with ground meat or flour, canned food made of anything but actual food, practically non-existent worker protections, and so on. 

That era prompted many new rules and regulations to protect the public and more laws with the same goal have been enacted for decades to come. 

Today, unfair business practices can be determined by looking at previous court rulings or newly enacted laws. The idea is that businesses should not behave in a fraudulent, unethical, misrepresentative, or deceptive way against consumers. And as times change, so do the laws. 

For example, since the popularization of the internet and all its ever-changing contents, we have seen new ways businesses have discovered to deceive the public. That’s why in 2018, California passed new privacy laws to keep up with the times. Still, overall, “unfair business practices” is an umbrella term that can mean a number of actions.

What kind of unfair business practices laws does California have?

The California Business and Professions Code states that unfair business practices include any unfair, unlawful, or fraudulent acts, statements, or advertisements. 

Generally, to pursue a claim under California law, you need to prove suffering and economic losses due to an unfair practice.

Here are the three possible definitions you can apply:

  • Unfair: an unfair business practice is one that could potentially deceive the public. 
  • Unlawful: An unlawful practice is one that violates a statute, rule, or regulation.
  • Fraudulent: Similar to the definition of unfair, you have to show that members of the public are likely to be deceived by the business practice. But California courts don’t need proof of actual deception or damages.

Note: As the consumer, you don’t have to prove all three parts. As long as you can prove one, you have a claim you can take to court.

Examples of unfair business practices in California

Unfortunately, unfair business practices aren’t few and far between. There are too many examples for us to cover all the ways that businesses can take advantage of the consumer in this blog alone. If you’re wondering whether a business deceived you, consult a California consumer law attorney.

You can also review this list of examples and see if they apply to your situation:

  • Adding hidden fees or charges after the sale
  • Withholding information in a sales transaction
  • False advertising
  • Bait and switch tactics
  • Violations of do-not-call, do-not-fax, or email unsubscribe requests
  • Violating your privacy 
  • Confusing language meant to deceive

Contact our experienced attorneys at the Consumer & Employment Law Group

Our attorneys have firsthand experience with class action suits that help consumers while advancing the greater good. There is strength in numbers, and we have successfully leveraged that power to recover millions of dollars for consumers in a variety of consumer law cases.

We’re here to help you fight against illegal and unfair business practices. Don’t let corporations and businesses take advantage of you for the sake of their bottom line. Schedule a free consultation today.