Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser campaigned on a platform of protecting the state’s consumers from bad-acting businesses.
But when he took office in January, he quickly believed that the state’s laws provided him with an arsenal of spitballs to battle a problem that really needed a cannonball-sized solution.
“I took office and very quickly there was this survey of the consumer protection laws in the 50 states,” said Weiser, a Democrat, citing a report from the National Consumer Law Center. “It ranked Colorado 48. We have not examined our consumer protection laws in three-ish decades. As a result, our penalties really lag, meaning that there’s a risk someone might say, ‘You know, maybe I’ll get caught. But if I do, what’s the big deal?’ The penalties are so modest it could be just the cost of doing business. And that scares me.”
The legislature responded this year by passing the first major overhaul of the state’s consumer protection laws in decades. The changes give prosecutors and private attorneys much more leeway in bringing cases against companies with questionable business practices and open the door for significantly larger settlements and judgments for consumers who have been wronged.
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