Until July 2009, Iowa victims of many fraudulent, unfair or deceptive practices had little recourse. Unlike almost every other state in the nation, Iowans had no right to sue to seek damages for most claims. They could sue for some fraudulent activities but faced burdensome legal requirements, like showing that the defendant had the intent to deceive and that there was clear and convincing evidence of the fraud. The plaintiff also had to pay all their own attorney’s fees, even if they won their case.
In July 2009 a new Iowa law became effective that creates many more opportunities for Iowans harmed by unfair and deceptive activities. Consumers now have a right to bring a lawsuit against someone who knows or reasonably should know that their conduct is an unfair practice, deception, false promise or false pretense. The conduct must be in connection with the advertisement, sale or lease of consumer merchandise but the definition of merchandise is broadly defined to cover services, goods and many other items.
Consumers can be compensated for actual damages and can also receive punitive damages and attorney’s fees. Although there are several categories of professionals who are exempted from the law, it is still a very useful law for obtaining relief. It has already been used in lawsuits against debt settlement companies, car lenders and many other companies or organizations. Consumers who think they have been the victim of some deceptive or unfair practice should contact Thompson Law Office to discuss your situation.