Basic Consumer Laws of Washington State
In 1961, the Washington legislature passed the Consumer Protection Act to protect consumers and businesses allowing them to bring cases against businesses that engage in unfair or deceptive practices. Under the act, a consumer can recover their actual damages, plus three times their damages up to $10,000, and their attorney fees. Under Washington law, a person cannot usually recover attorney fees under a breach of contract case, and virtually never under any negligence or other tort law claim. As a result, the rights protected under Washington's Consumer Protection Act is significant.
To recover under the Act, you need to prove (1) the defendant committed an unfair or deceptive act or practice; (2) and did so in trade or commerce; (3) and that it affects the public interest or has an impact upon it; which (4) caused (5) injury to plaintiff in his or her business or property. To clarify, a consumer does not need to show that the defendant intended to deceive but only that its actions has the capicity to deceive the public or that the was unfair or deceptive.
The Consumer Protection Act can be used in conjunction with other laws that like those that regulate car sales or insurance to establish the business or insurance company acted in violations of the law. As a result, it adds an additional lawyer of protection.
Insurance Fair Conduct Act
In addition to the Consumer Protect Act, in 2007, Washington State passed the Insurance Fair Conduct Act. It forbids insurance companies from (1) misrepresentation of policy provisions, (2) failure to acknowledge pertinent communications, (3) failing to promptly investigate claims, and (4) failing to promptly make fair and equitable settlements. If an insurance company violates these provisions, a court may award up to three times the actual damages suffered and attorney fees.
In short, Washington law provides many protections. You should not allow yourself to be treated unfairly by insurance companies or businesses.
Please do not use this article alone to determine whether you have a case under Washington State law. Instead, consult a lawyer, and of course we would be delighted if you called us at 425-296-9025.
Successful Representation in Washington
We represent clients all over Washington State. Although we office in Redmond, we will be glad to come meet you any where in Washington State. We have clients in Vancouver, Tacoma, Seattle, Redmond, Edmonds, Everett, Bellevue, Federal Way, Monroe, Duvalle, the Olympic Pensula, Issaquah, North Bend, and even out of state clients who have cases in Washington. We are willing to work with clients over internet, phone, and email, though we do request an initial meeting in person if at all possible.