|Posted:||August 4, 2021 03:12 PM|
|From:||Representative Rob W. Kauffman|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law|
|In the near future, I intend on introducing legislation that will restore a balanced approach to claims under the Unfair Trade Practices Act as it previously existed in this Commonwealth.
The Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) exists to prevent businesses from participating in deceptive or unfair practices or inequitable competition. The law allows for anyone who lost money or property due to businesses engaging in unjust practices to bring a private cause of action in addition to the enforcement powers given to the Attorney General. The UTPCPL lists specific practices that constitute unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and in addition includes a catch-all provision that captures “any other fraudulent or deceptive conduct which creates a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding.”
Recently a divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision holding that a business’s state of mind or intent is irrelevant when a consumer brings a private cause of action under the “catch all” provision of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. The Supreme Court created a strict liability interpretation of the “catch all” provision that was never intended by the legislature.
With the Supreme Court majority ruling, consumers filing civil actions under the “catch all” provision can recover under strict liability standards for allegations of deceptive acts instead of the well-established negligence standard. My legislation simply corrects this misinterpretation and reverts the law to what was intended, ensuring our consumers are protected and our businesses know the rules that they are obligated to comply with.
I respectfully ask for your support in this important piece of legislation.
Introduced as HB1891