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Attorney General Phil Weiser Urges State Lawmakers to Update, Strengthen Consumer Protection Laws

Apr. 9, 2019 (DENVER, Colo.)—In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Phil Weiser today asked state lawmakers to pass HB19-1289, legislation that would update the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) to provide common-sense tools needed to crack down on unfair business practices and scams.

According to the National Consumer Law Center, Colorado currently ranks 48th in the nation in strength of consumer protection laws. When it comes to protecting consumers, Weiser said 48th place is not good enough.

“Our consumers and businesses deserve the same protections as the other 97 percent of American citizens. [E]ffective consumer protection laws don’t just protect consumers—they protect the vast majority of Colorado companies that operate in a responsible manner. Here in Colorado, we celebrate businesses that do the right thing, entrepreneurs who take risks, and companies that do well by playing by the rules,” said Weiser in testimony. “Our state should be a national leader in ethical business, and strong consumer protection laws are crucial to that goal.”

HB19-1289 would bring Colorado in line with a vast majority of states that already have appropriate language in their consumer protection laws to keep customers safe and deter unethical business practices. The bill shifts the existing requirement from having to demonstrate a company had a specific intent to commit a deceptive business practice—which is extremely difficult to prove—to being able to hold actors accountable so long as their actions recklessly harm consumers. Additionally, the bill adds a “catch-all” provision against any deceptive practice that harms consumers rather than the current list of narrowly defined acts and practices the CCPA qualifies as fraud.

The bill also increases the civil penalties imposed against violators of the CCPA so that major corporations are held accountable and deterred from committing crimes against the public with appropriately weighted penalties. Finally, the bill removes a court-imposed requirement that forces ordinary consumers to provide comprehensive evidence that an unfair practice had a significant impact on the public—a bar that very few people can meet.

Weiser’s full testimony can be read here.

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