HB 275 Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and is now, thanks the the governor’s leadership, among the weakest in the country. Under the bill Gov. Kasich and Republican lawmakers granted companies that defraud Ohioans a “right to cure” which allows businesses sued for cheating a customer the right to offer the victim his or her money back and a nominal amount–capped at $2500–toward attorneys’ fees in exchange for dismissing the lawsuit.
If a consumer rejects the offer and is later awarded even a dollar less than the business offered by a jury, that wronged consumer loses the right to ask for triple damages, a standard damages provision in almost every consumer protection bill that is designed to discourage corporate misconduct. Additionally the consumer forfeits the right to ask that the offender pay court costs an attorneys’ fees, also routine penalties a judge can impose if the company’s behavior was egregious.
The bill is not just bad for consumers, its bad for businesses that want to conduct themselves honorably since their competitors who engage in bait-and-switch and other unfair tactics no longer face an economic penalty for cheating.
Add this to the list of insults flung on the middle class by Republicans in Ohio. Can citizens of that state really afford to keep the right in power?
Photo from waferboard via flickr.