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District of Columbia Legislative Update

District of Columbia B22-0185   The Council of the District of Columbia recently enacted the Consumer Protection Clarification and Enhancement Amendment Act of 2018 (“Act”) to provide clarification on unfair or deceptive trade practices, effective July 17, 2018.   In construing the term “unfair or deceptive trade practice” due consideration and weight must be given […]

District of Columbia B22-0185

 

The Council of the District of Columbia recently enacted the Consumer Protection Clarification and Enhancement Amendment Act of 2018 (“Act”) to provide clarification on unfair or deceptive trade practices, effective July 17, 2018.

 

In construing the term “unfair or deceptive trade practice” due consideration and weight must be given to the interpretation by the Federal Trade Commission and the federal courts of the term “unfair or deceptive act or practice.”

 

Enforcement of the district’s consumer protection laws will now be handled by the Attorney General for the District of Columbia rather than the Office of Corporation Counsel.

 

It is a violation for any person to engage in an unfair or deceptive trade practice, whether or not any consumer is in fact misled, deceived, or damaged thereby.  Among other things, violations of an agreement with the Attorney General for the District of Columbia to comply with the district’s consumer protection laws are considered an unfair or deceptive trade practice.

 

If the Attorney General for the District of Columbia has reason to believe that any person is using or intends to use any method, act, or practice which is a violation of the consumer protection provisions of District of Columbia law, and if it is in the public interest, the Attorney General, in the name of the District of Columbia, may bring an action in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to obtain a temporary or permanent injunction prohibiting the use of the method, act, or practice and requiring the violator to take affirmative action, including the restitution of money or property.  In any such action, the Attorney General is not required to prove damages and the injunction will be issued without bond.

 

The Attorney General for the District of Columbia may recover:

  • Monetary penalties of up to $5,000 per violation for the first violation and up to $10,000 for each subsequent violation of the same violation;
  • Economic damages; and
  • The costs of the action and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

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