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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74845 Find in a Library
Title: Consumer Protection Unit
Author(s): H T Elkins
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 29
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This discussion of consumer protection outlines unfair, unlawful, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices; reviews legal recourse; and examines advertisers' legal responsibilities.
Abstract: Remedies to unethical business practices vary from State to State, but usually include both criminal and civil proceedings. In civil action, actual deception, damage and even a victim need not be involved; the sole test is whether the representation has the capacity to deceive. Although there are few precedents in State decisions to guide the prosecutor or the court, there are many Federal false advertising, deceptive, and unfair practice cases brought by the Federal Trade Commission. In both criminal or civil prosecutions, the prosecutor must prove the offense through proof beyond a reasonable doubt, discovery, and deposition. However, when determining whether a violation has occurred, the burden is placed on the advertiser who must make the advertisement clear, make an entire presentation fair, and must also bear the responsibility of the expertise. The advertiser has the burden of investigation, to make true statements at all stages of the presentations. Jury trial, the obtaining of penalities, and determining liability after a practice has been determined to be misleading or unfair are discussed. Jurisdiction over out-of-State companies is also examined. Consumer deception in the 1970's involves companies using unfair, unlawful, deceptive, or fraudulent business practices or false or misleading statements concerning the sale of various types of business opportunities. These include vending machines, display racks, home manufacturing, mail order, multilevel promotions, distributorships, and animal raising. Securities frauds and bait and switch operations are examined. Commission sales encourage both bait and switch and the turnover or systems house operation. Pointers for investigating bait and switch and other unfair practices are briefly discussed. Over 45 footnotes are appended.
Index Term(s): Consumer fraud; Consumer protection; Deceptive advertising; Trade practices
Note: Prepared for Practising Law Institute Course Handbook
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