Hawaii Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Savvy consumers know not to believe everything they see and hear in advertisements, and to be wary of a deal that sounds too good to be true. But even the best of us might not realize all of the “deceptive trade practices” a company can employ. Lucky for us, the Aloha State has extensive consumer protection laws designed to help citizens avoid shady sales tactics. This is a quick introduction to deceptive trade practice laws in Hawaii.

Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Hawaii has adopted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and also has criminal, civil, and vehicular code provisions aimed at preventing and punishing deceptive trade practices. These laws are intended to ensure an open, fair, and transparent marketplace, and prohibit everything from false advertising to tampering with a car’s odometer. Hawaii’s deceptive trade practices statutes are listed below.

Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted

Yes

Hawaii Revised Statute 481A-1, et seq.: Uniform Deceptive Trade Practice Act

False Advertising Forbidden

Yes

Hawaii Revised Statutes 708.871: False Advertising

Misdemeanor

H.R.S. 481A-3

Who May Bring Suit

Consumer Protection Agency

Hawaii Revised Statutes 487-1, et seq.: Consumer Protection;

Private parties

H.R.S. 481A-4

Remedies Available

Injunction; costs to prevailing party; attorney's fees

H.R.S. 481A-4;

False advertising misdemeanor

Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden

Yes

Hawaii Revised Statutes 486-77: Odometers

Protecting Yourself Against Deceptive Trade Practices

Hawaii’s laws prohibiting deceptive trade practices are helpful, but they can only prosecute violations after they occur. Therefore, we consumers must do what we can to avoid scams before we become a victim. A local consumer protection office in your area can give you the most up-to-date information on local swindles, and help you report a person or a local business engaging in deceptive business practices. In addition to in-state resources, federal organizations can assist you with consumer fraud complaints. Nationwide nonprofits like Consumer Action (www.consumeraction.gov), the Better Business Bureau at (www.bbb.org), and www.fraud.org, can help you file a complaint online or to find the appropriate local, state, and federal agencies with which to file a complaint.

Related Resources for Deceptive Trade Practices Laws in Hawaii

State deceptive trade practices laws can be confusing -- almost as much as the scams they prohibit. You can consult with an experienced Hawaii consumer protection attorney in your area if you would like legal assistance with a deceptive trade practices or consumer fraud matter. And FindLaw's section on Consumer Protection can provide you with further reading and resources on this topic.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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