Kansas consumer protection law is found in The Kansas Consumer Protection Act, found at K.S.A. 50-623, et seq. Frequently abbreviated as the "KCPA," The Kansas Consumer Protection Act was created to protect Kansas consumers from suppliers who commit deceptive and unconscionable practices. Like many other states' consumer-protection laws, the KCPA was based on federal law to punish those who take advantage of individuals in consumer transactions.
Who is a Consumer under The Kansas Consumer Protection Act?
Under the KCPA, a consumer is usually an individual person. But a consumer can also be a husband and wife, a sole proprietor, or a family partnership. Basically, anyone who acquires goods or services for their personal, family, or household uses.
Who is a Supplier under The Kansas Consumer Protection Act?
A supplier can be a manufacturer, distributor, seller, or anyone else whose regular business is with consumers. It doesn't matter whether they have direct contact with the consumer or not–like a manufacturer–they still can be a "supplier" within the meaning of Kansas consumer-protection law. Importantly, though, banks, trust companies, and other lenders are not suppliers under the KCPA.
What Kind of Acts Violate the KCPA?
There are two classes of wrongful acts and practices under the KCPA: (1) deceptive acts and practices, and (1) unconscionable acts and practices.
Deceptive Acts and Practices under The Kansas Consumer Protection Act
The KCPA forbids suppliers from engaging in any deceptive act or practice in connnection with a consumer transaction. Deceptive acts and practices include misrepresentations about goods or services having characteristics, benefits, approval, certification, etc., that they do not have; misrepresentations about the supplier's affiliation, status, approval, or sponsorship; misrepresentinations about selling used goods as "new"; or misrepresentations about goods or services' standards, quality, grade, style, etc. The KCPA also considers the intentional use of lies, exaggeration, or ambiguity, or intentionally hiding, concealing, or suppressing a material fact, to be a deceptive act or practice.
Unconscionable Acts and Practices under The Kansas Consumer Protection Act
Compared to deceptive acts, those that are "unconscionable" are similarly deceptive but deemed by the law to be much more severe. As a general matter, the KCPA says that any transaction is unconscionable if the supplier took advantage of the consumer's ability to protect himself or herself reasonably because of the consumer's physical limitations, ignorance, illiteracy, or inability to understand contract language. If the price grossly exceeds the price of similar goods or services, that also can be an unconscionable act or practice; or selling something to a person who doesn't need the item. Examples of unconscionable acts and practices include: selling two vacuum cleaners to two members of the same household; or selling an expensive set of books to someone who can't read.
Remedies for Consumers under The KCPA
In addition to consumers' rights under all other laws, the KCPA also provides that consumers can obtain a $10,000 civil penalty against wrongdoers for each violation, in addition to the wrongdoer having to pay the consumer's attorneys' fees and costs.