Victim of Consumer Fraud?

The Missouri Merchandising Practices Act  (MMPA) provides that “the act, use or employment by any person of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair  practice or the concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in trade or commerce or the solicitation of any funds for any charitable purpose…in or from the state of Missouri, is declared to be an unlawful practice.”  The MMPA’s definitions make a broad range of acts illegal. For instance, “sale” is defined as any sale, lease, offer for sale or lease, or attempt to sell or lease merchandise for cash or on credit. Therefore, even fraudulent offers for sale or attempts to sell merchandise violate the act. To broaden the MMPA even further, the Missouri legislature defined “merchandise” as objects, wares, goods, commodities, intangibles, real estate or services. The inclusion of intangibles, real estate, and services in the definition of merchandise creates a broad and powerful statute to protect consumers of all types.

Violation of the MMPA can give rise to both civil and criminal liability. If a law suit is brought by a consumer, punitive damages and attorney’s fees may be recovered in addition to any actual damages. If you have been the victim of fraud in any transaction, you may have a cause of action under the MMPA.