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The Consumer Protection Act - Protecting Purchasers of Used Cars - Or Protecting Clients and Patients Too?

Written by AMLO.

The Advocate by M. Austin Mehr  Jan/Feb 1999  Vol. 26, No. 1

Treat them fairly. Be truthful with them and do not mislead them. If you do, and it causes damage, they can sue you and they can recover attorney's fees. They are the consumers. But who is "you"?  The consumer protection act, codified in KRS 367-170 provides that any "unfair, false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practice in the conduct of any trade or commerce" is declared unlawful. It is a very powerful and underutilized tool. Typically, it is thought of as avenue for recovery for that naive consumer who gets ripped off by a used car salesman. Its use has been expanded in Kentucky to include an insurance contract. But what about clients of lawyers? What about medical patients? Can they sue under the Consumer Protection Act. It appears the answer is yes. The statute closely mirrors the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act). 1The act also protects the public from abuses arising in the course of competitive trade. Lawyers have been held liable for unfair and deceptive business practices under state consumer protection laws in the state of Washington. See Short v. Demopolis , 691 P.2d 163 (Wash. 1989).