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.
N.J. Stat. Ann. Sections 56:8-1 through 56:8-91 (West) is New Jersey’s UDAP statute. The statute is fairly strong; it broadly prohibits unfair, unconscionable, and deceptive acts and practices. The procedure for the consumer is straightforward by not requiring pre-suit notice, a showing of public interest, or reliance. The weaknesses of the statute are the few exemptions for certain industries and including “learned professionals” in its scope.
Successful plaintiffs can recover compensatory damages, multiple and punitive damages, and attorneys fees. In order to prove a UDAP claim, the plaintiff must be able to show that they suffered an “ascertainable loss of moneys or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by another person of any method, act, or practice declared unlawful under this act.” There should be a relationship between the ascertainable loss and the defendant’s conduct.
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 Mike Agruss Law 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.
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