|Posted:||January 19, 2022 10:30 AM|
|From:||Senator John R. Gordner|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law|
|In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to restore a balanced approach to certain claims under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) as it was previously interpreted in this Commonwealth.
The 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, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by a 4-3 vote 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 UTPCPL. The Supreme Court created a new strict liability interpretation of the “catch all” provision that was never intended by the General Assembly.
With the Supreme Court majority ruling, consumers filing civil actions under the “catch all” provision can now recover under strict liability standards for allegations of deceptive acts instead of the former well-established standard. My legislation seeks to restore that standard.
Thank you for your consideration and please feel free to contact my office if you have any questions regarding this proposed legislation.