UDAAP is an acronym representing laws that prohibit Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices in the context of trade or business. This includes misrepresentation, deception, false advertising, or false promises. These laws emerged following the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that was enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The ultimate goal with these laws is geared towards protecting consumers involved in financial transactions, educating consumers on their rights, and allowing them access to information and resources to best inform their decisions.
The organizations which regulate and enforce UDAAP laws are the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC expanded the initial UDAAP laws in 2004 to include unfair and deceptive acts and practices. Some standards for unfairness, in particular, include if it causes or is likely to cause substantial injury to consumers, the injury is not reasonably avoidable by consumers, and the injury is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to competition.
The Regulation of Business Practice and Consumer Protection Act, Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 93A, Sections 1 through 11, is Massachusetts’s UDAP statute. The law broadly prohibits unfair, unconscionable, and deceptive acts while also giving the attorney general the ability to adopt strong and more specific regulations. A weakness of their law, though, is that it requires consumers to file a pre-suit notice to the defendant.
The statute of limitations in Massachusetts is four years, which means that a claim must be filed within four years of the date of the alleged injury or deceptive act. Successful plaintiffs can recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees after the case. The plaintiff also must be able to prove the following prior to filing their lawsuit:
- That the consumer sent a detailed 30-day demand letter outlining the complaint, the harm suffered, and the demanded relief,
- That he/she is a “consumer” plaintiff - someone engaging in commerce primarily for personal, family, or household purposes,
- That the defendant’s actions were “unfair” or “deceptive,” and
- That these actions resulted in a “loss of money or property, real or personal” to that consumer.
UDAAP and Arbitration
Arbitration is an out-of-court proceeding where a neutral third-party (the arbitrator) hears all the evidence from both sides and makes a decision about the case, which may or may not be binding. Binding arbitration, the most common type of arbitration, means that the decision is enforceable in a court of law and participants agree to abide by the decision. Some contracts allow for non-binding arbitration, meaning that either party is free to reject the arbitrator’s decision and take the dispute to court, although this is less common.
Arbitration has many advantages over traditional litigation, including being faster, more flexible in scheduling, and more efficient. Arbitration also avoids the hostility that can accompany court cases, remains confidential, and allows for an arbitrator who is a professional in the field to be selected instead of a judge who may not have familiarity with the issues at hand.
If you have a UDAAP claim, chances are we can bring your claim in arbitration. Arbitration is a very useful tool for resolving disputes, and Agruss Law Firm, LLC can help. With our expert guidance, we bring the big companies to the table and provide the support needed to get your bills corrected, credit reports fixed, improper fees refunded, and more. Let us pick up the sword for you; you have nothing to lose.
We see you as a person, not just a client – and that makes us better at the work we do. We listen. We learn your story. And, as we help you get the money you deserve, we go above and beyond in a way most law firms never could and never would. Our unique formula has earned us over 1,070 outstanding client reviews on our website, an A+ BBB rating, and over 155 five-star reviews on Google. Call 888-572-0176, e-mail us at [email protected], or schedule a meeting with us here. We’re here 24/7.
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