Have you been involved in a consumer transaction but believe you were the victim of fraud or deceptive business practice? The Kansas Consumer Protection Act (“KCPA”) protects consumers who are victims of fraud and/or deceptive business practices.
You may have the right to obtain monetary compensation through a consumer protection claim if you have suffered a financial loss from (among others):
- Home repair fraud
- False representations concerning the value of goods sold to a consumer
- Insurance fraud
- False statements concerning “sale” prices
- False representations by a contractor that defective work with be repaired
- Billing customers for goods or services that did not solicit
- Predatory collection practices
- Misrepresentations that a food was “all natural” when it contained non-natural ingredients
- Misrepresentations and omissions regarding the safety risks of a drug
- And many other fraud and deceptive business practices
By the 1970s, every state in America had enacted some version of consumer protection laws based on consumer protection laws that were based on the Federal Trade Commission Act. The key provision of the FTC Act states: “Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are hereby declared unlawful.” See 15 U.S.C. § 45(a)(1). The FTC actually encouraged the enactment of state consumer protection laws because they lacked the resources to fully carry out its consumer protection responsibilities throughout the nation.
The KCPA broadly prohibits deceptive or unfair acts and practices in the marketplace for consumer goods and services. Both statutes establish private causes of action for damages and equitable relief, permit punitive damages, and permit the recovery of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party. Further, consumer fraud cases may be tried on an individual basis as a class action.
The KCPA was enacted in 1973 and states that “[n]o supplier shall engage in any deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction and “Unconscionable Acts and Practices” section which states “[n]o supplier shall engage in any unconscionable act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction. An unconscionable act or practice violates this act whether it occurs before, during or after the transaction.” The KCPA goes on to provide a lengthy, non-exclusive list of acts and practices that are per se deceptive or unconscionable.
To establish an KCPA claim, a plaintiff must show:
- Plaintiff was a consumer;
- Defendant was a supplier;
- Defendant engaged in a deceptive or unconscionable act in a consumer transaction; and
- Plaintiff was “aggrieved” by defendant’s act or practice as set forth in K.S.A. § 50-634(a).
To make a KCPA claim, the Kansas Supreme Court has held that a plaintiff is required to cause a causal connection between the defendant’s conduct and the plaintiff’s loss. Also, to state a claim under the KCPA, a plaintiff actually must have contracted with a supplier for goods or services. The plaintiff must establish that the purpose of the property or services he or she sought was for “personal, family, household, business or agricultural purposes.” The KCPA is thus broader than the MMPA in this regard because it expressly includes property or services for “business” purposes. The KCPA contains a three-year statute of limitation that starts when the alleged violation occurred, not when the violation was discovered.
Contact a Consumer Protection Lawyers If You Suspect Your Consumer Rights Have Been Violated!
If you have been injured or suffered financial distress due to unfair business practices, it is vital that you seek an attorney’s advice as soon as possible. The time to file these claims is extremely limited, and evidence to support your case will disappear with each passing day. The experienced Consumer Protection Lawyers at Foster Wallace, LLC can investigate the details of your claim and explain your next steps at no cost to you. Call our office today or fill out our online contact form to set up your free initial consultation with a Kansas City consumer protection attorney.