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A 50-State Survey of Consumer Protection Acts and Their Connections to the Federal Trade Commission Act

Since its inception in 1914, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has served the function of protecting consumers and promoting competition among businesses in the United States. In its original form, the FTC Act was limited in scope, proscribing only “unfair methods of competition.”[1] Thus, under the original provisions of the Act, the FTC had the power to restrict only those practices that were unfair to a business’s competitors.[2] However, in 1938, the Wheeler-Lea Act amended Section 5 of the FTC Act to include a more general prohibition against “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce.”[3] This amendment gave the FTC jurisdiction over a broader range of business practices that harmed consumers, regardless of whether they were deemed unfair to competitors. Following the amendment of Section 5 of the FTC Act, state legislatures began to adopt their own Consumer Protection Acts (CPAs) as a way of complementing the FTC’s enforcement authority while providing citizens with the private right of action that the FTC Act lacked.[4] This surge of state legislative action reached a crescendo in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and by 1981 every state had adopted some form of CPA.[5] Many of these CPAs can be traced to one of three model acts: the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL), and the Uniform Consumer Sales Practices Act.[6]

The UTPCPL is of particular interest, not only because it was the model act adopted by the majority of states, but also because it was created as a collaborative effort between the Council of State Governments and the FTC itself.[7] The UTPCPL offered three alternative formats for defining the scope of activities to be regulate, only two of which were ever adopted by state legislatures.[8] The FTC’s influence in the drafting of the UTPCPL is clearly demonstrated in the first format, which has come to be known as the “Little FTC Act.” This format simply borrows the FTC Act’s broad prohibition against “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices,” without providing any illustrative examples of prohibited acts.[9] Section 3 of the UTPCPL established an even stronger link between the FTC Act and state CPAs by instructing that “due consideration and great weight shall be given to the interpretations of the Federal Trade Commission and the federal courts relating to Section 5(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act . . . ”[10]

Today, the CPAs of 15 states contain the same broad prohibitions against both “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” that appear in Section 5(a) (1) of the FTC Act. In a way, these CPAs could be considered the “true” Little FTC Acts, as they provide no further explanation for what specific conduct constitutes “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” Five other states have adopted the FTC Act’s prohibition against unfair or deceptive acts or practices but excluded the prohibition against methods of unfair competition. An additional 14 states have supplemented the FTC Act’s broad prohibitions with more precise provisions designed to restrict more specific conduct. But perhaps most importantly, 30 states and the District of Columbia have explicitly instructed that their CPAs should be interpreted consistently with the interpretations given by the FTC and the federal courts to Section 5(a)(1) of the FTC Act. Thus, while CPAs are by no means uniform from state to state, it is clear that a majority of states consider their CPAs to be Little FTC Acts for all practical purposes, even if their core provisions do not mirror those of the FTC Act.

The objective of this survey of state CPAs is to identify the states that have tied their definition of “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” to that of the FTC Act and to highlight the different types of prohibitions found in the core provisions of each state’s CPA.

Alabama

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the Legislature that in construing Section 8-19-5, due consideration and great weight shall be given where applicable to interpretations of the [FTC] and the federal courts relating to [Section 5(a)(1)], as from time to time amended.” Ala. Code § 8-19-6.

Prohibited Conduct: Twenty-six specific prohibited acts, with a “catch-all” provision that prohibits “[e]ngaging in any other unconscionable, false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice in the conduct of trade or commerce.” Ala. Code § 8-19-5.

Alaska

FTC Act Reference: “In interpreting AS 45.50.471 due consideration and great weight should be given to the interpretations of [Section 5(a)(1)] . . . ” Alaska Stat. § 45.50.545.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices,” with 57 examples of specific prohibited acts. Alaska Stat. § 45.50.471.

Arizona

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature, in construing subsection A, that the courts may use as a guide interpretations given by the [FTC] and the federal courts to 15 United States Code §§ 45, 52, and 55(a)(1).” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44-1522(C).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against deceptive or unfair acts or practices, but no prohibition against methods of unfair competition. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44-1522(A).

Arkansas

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Eleven illustrative examples of prohibited “deceptive and unconscionable trade practices.” Ark. Code Ann. § 4-88-107.

California

FTC Act Reference: The California Unfair Competition Law does not explicitly reference the FTC Act, but California courts have held that federal court decisions and FTC interpretations of the FTC Act are persuasive authority for construing the state act. See People ex rel. Mosk v. Nat’l Research Co. of Cal., 201 Cal.App.2d 765, 772-73 (1962) (“Although the wordings of the state and federal statutes are not identical, the differences are not of a degree to impair comparison . . . In view of the similarity of the language and the obvious identity of purpose of the two statutes, decisions of the federal court on the subject are more than ordinarily persuasive.”).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “any unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising . . .” Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200.

Colorado

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Fifty-two specific examples of “deceptive trade practice[s].” Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 6-1-105.

Connecticut

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature that in construing subsection (a) of this section, the commissioner and the courts of this state shall be guided by interpretations given by the [FTC] and the federal courts to [Section 5(a)(1)], as from time to time amended.” Conn Gen. Stat. Ann. § 42-110b(b).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 42-110b(a).

Delaware

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Twelve specific examples of “deceptive trade practice[s].” Del. Code Ann. tit. 6, § 2532. District of Columbia

FTC Act Reference: “In construing the term ‘unfair or deceptive trade practice’ due consideration and weight shall be given to the interpretation by the [FTC] and the federal courts of the term ‘unfair or deceptive act or practice,’ as employed in [Section 5(a)(1)] . . .” D.C. Code Ann. § 28-3901(d).

Prohibited Conduct: Thirty-nine specific examples of “unfair or deceptive trade practice[s].” D.C. Code Ann. § 28-3904.

Florida

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the Legislature that, in construing subsection (1), due consideration and great weight shall be given to the interpretations of the [FTC] and the federal courts relating to [Section 5(a) (1)] as of July 1, 2017.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 501.204(2).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition, unconscionable acts or practices, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 501.204(1).

Georgia

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the General Assembly that this part be interpreted and construed consistently with the interpretations given by the [FTC] in the federal courts to Section 5(a)(1) . . . as from time to time amended.” Ga. Code Ann. § 10-1-391(b).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of consumer transactions and consumer acts or practices in trade or commerce,” with 36 examples specific prohibited acts. Ga. Code Ann. § 10-1-393.

Hawaii

FTC Act Reference: “In construing this section, the courts and the office of consumer protection shall give due consideration to the rules, regulations, and decisions of the [FTC] and the federal courts interpreting [S]ection 5(a)(1) . . . , as from time to time amended.” Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 480-2(b).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 480-2(a).

Idaho

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature that in construing this act due consideration and great weight shall be given to the interpretation of the [FTC] and the federal courts relating to [S]ection 5(a) (1) . . . , as from time to time amended [.]” Idaho Code Ann. § 48-604(1).

Prohibited Conduct: Nineteen specific “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Idaho Code Ann. § 48-603.

Illinois

FTC Act Reference: “In construing this section consideration shall be given to the interpretations of the [FTC] and the federal courts relating to Section 5(a) . . .” 815 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 505/2.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” 815 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 505/2.

Indiana

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “unfair, abusive, or deceptive act[s], omission[s], or practice[s] in connection with a consumer transaction,” with 37 examples of specific prohibited acts. Ind. Code Ann. § 24-5-0.5-3.

Iowa

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[t]he act, use or employment by a person of an unfair practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation, or the concealment, suppression, or omission of a material fact with intent that others rely upon the concealment, suppression, or omission, in connection with the lease, sale, or advertisement of any merchandise or the solicitation of contributions for charitable purposes,” but no prohibition against unfair competition. Iowa Code § 714.16(2)(a).

Kansas

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “any deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction,” with 14 examples of specific prohibited acts. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 50-626. “[U]nconscionable act[s] or practice[s] in connection with a consumer transaction” are generally prohibited, as well. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 50-627.

Kentucky

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair, false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 367.170(1). “[U]nfair shall be construed to mean unconscionable.” Id. at (2).

Louisiana

FTC Act Reference: The Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law does not explicitly reference the FTC Act, but Louisiana courts have held that federal court decisions and the FTC’s interpretations of the FTC Act are persuasive authority for construing the state statute. See Guste v. Demars, 330 So. 2d 123 (La. Ct. App. 1976) (“Because of the variety of possible unfair and deceptive practices, the [FTC Act] was intentionally broadly written, leaving the determination of individual violations to the Commission and the courts. Our legislature has expressed a similar intention in patterning our law so closely on the Federal statute. Therefore, we may and should consider interpretations of the Federal courts and of the [FTC] relative to such similar statutes to adjudge the scope and application of our own statute.”

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 51:1405(A).

Maine

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the Legislature that in construing this section the courts will be guided by the interpretations given by the [FTC] and the Federal Courts to [Section 5(a)(1)] . . . , as from time to time amended.” Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 5, § 207(1).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 5, § 207.

Maryland

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the General Assembly that in construing the term ‘unfair or deceptive trade practices’, due consideration and weight shall be given to the interpretations of [Section 5(a)(1)] by the [FTC] and the federal courts.” Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 13-105.

Prohibited Conduct: Fifteen specific examples of “[u]nfair, abusive, or deceptive trade practices.” Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 13-301.

Massachusetts

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature that in construing paragraph (a) of this section in actions brought under sections four, nine, and eleven, the courts will be guided by the interpretations given by the [FTC] and the Federal Courts to [S]ection 5(a)(1) . . . , as from time to time amended.” Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 93A, § 2(b).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Mass. Gen. Laws. Ann. ch. 93A, § 2(a).

Michigan

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Thirty-eight specific examples of “[u]nfair, unconscionable, or deceptive methods, acts, or practices in the conduct of trade or commerce.” Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 445.903.

Minnesota

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[t]he act, use, or employment by any person of any fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, misleading statement or deceptive practice, with the intent that others rely thereon in connection with the sale of any merchandise.” Minn. Stat. Ann. § 329F.69(1).

Mississippi

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the Legislature that in construing what constitutes unfair or deceptive trade practices that the courts will be guided by the interpretations given by the [FTC] and the federal courts to Section 5(a)(1) . . . , as from time to time amended.” Miss. Code Ann. § 75-24-3(c).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition affecting commerce and unfair or deceptive trade practices in or affecting commerce,” with 13 examples of specific prohibited acts. Miss. Code Ann. § 75-24-5.

Missouri

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against [t]he act, use or employment by any person of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice or the concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in trade or commerce or the solicitation of any funds for charitable purposes.” Mo. Stat. Ann. § 407.202(1).

Montana

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature that in construing 30-14-103 due consideration and weight shall be given to the interpretations of the [FTC] and the federal courts relating to [S]ection 5(a)(1) . . . , as amended.” Mont. Code Ann. § 30-14-104(1).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Mont. Code Ann. § 30-14-103.

Nebraska

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 59-1602.

Nevada

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Fifteen enumerated examples of “deceptive trade practice[s],” with a catchall provision that prohibits “[k] knowingly mak[ing] any other false representation in a transaction.” Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 598.0915. The Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act contains ten additional provisions defining specific categories of deceptive trade practices. See Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 598.0916 – 0925.

New Hampshire

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature that in any action or prosecution under this chapter, the courts may be guided by the interpretation and construction given Section 5(a)(1) . . . by the [FTC] and the federal courts.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 358-A:13.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “any unfair method of competition or any unfair or deceptive act or practice in the conduct of any trade or commerce,” with 17 examples of specific prohibited acts. N.H. Rev. Stat. ann. § 358-A:2.

New Jersey

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[t]he act, use or employment by any person of any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or the knowing, concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact with the intent that others rely on such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate, or with the subsequent performance of such person as aforesaid.” N.J. Stat. Ann. § 56:8-2.

New Mexico

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature that in construing section 3 of the Unfair Practices Act the courts to the extent possible will be guided by the interpretations given by the [FTC] and the federal courts.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-12-4.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair or deceptive trade practices and unconscionable trade practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-12-3.

New York

FTC Act Reference: Section 349 of the New York General Business Law does not explicitly reference the FTC Act, but New York courts have held that federal court decisions and the FTC’s interpretation of the FTC Act are persuasive authority for construing Section 349. See Lefkowitz v. Colo. St. Christian Coll. of Church of Inner Power, Inc., 346 N.Y.S.2d 482, 487 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1973) (“It is thus clear that the legislative purpose in enacting § 349 of the General Business Law was to follow in the steps of the Federal Trade Commission with respect to the interpretation of deceptive acts and practices outlawed in Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act . . .”).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[d]eceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any business, trade or commerce or in the furnishing of any service.” N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 349(a).

North Carolina

FTC Act Reference: The North Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act does not explicitly mention the FTC Act, but North Carolina Courts have held that federal court decisions and the FTC’s interpretations of the FTC Act may be used as guidance in construing the state act. See Marshall v. Miller, 276 S.E.2d 397, 399 (N.C. 1981) (“It is established by earlier decisions of this Court that federal decisions interpreting the FTC Act may be used as guidance in determining the scope and meaning of [N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §] 75-1.1.”).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 75-1.1(a).

North Dakota

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[t]he act, use, or employment by any person of any deceptive act or practice, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation, with the intent that others rely thereon in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise,” as well as “[t]he act, use, or employment by any person of any act or practice, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise, which is unconscionable or which causes or is likely to cause substantial injury to a person which is not reasonably avoidable by the injured person and not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to competition.” N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 51-15-02.

Ohio

FTC Act Reference: “In construing division (A) of this section, the court shall give due consideration and great weight to [FTC] orders, trade regulation rules and guides, and the federal courts’ interpretations of [Section 5(a)(1)], as amended.” Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1345.02(c).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “unfair or deceptive act[s] or practice[s] in connection with a consumer transaction,” with ten examples of specific prohibited acts. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1345.02(a)-(b).

Oklahoma

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Thirty-two enumerated unlawful practices. 15 Okla. Stat. Ann. § 753.

Oregon

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Twelve enumerated “unlawful trade practice[s].” Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 646.607.

Pennsylvania

FTC Act Reference: The Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law does not explicitly mention the FTC Act, but Pennsylvania courts have held that federal court decisions and the FTC’s interpretations of the FTC Act may be used as guidance in construing the state act. See Commonwealth, by Creamer v. Monumental Properties, Inc., 329 A.2d 812, 817-18 (Pa. 1974) (internal citations and quotations omitted) (“The [Pennsylvania] Consumer Protection Law has regularly been interpreted by the Commonwealth Court as being based on the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Lanham Trademark Act . . . Indeed in all relevant respects the language of section 3 of the Consumer Protection Law and Section 5 of the FTC Act is identical . . . We thus agree with the Commonwealth Court that ‘we may look to the decisions under those Acts for guidance and interpretation.’”).

Prohibited Conduct: Twenty enumerated examples of “‘unfair methods of competition’ and ‘unfair or deceptive acts or practices,’” with a catch-all provision that prohibits “ [e]ngaging in any other fraudulent or deceptive conduct which creates a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding.” 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 201-2.

Rhode Island

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature that in construing §§ 6-13.1.-1 and 6-13.1-2 due consideration and great weight shall be given to the interpretations of the [FTC] and the federal courts relating to [Section] 5(a) . . . , as from time to time amended.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 6-13.1-3.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 6-13.1-3.

South Carolina

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature that in construing paragraph (a) of this section the courts will be guided by the interpretations given by the [FTC] and the Federal Courts to [Section] 5(a)(1) . . . , as from time to time amended.” S.C. Code Ann. § 39-5-20(b).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods  of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” S.C. Code Ann. § 29-5-20(b).

South Dakota

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Fifteen enumerated “deceptive act[s] or practice[s].” S.D. Codified Laws § 37-24-6.

Tennessee

FTC Act Reference: “This part, being deemed remedial legislation for the protection of the consumers of the state of Tennessee and elsewhere, shall be construed to effectuate the purposes and intent. It is the intent of the general assembly that this part shall be interpreted and construed consistently with the interpretations given by the [FTC] and the federal courts pursuant to [Section] 5(a)(1) . . .” Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-18-115.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair or deceptive acts or practices affecting the conduct for any trade or commerce,” with 52 examples of specific prohibited acts. Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-13-104(a)-(b).

Texas

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the legislature that in construing Subsection (a) of this section in suits brought under Section 17.47 of this subchapter the courts to the extent possible will be guided by . . . the interpretations given by the [FTC] and federal courts to Section 5(a)(1) . . .” Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. § 17.46(c)(1).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[f]alse, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce,” with 33 examples of specific prohibited acts. Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. § 17.46(a)-(b).

Utah

FTC Act Reference: “This act shall be construed liberally to promote the following policies: . . . to make state regulation of consumer sales practices not inconsistent with the policies of the [FTC] relating to consumer protection.” Utah Code Ann. § 13-11-2(4).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “deceptive  act[s] or practice[s] by a supplier in connection with a consumer transaction,” with 23 examples of specific prohibited acts. Utah Code Ann. § 13-11-4(a)-(b).

Vermont

FTC Act Reference: “It is the intent of the Legislature that in construing subsection (a) of this section, the courts of this state will be guided by the construction of similar terms contained in Section 5(a)(1) . . . as from time to time amended by the [FTC] and the courts of the United States.” Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 9, § 2453(b).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition in commerce and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce.” Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 9, § 2453(a).

Virginia

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Fifty-eight enumerated “fraudulent acts or practices committed by a supplier in connection with a consumer transaction.” Va. Code Ann. § 59.1-200.

Washington

FTC Act Reference: “The legislature hereby declares that the purpose of this act is to complement the body of federal law governing restraints on trade, unfair competition and unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent acts or practices in order to protect the public and foster fair and honest competition. It is the intent of the legislature that, in construing this act, the courts shall be guided by final decisions of the federal courts and final orders of the [FTC] interpreting the various federal statutes dealing with the same or similar matters . . .” Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 19.86.920.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Wash Rev. Stat. Ann. § 19.86.020.

West Virginia

FTC Act Reference: “The Legislature hereby declares that the purpose of this article is to complement the body of federal law governing unfair competition and unfair, deceptive and fraudulent acts or practices in order to protect the public and foster fair and honest competition. It is the intent of the Legislature that, in construing this article, the courts be guided by the policies of the [FTC] and interpretations given by the [FTC] and the federal courts to Section 5(a) (1) . . . , as from time to time amended, and to the various other federal statutes dealing with the same or similar matters.” W. Va. Code Ann. § 46A-6-101(1).

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” W. Va. Code Ann. § 46A-6-104.

Wisconsin

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: General prohibition against “[u]nfair methods of competition in business and unfair trade practices in business,” with five examples of specific prohibited acts. Wis. Code Ann. § 100.20(1).

Wyoming

FTC Act Reference: None.

Prohibited Conduct: Fifteen enumerated “deceptive trade practice[s],” with a catch-all provision that prohibits “[e]ngag[ing] in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 45-12-105.


[1] Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, ch. 311, § 5, 38 Stat. 719.

[2] See Fed. Trade Comm’n v. Raladam Co., 51 S. Ct. 587, 592 (1931) (holding that the FTC lacked jurisdiction to restrain unfair competition, where the activities at issue did not substantially injure the business of competitors).

[3] Wheeler-Lea Act of 1938, ch. 49, § 3, 52 Stat. 111; 15 U.S.C. § 45(a)(1).

[4] See Bank of the West v. Superior Ct., 833 P.2d 545, 551 (Cal. 1992) (noting that the 1938 amendment to the FTC Act “became the model for state regulatory statutes”).

[5] Henry N. Butler and Joshua D. Wright, Are State Consumer Protection Acts Really Little-FTC Acts?, 63 Fla. L. Rev. 163, 167-169 (2011).

[6] Dee Pridgen and Richard M. Alderman, Consumer Protection and the Law § 2:10 (Nov. 2017 update).

[7] Id.

[8] Jack E. Karns, State Regulation of Deceptive Trade Practices Under “Little FTC Acts”: Should Federal Standards Control?, 94 Dickinson L. Rev. 373, 376 (1990).

[9] 29 Council of State Gov’ts, 1970 Suggested State Legislation 142, 146 (1969).

[10] Id. at 147.

Finis