The Consumer Sales Practices Act (“CSPA”) protects consumers who have been taken advantage of by a supplier who has committed an unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable act or practice in a consumer transaction with the consumer. A “Consumer Transaction” is defined as a sale, lease, assignment, award by chance, or other transfer of an item of goods or services to an individual for purposes that are primarily for personal, family, or household. A Supplier is anyone engaged in the business of effecting or soliciting consumer transactions.
The CSPA prohibits a Supplier from committing unfair or deceptive acts or practices in connection with a consumer transaction, whether the behavior is before, during or after the Consumer Transaction. The act prohibits a Supplier from misrepresenting the characteristics, benefits, quality, grade, style or model of a consumer product, as well as any misrepresentations regarding warranties, rights, or remedies available for the consumer product. The Act also prohibits a supplier from recommending that a consumer product be replaced or repaired if the repair or replacement is not required.
The Act also prohibits a Supplier from committing an unconscionable act or practice in connection with the Consumer Transaction. In determining whether an act or practice was unconscionable, the Court will look at whether the Supplier had knowingly taken advantage of the inability of the Consumer to reasonably protect the consumer’s interests because of the consumer’s physical or mental infirmities, ignorance, illiteracy, or inability to understand the language of an agreement, whether the Supplier knew at the time of the Consumer Transaction that the price was substantially in excess of similar goods or services, that the consumer would not benefit from the consumer good or service, knew that the consumer would not be able to pay for the goods or services, or knew that the terms of the Consumer Transaction were substantially one sided in favor of the Supplier. The Act also prohibits the Supplier from refusing to make a refund for a returned item without justification, unless the Supplier had a sign setting forth the Supplier’s refund policy.
A consumer who is successful in bringing a claim against a Supplier for violating the Act can seek to rescind the transaction or recover their actual economic damages plus an amount not exceeding $5,000.00 in non-economic damages. If the consumer proves that the Supplier’s actions had been determined to be a violation of the CSPA and was recorded in the Ohio Attorney General’s Public Inspection File, the consumer may recover three times the amount of the consumer’s actual economic damages plus an amount not exceeding $5,000.00 in noneconomic damages. A consumer may also recover their reasonable attorney’s fees if they show that the Supplier knowingly violated The Act.
FOR INFORMATION: To schedule an appointment regarding a possible violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act contact Phillip J. Henry, Esq. 440-243-2800. There are no legal fees for discussing a matter until the scope of the needed legal services has been discussed and established.