2007 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Moak
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 75-24-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE PROHIBITED ACTS UNDER THE CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW; TO AMEND SECTION 75-24-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MAY AUTHORIZE OTHERS TO BRING ACTIONS ON HIS BEHALF; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 75-24-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-24-5. (1) Unfair methods of competition affecting commerce and unfair or deceptive trade practices in or affecting commerce are prohibited. Action may be brought under Section 75-24-5(1) only under the provisions of Section 75-24-9.
(2) Without limiting the scope of subsection (1) of this section, the following unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive trade practices or acts in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby prohibited:
(a) Passing off goods or services as those of another;
(b) Misrepresentation of the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services;
(c) Misrepresentation of affiliation, connection, or association with, or certification by another;
(d) Misrepresentation of designations of geographic origin in connection with goods or services;
(e) Representing that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities that they do not have or that a person has a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection that he does not have;
(f) Representing that goods are original or new if they are reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or secondhand;
(g) Representing that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model, if they are of another;
(h) Disparaging the goods, services, or business of another by false or misleading representation of fact;
(i) Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised;
(j) Advertising goods or services with intent not to supply reasonably expectable public demand, unless the advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity;
(k) Misrepresentations of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amounts of price reductions;
(l) Advertising by or on behalf of any licensed or regulated health care professional which does not specifically describe the license or qualifications of the licensed or regulated health care professional;
(m) Charging an increased premium for reinstating a motor vehicle insurance policy that was cancelled or suspended by the insured solely for the reason that he was transferred out of this state while serving in the United States Armed Forces or on active duty in the National Guard or United States Armed Forces Reserve. It is also an unfair practice for an insurer to charge an increased premium for a new motor vehicle insurance policy if the applicant for coverage or his covered dependents were previously insured with a different insurer and canceled that policy solely for the reason that he was transferred out of this state while serving in the United States Armed Forces or on active duty in the National Guard or United States Armed Forces Reserve. For purposes of determining premiums, an insurer shall consider such persons as having maintained continuous coverage. The provisions of this paragraph (m) shall apply only to such instances when the insured does not drive the vehicle during the period of cancellation or suspension of his policy;
(n) Charging an unreasonable amount for goods or services.
SECTION 2. Section 75-24-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-24-15. (1) In addition to all other statutory and common law rights, remedies and defenses, any person who purchases or leases goods or services primarily for personal, family or household purposes and thereby suffers any ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of the use of employment by the seller, lessor, manufacturer or producer of a method, act or practice prohibited by Section 75-24-5 may bring an action at law in the court having jurisdiction in the county in which the seller, lessor, manufacturer or producer resides, or has his principal place of business or, where the act or practice prohibited by Section 75-24-5 allegedly occurred, to recover such loss of money or damages for the loss of such property, or may assert, by way of setoff or counterclaim, the fact of such loss in a proceeding against him for the recovery of the purchase price or rental, or any portion thereof, of the goods or services.
(2) In any private action brought under this chapter, the plaintiff must have first made a reasonable attempt to resolve any claim through an informal dispute settlement program approved by the Attorney General.
(3) In any action or counterclaim under this section of this chapter, a prevailing defendant may recover in addition to any other relief that may be provided in this section costs and a reasonable attorney's fee, if in the opinion of the court, said action or counterclaim was frivolous or filed for the purpose of harassment or delay.
(4) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit any class action or suit, but every private action must be maintained in the name of and for the sole use and benefit of the individual person. The Attorney General may authorize a person to bring an action on his behalf and on behalf of others with substantially identical claims.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.