Two California women are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court accusing Intuit Inc. of failing in its duty to protect its TurboTax customers' private information despite advertising its software as secure. One of the women, who used the TurboTax software to file her taxes online in 2011, said in her lawsuit that TurboTax sent her a $242 bill in 2015 for filing a federal return and returns in four different states.
California consumers might be interested in learning why sales representatives for Mary Kay Cosmetics are fed up with online coupon promoter RetailMeNot. According to a lawsuit filed by the cosmetics giant, RetailMeNot has been advertising discount coupons for Mary Kay products that are not sold to the public. As a result, prospective buyers are becoming upset after learning that their expectations of receiving a discount won't be met.
Unfair competition laws exist in California to promote freedom of the marketplace and protect business owners from tactics that illegally threaten a company's ability to compete. When one company competes unfairly, it damages not only the competition, but also consumers and the marketplace as a whole. On the other side, a wrongful allegation of unfair competition may have devastating effects on a business; legal defense may be crucial to the survival of a business, that is, on either side of an unfair competition case. In addition, while the laws are specific, their interpretation and application may be complicated.
Yelp is suing three individuals and a reputation management firm for unfair competition, breach of contract, trademark infringement and other illegal activities. The company that stands accused is DOES 1-20 while the individuals named in the lawsuit do business as RevLeap, Yelpdirector and Revpley. The suit was filed on Feb. 13 in the Northern District Court of California.
California residents may be familiar with Google's dominance among Internet search engines, but they may not be aware of an antitrust suit that was recently brought against the company. The plaintiffs in the case alleged unfair competition as Google reportedly required electronics companies to favor its own apps in the development of Android smartphones. The case accuses Google of driving up handset prices because of this unfair advantage.
The California legislature has set out clear laws preventing unfair competition in business and guiding the path of those who seek legal recourse after experiencing such practices. Businesses that are found to have been engaged in unlawful, fraudulent or egregiously unfair actions may be subject to strict penalties and forced to pay compensation to the affected parties.
California has long been known as a place conducive to innovation, particularly in the tech industry. Certainly, it's important that startup companies and other business efforts continue to thrive and make pioneering developments, but it's also critical that they play by the rules.
Southern California business owners know how difficult it can be to compete with a billion-dollar company. Taking legal action can be just as challenging. But that shouldn't prevent smaller businesses from doing what must be done. The same is true for nonprofits, who may not feel they stand a chance against a giant corporation that has engaged in unfair competition or breached a contract. If laws have been broken, the larger company must be held responsible.