This is the second in a series of blog discussions about Ohio’s consumer laws. The blogs are designed to raise awareness of a part of business owner’s potential pitfalls of these laws and how they can be avoided. You do not want to find yourself on the wrong side of a CSPA lawsuit. Read Part One of this series here: Ignore Ohio Consumer Law at Your Own Peril.
Are you covered by the CSPA?
As mentioned in my previous blog, the CSPA, or Consumer Sales Practices Act, applies to most transactions of sales of goods or services for personal, family or household use. The consequences for failing to abide by these laws can be severe. Most sales of goods or services to a consumer, called a consumer transaction, are regulated by the CSPA.
The Ohio Attorney General defines a consumer transaction as “the purchase, solicitation for purchase, or award by chance, of a product or service that is intended for home, family, or personal use.” The Attorney General’s office gives several examples of consumer transactions:
- A motor vehicle dealer selling a used or new vehicle to a consumer.
- A wallpaper company selling its goods online to consumers.
- A department store advertising a sale.
- A home improvement contractor soliciting consumers at their homes.
- Third party debt collectors calling consumers to collect debts.
- Salespeople making telemarketing calls to consumers.
- Credit repair companies contracting with consumers to improve their credit.
However, not all consumer transactions fall under the CSPA. A partial list of transactions that are exempt from the CSPA include:
- All sales between businesses
- Services for accounting
- Doctors and dentists
- Public utilities such as telephone, gas, electric, and pipeline companies
- Financial institutions including banks, credit unions and the like. (However, non-bank financed residential mortgages fall under the CSPA, too.)
- Insurance companies
- Veterinarians (for medical services to pets, but not ancillary services such as boarding)
- New Home construction (These are covered under a separate Consumer Statute)
Most other sales of goods or services in Ohio fall under the statute and/or its sister provisions. These others statutes will be discussed at a later time. The most common lawsuits involving the CSPA include: roofers, home repair services, plumbers, masons, electricians, contractors, car dealers (new and used), auto repair facilities, alarm service suppliers and installers, retail shops and restaurants. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Almost any business other than those exempt, can find themselves on the wrong side of a CSPA suit.
In upcoming blogs in this series, I will be discussing how businesses violate the CSPA, what to do if a CSPA claim is filed against you and how to avoid CSPA claims.
Gertsburg Law helps business owners in Ohio and throughout the country stay in compliance with the CSPA and other state and federal mandates. To schedule your consultation with a General Counsel attorney from our offices in Cleveland or Chagrin Falls, please call 440.571.7777 or contact us to schedule an appointment.
Mark and the attorneys of The Gertsburg Law Firm now offer Cover My Six, a one-stop legal audit for your business, led by award-winning litigators and in-house counsel. CM6 minimizes your exposure to lawsuits, investigations, disgruntled employees and customers, and all the damage that comes with them. Visit www.covermysix.com to learn more about how to protect your business from lawsuits with this brand-new service.
Continue reading this series on the CSPA
- Part Three: How Can You Avoid Being Sued Under The CSPA?
- Part Four: Are you Violating Consumer Law?
- Part Five: How Does Someone Violate the CSPA?
- Part Six: What Should You Do if Someone Files a CSPA Suit Against Your Business?
- Part Seven: The Importance of a Supplier’s Knowledge Under the CSPA
This article is meant to be utilized as a general guideline for CSPA compliance. Nothing in this blog is intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to provide legal advice on which you should rely without talking to your own retained attorney first. If you have questions about your particular legal situation, you should contact a legal professional.