In Missouri, there is a consumer protection law called the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act that protects consumers from deceptive, unethical, or illegal actions by businesses and people associated with businesses.  This law allows local prosecuting attorneys and the Attorney General’s Office to bring felony criminal charges against anyone who intentionally uses deceptive business practice to defraud a consumer.  You can make a consumer complaint to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and request enforcement action by clicking here.  Unfortunately, the prosecutor’s offices and the Attorney General simply don’t have the ability to go after all those who are guilty of using deceptive business practices.

Thankfully, the law also provides that consumers may hire a private attorney to bring an action against the business and anyone involved with the deceptive practices.  The law authorizes the Court to award a consumer not only the amount of money they lost as a result of the transaction, but also their attorney’s fees and, in cases where the conduct of the business or associated people is particularly outrageous, the court is allowed to award extra money as punitive damages.

Some Examples of Deceptive Business Practices:

  • Car dealership sells you a car, but does not provide the title to you at the time you take possession of the vehicle.

  • A merchant refuses to honor a warranty they sold you with goods.

  • Mechanic charges you for work that was not completed.

  • Door-to-door salesperson makes you sign a contract without a three day right to cancel the contract.

Because deceptive business practices include any violation of any federal or Missouri law, it is impossible to list all scenarios that would violate the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.  For some specific instances when the Merchandising Practices Act might apply, please see our pages on Auto FraudHome Contractor Disputes, and Creditor Harassment.

If you believe that you have been taken advantage of by a business, please call 636-442-4529 and speak to one of our attorneys today.  Our consumer protection attorneys will give you a consultation which includes a realistic evaluation of your situation.