Consumer Protection & Privacy

Virginia Consumer Protection Act Not Limited to Fraud

 The Virginia Consumer Protection Act ("VCPA") has long been thought of as a statute that addressed fraud in consumer transactions. But as the Supreme Court of Virginia clarified in a ruling last month, "the VCPA's proscription of conduct by suppliers in consumer transactions extends considerably beyond fraud."

A plain reading of the statute shows this to be the case. The VCPA, by its terms, prohibits broadly not just acts of fraud but the use of "any other deception, ...false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation in connection with a consumer transaction." (See Va. Code § 59.1-200 (14) [an annotated version of this statute is available to lexis.com subscribers]).

Why is this significant? Pleading and proving a fraud claim is difficult as it requires clear and convincing evidence that the defendant made (1) a false representation, (2) of a material fact, (3) intentionally and knowingly, (4) with intent to mislead, and that the misled party (5) reasonably relied on the statement, (6) to his detriment (i.e., incurring damages). It is not necessaryunder the VCPA to prove all of these elements as a prerequisite to recovery. It is sufficient to prove deception in connection with a consumer transaction resulting in damages.

 Read the rest of the article at the Virginia Business Litigation Lawyer Blogprivacy

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