Additional Protections In Consumer Code
- Removes the knowingly or recklessly mental state from the general unfair or deceptive trade practice provision concerning an unfair, unconscionable, deceptive, deliberately misleading, false, or fraudulent act or practice , removes "deliberately misleading" from that provision, and adds "knowingly" before "false" within that provision ;
- Establishes as a deceptive trade practice the act of including in a contract offered to or entered into with a consumer a term that is
substantiallysubstantively unconscionable or void as against public policy as of the time of the contract's execution ;
- Establishes that evidence that a person has engaged in an unfair or deceptive trade practice constitutes a significant impact to the public; and
AmendsAdds to the definition of "recklessly" with regard to unfair or deceptive trade practices , to mean without regard to consequences or to the rights, interests, or safety of othersthe failure to exercise reasonable care to:
- Ensure that a statement, advertisement, or conduct is truthful and accurate; or
- Avoid a substantial and unjustifiable risk of consumer harm.
Under current law, a person commits an unfair and unconscionable act or practice if the person engages in price gouging with regard to the sale or provision of certain goods or services during, and for a certain period after, a declared emergency disaster (disaster period). Section 2 extends the disaster period from 180 days after the first declaration of the disaster to 180 days after the final declaration concerning the disaster expires.
- Establishes that the facilitation or aiding and abetting of another person's violation of the act is itself a violation of the act;
- Authorizes the attorney general (AG) to request discovery from any person that the AG believes may in the future engage in, or has information related to, a violation of the act;
- Authorizes the AG to deem investigatory or intelligence records related to the act available for public inspection, but allows the AG to issue public statements or warnings regarding conduct forming the basis of the investigatory or intelligence records ;
without waiving the AG's authority not to deem the records available for public inspection;
- Authorizes a court, upon request of the AG, to compensate a person that has been injured from a violation of the act as part of a civil action that the AG brings on behalf of the person;
- Increases the maximum civil penalty that a court may award for a violation of the act from $250,000 to $1,000,000 per violation; and
- With regard to the statute of limitations for commencing a civil action under the act:
- Clarifies that a cause of action accrues on the date of the last in a series of acts or practices that, in the aggregate, constitute a violation of the act; and
- Tolls the statute of limitations for any civil action pertaining to an alleged violation of the act during the pendency of a federal proceeding regarding the conduct forming the basis of the alleged violation of the act.
; and Exempts the AG from the statute of limitations.
(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)