Alabama consumers have a power weapon to fight business fraudsters

In a new judgment, repair company which cheated 155 customers was fined $1.6M pursuant to the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices act,

The victims, who were from 40 states and Canada, either didn’t get the equipment they paid for or were sold defective products with warranties that NuCold refused to honor, the lawsuit states.

“In nearly all cases reported to the state , NuCold repeatedly evaded attempts by consumers to request a refund or obtain the paid-for good or service. NuCold failed to respond to communications from consumers, including phone calls, text messages, emails, and letters,” the suit states. “Some consumers who contacted the State were able to obtain refunds, but only after repeated and consistent attempts by the state to resolve the consumer complaints. In many cases, even the state’s efforts were not enough to compel NuCold to provide refunds to consumers.”

The Arkansas Attorney General brought this actions against NuCold under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. In Alabama, the Legislature enacted the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act, substantially similar to the Arkansas.

The Alabama statute authorizes a private right of action which means a defrauded customer does not need to wait upon the Attorney General or District Attorney; the private citizen can bring the suit. The statutes also authorizes that private citizen to recover: (1) Any actual damages sustained by such consumer or person, or the sum of $100, whichever is greater; and (2) up to three times any actual damages, in the court’s discretion, as punitive damages, and (3) reimbursement of attorney fees and costs.