A Holiday Reminder Regarding the Colorado Consumer Protection Act

Small Business Saturday, a shopping promotion that takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving, has grown in popularity in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday (two of the busiest shopping days of the year featuring big box retailers and on-line/e-commerce stores). Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to “shop small,” and to support local, brick and mortar businesses. With the busy holiday shopping season approaching, retailers – particularly those with small business Saturday promotions – should be mindful of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act’s restrictions and prohibitions.

Colorado enacted the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (“CCPA”) in 1969 to protect consumers from, among other things, unfair and deceptive business practices. Some of the more prominent actions prohibited under the Act are:

• Advertising goods and services with the intent not to sell them as advertised;
• Advertising goods and services without having a reasonable supply (unless the advertisement discloses a limited supply);
• Making false statements concerning the price of goods and services;
• Knowingly passing off goods as those of another (e.g., placing a brand-name label on a non-brand name item);
• Knowingly making false representations that goods are new, original, or undamaged;
• Misrepresenting the source of merchandise (e.g., saying a product is made in Colorado, when it is not); and
• Falsely disparaging the goods, services, property, or business of another merchant.

Retailers and other businesses engaged with the public should pay close attention to the CCPA’s prohibitions because each violation of the act can result in damages of $500 or more, and payment of the consumer’s legal fees (among other adverse consequences).