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Consumer Protection in the CNMI Gus Harb Assistant Attorney General.

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Presentation on theme: "Consumer Protection in the CNMI Gus Harb Assistant Attorney General."— Presentation transcript:

1 Consumer Protection in the CNMI Gus Harb Assistant Attorney General

2 Why do we need Consumer Protection laws? 30.2 million adult victims 2007 FTC Report: In the U.S., 30.2 million adult victims (13.5 % of adult population) of consumer fraud in 2007 Consumers do not always have enough info. to make a reasoned judgment about goods/services – Vulnerable populations more likely to experience fraud- i.e.: minorities, seniors, uneducated persons Consumer fraud restricts economic growth – Creates an unhealthy business climate – Harmful to small business owners, who are consumers of goods/services from other merchants

3 CNMI Consumer Protection Act 4 CMC §§ Purpose of the law: deceivemislead confuse 1)Prohibit practices by merchants which deceive, mislead or confuse consumers 2)Clarify the relationship between consumers & merchants 3)Regulate business practices to promote an organized market environment 4)Provide a mechanism for resolving disputes between merchants & consumers 5)Provide civil & criminal remedies and penalties for violations of the law

4 Role of the Attorney General’s Office Designated Consumer Counsel within OAG- established by law Consumer Counsel Duties: 1)Coordinate consumer protection programs  Community outreach 2) Prosecute those who violate the Consumer Protection Act  civil & criminal proceedings  AG may also authorize investigations; issue subpoenas; administer oaths; conduct hearings; establish rules & regulations CNMI Consumer Protection Act gives the Attorney General authority to litigate on behalf of the people of the CNMI

5 Illegal Practices under the CNMI Consumer Protection Act + 30 specific prohibited practices in the law… here are a few: Representing that goods are original/new if they are expired, deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, or used

6 Illegal Practices under the CNMI Consumer Protection Act Disparaging the goods, services or business of another by false or misleading representation of facts

7 Illegal Practices under the CNMI Consumer Protection Act Selling expired merchandise without displaying a notice that the merchandise has expired or selling expired merchandise at more than half of the original retail price

8 Illegal Practices under the CNMI Consumer Protection Act Increasing the price of goods, solely on the basis of a shortage of supply caused by natural disaster or any other emergency situation

9 Illegal Practices under the CNMI Consumer Protection Act Representing that a part, replacement, or repair service is needed when it is not

10 Illegal Practices under the CNMI Consumer Protection Act making a false or misleading statement (which person knew or should have known was false/misleading) with the intent to dispose of property, to perform services or to induce the public to enter into an obligation

11 Remedies for consumers under the Consumer Protection Act Temporary or Permanent Injunction: used to restrain and/or prevent a violation of the Consumer Protection Act Stops the harm Brought forth by AG before the Superior Court Private or Class Action lawsuit: brought by a consumer or a class of consumers aggrieved as a result of a violation of the Act Equitable relief (to make the consumer “whole”)

12 Penalties for violations of the Consumer Protection Act Civil Penalties – Brought by the AG in the name of the people of the Commonwealth – Fine of up to $2,500 for each violation – Fine of up to $10,000 for violation of an Injunction Order Criminal Penalties – Any merchant who knowingly or recklessly violates the Act is subject to a fine of up to $2,000 and/or 6 months imprisonments upon conviction for each violation – Each violation of the Act is a separate offense – When a corporation is subject to criminal prosecution- any officer, agent or legal entity who knowingly and willfully authorized the illegal activity is also subject to the same penalty

13 Moving Forward… Know your rights as a consumer and inform others of their rights – CNMI Consumer Protection Act (established in Public Law No. 6-46) is available at: – Attend future OAG consumer protection outreach programs – contact me at the Attorney General’s Office with any questions or concerns Office Phone: (670)

14 Moving Forward… Report all incidents of potential consumer protection fraud to the Attorney General’s Office – Online incident report form available on OAG website at – Contact me at the AG’s Office Office Phone: (670)

15 Thank you for listening! Any Questions/Comments?


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