Consumer Protection Act

The legislature is considering putting more teeth in the consumer protection act.  SB 6382 would change the penalty provision from three times the amount of damages to a maximum of $50,000 per violation.  The reason for this that many, perhaps most of the consumer protection issues that arise involve a small amount of money but are repeated sometimes ten thousand or more times, such as billing practices, and small charges on retail items.  If the fraud involves $1 per customer then the maximum penalty would be $4 for each customer ( damages of $1 and a penalty of treble damages of $3) who sued.  (Class actions, despite what you hear, are rare because of the great cost bringing one.)  This bill would make the the maximum penalty $50,000 depending on the gravity of the offense.  A consumer fraud culprit could no longer say “so sue me” knowing that such a suit would be virtually impossible.

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