Iowa Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Iowa has not adopted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.  Deceptive trade practices in the state are dealt under Sections 121.16 and 714.16 of Iowa Code.  False and fraudulent advertisements are prohibited as deceptive practices under these Sections.

Attorney General may bring an action against any person, who has engaged in, is engaging in, or is about to engage in a practice declared to be unlawful by these Sections.  Upon such an action the Court may issue a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, or permanent injunction prohibiting such practices.  In addition to these remedies, the Court may, upon the Attorney General’s request, impose a civil penalty not exceeding $40,000 per violation against a violator.  Upon the motion of the Attorney General or on its own motion, the Court may impose a civil penalty of not more than $5000 for each day of intentional violation of a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, or permanent injunction issued under authority of this Section.  The Attorney General is entitled to recover costs of the court action and any investigation conducted, including reasonable attorney fees, for the use of this state.

Section 321.71 of Iowa Code prohibits any person from tampering with, adjusting, altering, changing, setting back, disconnecting or failing to connect the odometer of any motor vehicle, or cause any of the foregoing to occur to an odometer of a motor vehicle, so as to reflect a lower mileage than the true mileage driven by the motor vehicle.

Iowa Code § 126.16

False advertising.

1.  The advertising of a drug, device, or cosmetic is false if it is false or misleading in any particular.

2.  For the purpose of this chapter, advertising is false if it represents a drug, device, or cosmetic to have any effect in the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of arthritis, blood disorders, bone or joint diseases, kidney diseases or disorders, cancer, diabetes, gall bladder disease or disorders, heart and vascular disease, high blood pressure, diseases or disorders of the ear, mental disease or mental retardation, degenerative neurological diseases, paralysis, prostate gland disorders, conditions of the scalp affecting hair loss, baldness, endocrine disorders, sexual impotence, tumors, venereal diseases, varicose ulcers, breast enlargement, purifying blood, metabolic disorders, immune system disorders or conditions affecting the immune system, extension of life expectancy, stress and tension, brain stimulation or performance, the body’s natural defense mechanisms, blood flow, and depression. However, advertising not in violation of subsection 1 is not false under this subsection if it is disseminated only to members of the medical, dental, or veterinary professions, or appears only in the scientific periodicals of these professions, or is disseminated only for the purpose of public health education by persons not commercially interested, directly or indirectly, in the sale of such drugs or devices. However, if the board determines that an advance in medical science has made any type of self-medication safe as to any of the diseases named in this subsection, the board shall by rule authorize the advertising of drugs having curative or therapeutic effect for such disease, subject to the conditions and restrictions the board deems necessary in the interests of the public health. However, this subsection does not indicate that self-medication for diseases other than those named in this subsection is safe and efficacious.

Iowa Code § 714.16

Consumer frauds.

1.  Definitions:
a.  The term “advertisement” includes the attempt by publication, dissemination, solicitation, or circulation to induce directly or indirectly any person to enter into any obligation or acquire any title or interest in any merchandise.
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It is deceptive advertising within the meaning of this section for a person to represent in connection with the lease, sale, or advertisement of any merchandise that the advertised merchandise has certain performance characteristics, accessories, uses, or benefits or that certain services are performed on behalf of clients or customers of that person if, at the time of the representation, no reasonable basis for the claim existed. The burden is on the person making the representation to demonstrate that a reasonable basis for the claim existed.
A retailer who uses advertising for a product, other than a drug or other product claiming to have a health related benefit or use, prepared by a supplier shall not be liable under this section unless the retailer participated in the preparation of the advertisement; knew or should have known that the advertisement was deceptive, false, or misleading; refused to withdraw the product from sales upon the request of the attorney general pending a determination of whether the advertisement was deceptive, false, or misleading; refused upon the request of the attorney general to provide the name and address of the supplier; or refused to cooperate with the attorney general in an action brought against the supplier under this section.

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6.  If a person fails or refuses to file a statement or report, or obey any subpoena issued by the attorney general, the attorney general may, after notice, apply to the Polk county district court or the district court for the county in which the person resides or is located and, after hearing, request an order:
a.  Granting injunctive relief, restraining the sale or advertisement of any merchandise by such persons.
b.  Dissolving a corporation created by or under the laws of this state or revoking or suspending the certificate of authority to do business in this state of a foreign corporation or revoking or suspending any other licenses, permits, or certificates issued pursuant to law to such person which are used to further the allegedly unlawful practice.
c.  Granting such other relief as may be required until the person files the statement or report, or obeys the subpoena.

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7.  A civil action pursuant to this section shall be by equitable proceedings. If it appears to the attorney general that a person has engaged in, is engaging in, or is about to engage in a practice declared to be unlawful by this section, the attorney general may seek and obtain in an action in a district court a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, or permanent injunction prohibiting the person from continuing the practice or engaging in the practice or doing an act in furtherance of the practice.
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In addition to the remedies otherwise provided for in this subsection, the attorney general may request and the court may impose a civil penalty not to exceed forty thousand dollars per violation against a person found by the court to have engaged in a method, act, or practice declared unlawful under this section; provided, however, a course of conduct shall not be considered to be separate and different violations merely because the conduct is repeated to more than one person. In addition, on the motion of the attorney general or its own motion, the court may impose a civil penalty of not more than five thousand dollars for each day of intentional violation of a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, or permanent injunction issued under authority of this section. A penalty imposed pursuant to this subsection is in addition to any penalty imposed pursuant to section 537.6113. Civil penalties ordered pursuant to this subsection shall be paid to the treasurer of state to be deposited in the general fund of the state.
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11.  In an action brought under this section, the attorney general is entitled to recover costs of the court action and any investigation which may have been conducted, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, for the use of this state.

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15.  The attorney general may bring an action on behalf of the residents of this state, or as parens patriae, under the federal Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, Pub. L. No. 103-297, and pursue any and all enforcement options available under that Act. Subsequent amendments to that Act which do not substantially alter its structure and purpose shall not be construed to affect the authority of the attorney general to pursue an action pursuant to this section, except to the extent the amendments specifically restrict the authority of the attorney general.

Iowa Code § 714.17

Unlawful advertising and selling courses of instruction.

It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association, or corporation maintaining, advertising, or conducting in Iowa any course of instruction for profit, or for tuition charge, whether by classroom instructions or by correspondence, to:
1.  Falsely advertise or represent to any person any matter material to such course of instruction. All advertising of such courses of instruction shall adhere to and comply with the rules and regulations of the federal trade commission as of July 4, 1965.

Iowa Code § 321.71

Odometer requirements.

1.  For the purposes of this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them:
a.  “Intent and purpose of this section” is and shall mean to achieve the end that odometers of motor vehicles shall at all times correctly show the true mileage that the motor vehicle has been driven.
b.  “True mileage” is the actual mileage the motor vehicle has been driven.
2.  No person shall knowingly tamper with, adjust, alter, change, set back, disconnect or fail to connect the odometer of any motor vehicle, or cause any of the foregoing to occur to an odometer of a motor vehicle, so as to reflect a lower mileage than the true mileage driven by the motor vehicle.
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12.  Any person who violates this section commits a fraudulent practice.


Inside Iowa Deceptive Trade Practices Laws