Article Examines How Government Agencies Enforce UDAP Laws

Prentiss Cox of Minnesota, Amy Widman of Northern Illinois, and Mark Totten of Michigan State have written Strategies of Public UDAP Enforcement, Harvard Journal on Legislation, Forthcoming.  Here's the abstract:

Laws protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive acts and practices – commonly called “UDAP” laws – have played a stunning role in recent years. As one example, state and federal enforcers plied these laws more than any other to hold individuals and companies accountable for the Great Recession, while chalking-up record payouts. And with the shift in national power, the spotlight shows no signs of dimming.

Given the outsized role these statutes play, critics have directed their sights on both the laws and the enforcers who wield them. Missing from this debate, however, is an account of the actual conduct of UDAP enforcement in America. How do public UDAP enforcers exercise their considerable discretion? This article examines every UDAP matter resolved by state and federal enforcers in 2014 and presents the initial results of the first comprehensive empirical study of public UDAP enforcement.

Across a range of attributes, public UDAP enforcement varies while also revealing clear patterns. We organize the data to show how enforcers employ distinct strategies. The two main federal enforcers adopt sharply different approaches, especially regarding targets and relief. The state enforcers divide into seven distinct strategies, distinguished not only by case variables, but also by case quantity and leadership in multi-enforcer actions. The picture that emerges should shape the policy and scholarly debate on public UDAP enforcement and help optimize the work of public enforcers.

0 thoughts on “Article Examines How Government Agencies Enforce UDAP Laws

  1. Bell says:

    I think it’s almost comical to explain how UDAP laws were used to hold companies that caused the Great Recession accountable for what happened. The Great Recession was caused by lack of corporate responsibility and no current law can properly punish those guilty of that “crime.”
    I side with Gordon Gecko when he says “greed is good.” But greed must be kept in check and those who take risks as a result of greed must be accountable for the greedy decisions that harm others. If equity traders or bank executives want to take big risks for big rewards, that’s fine with me. But when those risks don’t turn out well, the American people shouldn’t have to pay the price (although, admittedly, many consumers were also responsible for causing the Great Recession).

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