Consumer Protection Law
Recent Developmments

NOTE: The Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act is available online. It is in Title XIII, chapter 1345., sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Ohio Revised Code. The Attorney General's rules at chapter 109:4 further define violations and are available online. In addition, the Ohio Attorney General keeps a searchable record of cases that may further identify what acts consitute violations of the CSPA entitling the consumer to trebled damages. The Attorney General's web site also has lemon law information.

Emotional Distress Award for Consumer Violation -- Tripled
In Whitaker v. M.T. Automotive, Inc., 111 Ohio St.3d 177, 2006-Ohio-5481, the Ohio Supreme Court approved and then tripled non-economic (i.e., emotional distress) damages in a Consumer Sales Practices Act case. The defendant automobile dealer had agreed to provide a truck to the consumer at a specific monthly lease rate and had represented that a bank had approved the lease. The consumer sold his previous vehicle and put a substantial down payment on the lease. When the consumer came to pick up the newly leased vehicle, he was told the bank had not approved the agreed lease payment, but had approved a substantially higher lease payment. The consumer refused the higher payment and the dealer purported to cancel the contract. The automobile dealer refused to refund the deposit claiming that the consumer had breached his contract. Although the Consumer Sales Practices Act excludes personal injury claims, the Supreme Court approved awarding emotional distress damages in addition to pecuniary damages. Furthermore, because the Consumer Sales Practices Act triples actual damages (under certain circumstances) non-economic damages in this case were also tripled.
UPDATE: The 126th General Assembly has ameded RC 1345.09 effective 1/1/07 to change the result in this case. Emotional distress damages are still recoverable, but only up to $5,000 and they will not be tripled.

Consent Judgment is Court Determination
In Charvat v. Telelytic, LLC, 2006-Ohio-4623, the Franklin County Court of Appeals held that a nonprofit credit counseling compnay's unsolicited telephone call violated the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, because a consent judgment had previously found that violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act to also be violation of the Consumer Sales Practices Act. An act found in a consent judgment to be a violation that will subject a violator to liablity triple damages under RC 1345.09(B).

Carroll, Ucker & Hemmer LLC represents small and large businesses in the Columbus, Worthington and all over Ohio.
David W. T. Carroll and Timothy J. Ucker handle business representation.

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