For all Kansans, one of the most important consumer laws is the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. Borrowing words from the Kansas Supreme Court, the Kansas Consumer Protection Act allows consumers that are harmed by deceptive or unconscionable acts or practices to act as their own “private attorney general” and take steps to protect their rights. In addition, the law allows the state attorney general and local district attorneys to take steps to protect consumers. Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices under the KCPA can be broken down as follows:
Any deceptive acts or practices including but not limited to 12 enumerated prohibitions, one of which is willful concealment of material fact; unconscionable practice, determined by considering 7 enumerated factors.
Consumer transaction, defined as sale, lease, assignment, or other disposition for value of property or services, including real estate and intangibles, or solicitation by supplier, to individual, sole proprietor, or family partnership for personal, family, household, business or agricultural purposes. Prohibitions apply only to suppliers, defined as manufacturers, distributors, dealers, sellers, lessors, assignors, or other persons who, in the ordinary course of business, solicit, engage in or enforce consumer transactions, whether or not dealing directly with a consumer.
Insurance contracts regulated under state law; publisher, broadcaster, printer or other person who disseminates information without actual knowledge of violation. Lending institutions subject to state or federal regulation with regard to disposition of repossessed collateral are excluded. There is no private cause of action against a licensed health care professional for personal injury or death resulting from medical negligence.
In individual action, consumer may seek greater of actual damages or civil penalty up to $10,000 per violation (additional $10,000 under Kan. Stat. Ann. § 50-677 if victim is older, disabled, a veteran, a veteran’s surviving spouse, or an immediate family member of a member of the military); if consumer suffers loss from a specific act proscribed by statute, judgment or consent decree, then class action allowed for actual damages. Aggrieved consumer can seek declaratory or injunctive relief in individual or class action regardless of whether entitled to damages or has adequate remedy at law or equity. Reasonable attorney fees to prevailing party, to supplier if suit groundless. Older or disabled person can also recover punitive damages under Kan. Stat. Ann. § 50-679.
Must give notice of certain suits to attorney general. Most enumerated deceptive prohibitions require seller know or have reason to know of violation or require intent.
Attorney general or local prosecuting attorney enforces; procedural rulemaking by attorney general; declaratory judgment; injunction; damages for consumers; reasonable expenses and investigation fees; court may make other orders “necessary”; receiver; revoke licenses; order transactions carried out in accordance with consumers’ reasonable expectations; grant other appropriate relief; civil penalty up to $10,000 per violation, up to $20,000 per willful violation of court order in addition to other penalties court may deem proper. Under Kan. Stat. Ann. § 50-677, the penalty can be enhanced by $10,000 if the victim is older or disabled.
From our offices in Overland Park, our experienced consumer law attorneys assist clients throughout the state with violations of federal and state consumer laws, including the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. We invite you to contact us by calling (913) 543-4500.