Consumer protection laws exist at the federal, state, and local level. From federal restrictions on transporting goods across state lines to state restrictions on deceptive trade practices and marketing tactics, laws exist to protect consumers and the public against shady businesses dealings and ensure a safe, free, and fair marketplace. Montana’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act provides protections for the public and legal options for wronged consumers.
Montana Deceptive Trade Practices Laws at a Glance
Montana law provides broad protections. A general ban on “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices” covers a lot of ground. False advertising, fraudulent sales practices, efforts to deceive consumers, and attempts to undercut free and fair competition are outlawed. Other protections exist as well. Consumer contracts must be written in plain English, telemarketers can’t employ abusive or harassing practices, and businesses can’t cut prices to corner the market or injure other businesses.
The following chart summarizes Montana deceptive trade practices law. FindLaw’s Consumer Protection section contains articles and further resources.
|Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act Adopted||No, Montana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 (§§30-14-101 to 226)|
|False Advertising Forbidden||Yes (§30-14-103)|
|Who May Bring Suit||State attorney general and individual consumers. No state class actions (§30-14-121)|
|Remedies Available||Recovery of out-of-pocket losses (§30-14-132), the greater of $500 or actual damages, treble damages; reasonable attorney's fees; injunction (§30-14-133)|
|Auto Odometer Tampering Forbidden||Yes (§61-3-607); fine up to $5,000 and/or prison up to 10 years; motor vehicle dealer revocation of license|
How Do I File a Consumer Complaint in Montana?
The Montana Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Protection investigates cases of deceptive businesses practices and prosecutes civil actions to stop them. You can file a complaint with the office online or through the mail.
How Do I File a Consumer Lawsuit in Montana?
Consumers who suffer losses due to deceptive business acts or practices can file an individual lawsuit against the person or business responsible (Montana law does not allow for class action consumer lawsuits). Successful plaintiffs can recover a minimum of $500 or more if their actual damages are higher. Courts can award consumers damages up to three times their losses, prohibit the defendant from engaging in similar conduct, and award attorneys fees to the prevailing party.
Related Resources for Deceptive Trade Practices Laws
Contact a qualified attorney.