Consumer Fraud in Illinois
The Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act governs consumer fraud litigation in Illinois. It is a very strict consumer-side law that makes Illinois a very favorable state for consumers. Businesses run afoul of the law all the time in the normal course of business and the costs can be severe. A successful consumer fraud lawsuit can lead to punitive damages, monetary damages, and an award for attorney's fees.
Some of the things that the ICFA makes illegal include:
- Chain letters
- Pyramid schemes
- Failure to disclose relevant information
- Threatening conduct toward consumers
- Providing false reports to consumers or government agencies
The text of the law defines deceptive businesses practices as:
Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including but not limited to the use or employment of any deception fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation or the concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact, with intent that others rely upon the concealment, suppression or omission of such material fact, in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful whether any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby.
The law is wide reaching and very consumer-friendly. I sue businesses for consumer fraud in Illinois.
Consumer Fraud in New York
New York's Deceptive Trade Practices Act (General Business Law §349-§250-e) is less robust than the Illinois law, but still has teeth. In New York, a consumer fraud case has three major elements:
- The act or business practice was consumer-oriented
- The act or business practice was materially misleading
- The consumer was injured as a result of the deceptive act or practice.
Importantly, it is not required that a business intentionally mislead the consumer.
New York allows consumers to recover damages and attorneys' fees in consumer fraud cases. I still handle cases in New York and can always meet via phone or video conference.