Pennsylvania Deceptive Trade Practices Laws
Pennsylvania has not adopted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Pennsylvania deceptive trade practices laws are stated in Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (“Act”). The Act is stated in Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 73, Chapter 4.
Section 201-2 prohibits false advertising. Under Section 201-4 the Attorney General or a district attorney can bring an action upon knowing about a violation. Section 201-9.2 permits private action by a person who has suffered ascertainable loss.
Remedies available for private action under Section 201-9.2 are:
- actual damages or $ 100,
- treble damages in the court’s discretion, and
- attorney fees and cost.
Civil penalties are imposed under Section 201-8, against a person who has violated a court order or an injunction. The amount of civil penalty for violation of court order will not be more than $5,000. Civil penalty imposed for general violation of the Act is $1000, however, $3000 is imposed if the victim is 60 years or older. Additionally, under Sections 201.9 courts may suspend or forfeit the violator’s rights/license to do the business.
Under Chapter 75 Section 7132 of the Vehicles Code, tampering an odometer to misrepresent the number of miles in the meter is prohibited. Under Section 7138 civil liability for odometer tampering is treble damages or $3000, whichever is greater plus attorney fees. Under Section 7139 odometer tampering is a third degree felony.
73 P.S. § 201-2 reads in part:
“(4) “UNFAIR METHODS OF COMPETITION” and “UNFAIR OR DECEPTIVE ACTS OR PRACTICES” mean any one or more of the following:
(i) Passing off goods or services as those of another;
(ii) Causing likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval or certification of goods or services;
(iii) Causing likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to affiliation, connection or association with, or certification by, another;
(iv) Using deceptive representations or designations of geographic origin in connection with goods or services;
(v) Representing that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits or quantities that they do not have or that a person has a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation or connection that he does not have;
(vi) Representing that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used or secondhand;
(vii) Representing that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model, if they are of another;
(viii) Disparaging the goods, services or business of another by false or misleading representation of fact;
(ix) Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised;”
73 P.S. § 201-9.2 reads in part:
§ 201-9.2. Private actions
“(a) Any person who purchases or leases goods or services primarily for personal, family or household purposes and thereby suffers any ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by any person of a method, act or practice declared unlawful by section 3 of this act, may bring a private action to recover actual damages or one hundred dollars ($ 100), whichever is greater. The court may, in its discretion, award up to three times the actual damages sustained, but not less than one hundred dollars ($ 100), and may provide such additional relief as it deems necessary or proper. The court may award to the plaintiff, in addition to other relief provided in this section, costs and reasonable attorney fees.”