Copyright (c) 2001 TN JRNL OF PRAC. & PRO.
The Tennessee Journal of Practice & Procedure
CONTENT: A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE TENNESSEE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT FOR PRACTITIONERS
3 Tenn. J. Prac. & Proc. 67
William G. Hardwick, II*
The Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977 (TCPA) 1 is one of the most versatile consumer protection statutes. The Act is not the only source of relief for an injured consumer, but it is flexible in providing theories of liability, making it a useful basis for claiming relief, either alone or in connection with other state and federal law. The TCPA is, therefore, an excellent place for the practitioner to begin seeking relief for his client.
By its very construction, the TCPA gives a palpable advantage to the injured party. The Act creates a wide variety of claims and may also be used to enforce other consumer protection laws. 2 The TCPA presents the plaintiff with a full range of legal and equitable remedies, including both injunctive and declaratory relief. 3 Proven damages can be trebled, and the court can award the successful plaintiff his attorney fees. 4 The TCPA is available for both large and small cases in chancery and circuit court, as well as courts of limited jurisdiction such as general sessions court. 5
First, the practitioner must decide whether the client is a proper plaintiff under the Act, and whether the plaintiff is a "consumer" entitled to relief. 6 Section 47-18-103(2) defines a consumer as:
[A]ny natural person who seeks or acquires by purchase, rent, lease, assignment, award by chance, or other disposition, any goods, services, or property, tangible or intangible, real, personal or mixed, and any other article, commodity, or ...
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