Georgia has adopted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Act). The Act is covered under Title 10, Chapter 1, specifically in Article 15. Under Sections 10-1-372, 10-1-420 and 10-1-421 false and fraudulent advertisements are prohibited. Such forms of advertisements are treated as deceptive trade practices.
An administrator or a private person may initiate an action for violation arising out of this Act. Pursuant to Section 10-1-420, any person, firm, or corporation engaged in false advertisement with no intent to sell on stated terms will be guilty of a misdemeanor. Violation of Section 10-1-421 is punishable with a fine more than $200 and less than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 20 days or both. Individuals commencing an action can claim injunctive relief from the court. Exemplary damages are awarded only in case of intentional violation. An intentional violation is punishable by three times the actual damages. If the violation resulted from a bonafide error, the claimant can only recover the actual damages.
By the authority of Section 40-8-5 of the Official Code of Georgia, it is unlawful for any person to tamper with an odometer of a motor vehicle with an intention to reflect a lower mileage.
O.C.G.A. § 10-1-372
When trade practices are deceptive; common-law and other remedies unaffected
(a) A person engages in a deceptive trade practice when, in the course of his business, vocation, or occupation, he:
(9) Advertises goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised;
(10) Advertises goods or services with intent not to supply reasonably expectable public demand, unless the advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity;
(b) In order to prevail in an action under this part, a complainant need not prove competition between the parties or actual confusion or misunderstanding.
O.C.G.A. § 10-1-420
Advertising without intending to sell on stated terms; disclaimers as to availability
(a) No person, firm, or corporation shall offer for sale merchandise, commodities, or services by making, publishing, disseminating, circulating, or placing before the public within this state in a newspaper or other publication, or in the form of a book, notice, handbill, poster, sign, billboard, bill, circular, pamphlet, letter, photograph, motion picture, or by radio, loud-speaker, telephone, television, telegraph, or in any other way, or advertise merchandise, commodities, or services with intent, design, or purpose not to sell the merchandise, commodities, or services so advertised or offered for sale at the price or upon the terms stated therein or otherwise communicated, or with intent not to sell the merchandise, commodities, or services so advertised.
(c) Any person, firm, or corporation violating this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
O.C.G.A. § 10-1-421
False or fraudulent statements in advertising prohibited; broadcaster or publisher acting in good faith excepted; penalties
(a) No person, firm, corporation, or association or any employee thereof, with intent directly or indirectly to dispose of real or personal property or to perform services, professional or otherwise, or to do anything of any nature whatsoever to induce the public to enter into any obligation relating thereto, shall make or disseminate or cause to be made or disseminated before the public in this state, in any newspaper or other publication, radio, television, or advertising device or by public outcry or proclamation or any other manner or means whatever, any statement concerning such real or personal property or services, professional or otherwise, or concerning any circumstances or matter of fact connected with the proposed performance or disposition thereof which is untrue or fraudulent and which is known or which by the exercise of reasonable care should be known to be untrue or fraudulent.
(b) Nothing in this Code section shall apply to any visual or sound broadcasting station or to any publisher or printer of a newspaper, magazine, or other form of printed advertising who broadcasts, telecasts, publishes, or prints such advertisement in good faith without knowledge of its false or fraudulent character.
(c) Whoever violates this Code section shall be fined not less than $200.00 nor more than $1,000.00 or imprisoned not more than 20 days, or both.
O.C.G.A. § 10-1-423
Enjoining prohibited advertising
Any person, firm, or corporation offering through advertising merchandise, commodities, or services for sale in violation of Code Section 10-1-420, 10-1-421, or 10-1-422 may be enjoined from such advertising by the superior court having jurisdiction, upon the suit of any person aggrieved or about to be aggrieved thereby.
O.C.G.A. § 10-1-373
Enjoining deceptive trade practices; costs and attorney’s fees; relief cumulative
(a) A person likely to be damaged by a deceptive trade practice of another may be granted an injunction against it under the principles of equity and on terms that the court considers reasonable. Proof of monetary damage, loss of profits, or intent to deceive is not required. Relief granted for the copying of an article shall be limited to the prevention of confusion or misunderstanding as to source.
(b) Costs shall be allowed to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs. The court, in its discretion, may award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party if:
(1) The party complaining of a deceptive trade practice has brought an action which he knew to be groundless; or
(2) The party charged with a deceptive trade practice has willfully engaged in the trade practice knowing it to be deceptive.
(c) The relief provided in this Code section is in addition to remedies otherwise available against the same conduct under the common law or other statutes of this state.
O.C.G.A. § 10-1-397
Authority of administrator to issue cease and desist order or impose civil penalty; judicial relief; receivers
(2) Without regard as to whether the administrator has issued any orders under this Code section, upon a showing by the administrator in any superior court of competent jurisdiction that a person has violated or is about to violate this part, a rule promulgated under this part, or an order of the administrator, the court may enter or grant any or all of the following relief:
(A) A temporary restraining order or temporary or permanent injunction;
(B) A civil penalty up to a maximum of $5,000.00 per violation of this part;
(C) A declaratory judgment;
(D) Restitution to any person or persons adversely affected by a defendant’s actions in violation of this part;
(E) The appointment of a receiver, auditor, or conservator for the defendant or the defendant’s assets; or
(F) Other relief as the court deems just and equitable.
O.C.G.A. § 10-1-397.1
Initiation or intervention by administrator
The administrator is authorized to initiate or intervene as a matter of right or otherwise appear in any federal court or administrative agency to implement the provisions of this article.
O.C.G.A. § 10-1-399
Civil or equitable remedies by individuals
(a) Any person who suffers injury or damages as a result of a violation of Chapter 5B of this title, as a result of consumer acts or practices in violation of this part, as a result of office supply transactions in violation of this part or whose business or property has been injured or damaged as a result of such violations may bring an action individually, but not in a representative capacity, against the person or persons engaged in such violations under the rules of civil procedure to seek equitable injunctive relief and to recover his general and exemplary damages sustained as a consequence thereof in any court having jurisdiction over the defendant; provided, however, exemplary damages shall be awarded only in cases of intentional violation.
(b) At least 30 days prior to the filing of any such action, a written demand for relief, identifying the claimant and reasonably describing the unfair or deceptive act or practice relied upon and the injury suffered, shall be delivered to any prospective respondent.
(c) Subject to subsection (b) of this Code section, a court shall award three times actual damages for an intentional violation.
(d) If the court finds in any action that there has been a violation of this part, the person injured by such violation shall, in addition to other relief provided for in this Code section and irrespective of the amount in controversy, be awarded reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation incurred in connection with said action; provided, however, the court shall deny a recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation which are incurred after the rejection of a reasonable written offer of settlement made within 30 days of the mailing or delivery of the written demand for relief required by this Code section….”
O.C.G.A. § 10-1-400
Limitation on recovery in case of bona fide error
In any action in which damages are demanded under Code Section 10-1-399, recovery will be limited to the amount, if any, by which the injured party suffered injury or damage caused by the violation if the adverse party proves that the violation resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adopted to avoid any such error and that such error was not the result of negligence in the maintenance of such procedures.
O.C.G.A. § 40-8-5
Alteration of odometer; involvement with devices which cause odometer to register other than actual mileage; penalties
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to tamper with, adjust, alter, change, set back, disconnect, or fail to connect an odometer of a motor vehicle, or to cause any of the foregoing to occur to an odometer of a motor vehicle, so as to reflect a lower mileage than the motor vehicle has actually been driven, except as provided in this Code section.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to bring into this state a motor vehicle which reflects a lower mileage than the motor vehicle actually has been driven due to any illegal acts outlined in subsection (a) of this Code section.