Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) laws should be the backbone of consumer protection in every state. Yet in many states these statutes fall far short of their goal of deterring and remedying a broad range of predatory, deceptive, and unscrupulous business practices.
This report evaluates the strength of each state’s UDAP statute, and documents how significant gaps or weaknesses in almost all states undermine the promise of UDAP protections for consumers.
UDAP laws prohibit deceptive practices in consumer transactions and, in many states, also prohibit unfair or unconscionable practices. But their effectiveness varies widely from state to state.
In many states, the deficiencies are glaring. Legislation or court decisions in dozens of states have narrowed the scope of UDAP laws or granted sweeping exemptions to entire industries. Other states have placed substantial legal obstacles in the path of officials charged with UDAP enforcement, or imposed ceilings as low as $1,000 on civil penalties. And several states have stacked the financial deck against consumers who go to court to enforce the law themselves.