The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Consumer Protection

D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act

D.C. Code Ann. §§ 28-3901 through 28-3913

The Law:

Consumer protection remedies include mediation, actions under the Consumer Protection Procedures Act, as well as complaints to the D.C. Attorney General, D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and Federal agencies, such as the FTC.

A bulk of the D.C.-specific consumer protection law is provided for in the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The Act lists more than 30 trade practices that are considered unlawful in the District, and impliedly incorporates all other practices that violate other D.C. laws. See § 28-3904 (Unlawful trade practices); §28-3901(b)(1) ("remedy all improper trade practices"); Osbourne v. Capital City Mortgage Corp., 727 A.2d 322, 325 (D.C. 1999) Unlawful practices include misrepresentations of material facts, bait-and-switch tactics, and false advertising. A "consumer" under the Act includes a corporation "who does or would purchase, lease (from), or receive consumer goods or services" or "economic demand for a trade practice." See D.C. Code Ann. § 28-3901(a)(1)-(3).

Suits alleging a cause of action against merchants who supply goods or services may be brought under the act by filing in the Superior Court or by complaint to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. See §28-3905; Calvetti v. Antcliff, 346 F.Supp. 2d 92, 103 (D.D.C. 2004).

Other theories of recovery include common law (such as fraud) and federal law (such as consumer credit laws).

D.C. Resources

The Metropolitan Police Department, the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, theOffice of the Attorney General, the Department of Consumer of Regulatory Affairs, and the D.C. Superior Court all provide resources to address consumer protection. They are available.

Mediation of claims is available through the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division, a service of the Small Claims and Conciliation Branch of the D.C. Superior Court. If mediation is not chosen, civil claims under $5,000 must be filed in the Small Claims Court and claims over $5,000 must be filed with the Civil Actions Branch of the D.C. Superior Court.

Federal Resources:

The FTC's website provides a wealth of consumer information regarding federal laws. The Federal Reserve Board's website is another federal resource.

Reference: District of Columbia Practice Manual § 8 (15th ed. 2006).

 

 

links updated AAS. 8/25/17