AG-request legislation increasing consumer protection penalties passes Legislature

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson
The Washington Legislature Monday passed the Consumer Protection Improvement Act, an attorney general-request bill that increases the maximum civil penalties for Consumer Protection Act violations from $2,000 to $7,500. 

This bill will update these penalties for the first time since they were adopted in 1970. Strong consumer protection penalties provide accountability, deter future violations and ensure a level playing field for business.

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, sponsored the Consumer Protection Improvement Act, Senate Bill 5025. The measure, which passed in a bipartisan vote of 31-18 in the Senate and 57-41 in the House, now heads to the governor’s desk.

Washington currently has some of the lower per-violation consumer protection penalties in the country. Only four states have penalties lower than Washington’s, which is why the National Consumer Law Center characterized Washington’s current consumer protection penalties as “weak.”

SB 5025 also increases Washington’s penalties for antitrust violations and creates a first-of-its-kind enhanced penalty for consumer protection violations that target vulnerable communities and protected classes.

“Washington’s Consumer Protection Act penalties have not changed in more than 50 years,” Ferguson said. 
“Today, the Legislature took an important step to fix that. Strong penalties deter illegal conduct that harms Washingtonians and allow my office to hold violators accountable. This new, strengthened law will provide Washingtonians with greater protections against illegal, unfair and deceptive business practices.”


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