The federal government and each state has a consumer protection law. We normally call these UDAP statutes (i.e. Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices) The laws are quite similar and their aim is to protect consumers from deceptive acts of businesses. However, there are some distinct differences state to state. I work with the Wyoming and Colorado Consumer Protection Acts. Here are some key differences between the two.
Scope of the Act:
Colorado's Consumer Protection Act is much more clear about the types of acts and practices it covers. It has been frequently updated through the years and includes a "laundry list" of prohibited conduct. In contrast, Wyoming's Consumer Protection Act has only rarely been updated through the years. Its list of prohibited conduct is much shorter. On the other hand, Wyoming's act includes a catch-all provision covering "unfair or deceptive acts or practices." Colorado's act does not have such a catch-all provision. This means that under Wyoming law, a unique or newer type of act or practice may violate Wyoming's act. Another difference is that Wyoming's act covers "unfair" acts or practices, not just deceptive acts or practices. This allows some claims to proceed forward under Wyoming law that would not be allowed under Colorado law.
Wyoming's act requires that the plaintiff provide notice and an opportunity to cure to the business before filing suit. Colorado's act does not have this requirement. This is an important difference as a failure to provide presuit notice under Wyoming law may provide grounds for dismissal of the lawsuit.
Attorney's Fees in private actions:
Colorado's act provides for an award of attorneys fees and costs to the consumer if the consumer prevails. Wyoming's act also provides for fees and costs, but only in class action lawsuits.
Statutory Damages in private actions:
Wyoming and Colorado both allow for the recovery of damages. However, Colorado's act goes further and allows the greater of damages or $500. This gives incentive to consumers to pursue claims although the individual amount of damages may be small. Wyoming's act does not provide for statutory damages.