Iowans To Get Wishy Washy Consumer Bill Of Rights

Good news, Iowans! Your legislature has decided to enact a consumer bill of rights giving you the power to sue businesses that commit fraud. Unless, of course, you’re going after banks, attorneys, insurance providers, doctors, cable companies, telecoms, utilities, veterinarians, realtors, charities, architects, or certain retailers. Still, the bill isn’t entirely useless…

Iowa is currently the only state that bans consumers from suing shady businesses. No more! Just don’t get your hopes up about banding together to file a class action suit. That requires a permission slip from the Attorney General.

The current Attorney General, Democrat Tom Miller, has been championing the legislation for almost 20 years, until now without success.

Indeed, to deal with the 4,000 to 5,000 currently proposed suits, the state would need to hire between 40 and 50 new staff attorneys, which it simply can’t afford to do.

Still, while the bill will be a welcome change to Iowa’s archaic system, it is not without its flaws. Iowans still will need to seek approval from the Attorney General to file class action suits, and the bill will not apply retroactively. This means that suits which have already been filed will still need to be handled by Miller’s office.

The measure, House File 712, passed the House 95-1, and won unanimous approval in the Senate. Governor Culver is expected to sign the bill before it expires on May 26.

And if it turns out the bill has too many loopholes, maybe the next Attorney General can spend twenty years crusading for a fix.

Bill that allows consumers to sue companies for fraud goes to Culver [Des Moines Register]
Iowa Allows Consumers to Directly File Fraud Claims [Consumer Affairs]