Tennessee Consumer Law

In Tennessee, the mini-FTC act is called the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, or T.C.A. § 47-18-101 et seq. Under this legislation, plaintiffs have a cause of action when any legal or commercial entity employs any “unfair or deceptive act or practice,” or employs one of many specifically defined unfair practices listed in the statute.  To sustain an action, the plaintiff must show actual harm due to the defendant’s conduct.  There is a statute of limitations for actions under the statute, of one year from the discovery of the violation, or five years from the actual date of the violation.

            A successful plaintiff is entitled to compensation for actual damages suffered, and in the case of a willful or knowing violation, a plaintiff can recover treble damages, and any other relief the court deems “necessary or proper.”  Damages under the statute are not capped, and attorney’s fees are recoverable if a violation is found.  If a plaintiff brings a frivolous claim, without legal or factual merit, the defendant may recover attorney’s fees as well.  The statute has been interpreted to prohibit class actions.  See Walker v. Sunrise Pontiac, 249 S.W.3d 301 (Tenn. 2008).