Missouri Merchandising Practices Act
The Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (“MMPA”) is a consumer protection law in the state of Missouri, United States. It is designed to prevent fraudulent or deceptive business practices and provide remedies for consumers who have been harmed by such practices. The MMPA prohibits various unfair, false, or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of trade or commerce within Missouri. It covers a wide range of activities, including but not limited to:
1. False advertising: The act prohibits false or misleading statements in advertising, including deceptive pricing, false product claims, or misleading comparisons.
2. Fraudulent business practices: The MMPA prohibits engaging in any deceptive practices, such as misrepresenting the source, quality, or characteristics of goods or services, or engaging in bait-and-switch tactics.
3. Unfair competition: The act prohibits activities that create unfair competition, such as false representation of affiliation with another business or the misappropriation of trade secrets.
4. Consumer fraud: The MMPA provides remedies for consumers who have been deceived or harmed by unfair or deceptive practices, allowing them to seek damages, injunctive relief, and other forms of legal recourse.
The Missouri Merchandising Practices Act empowers the Missouri Attorney General, county prosecutors, and individual consumers to bring legal actions against businesses or individuals engaged in prohibited practices. It aims to protect consumers from fraudulent schemes and ensure fair competition in the marketplace.
On July 2, 2020, Governor Mike Parson signed Senate Bill (SB) 591, which makes a number of reforms to the MMPA and statutes governing the standards and procedure for recovering punitive damages. The changes are intended to narrow the scope of the MMPA, constrain punitive damages and attorney’s fee awards, and make it easier for defendants to obtain early dismissal of MMPA claims brought by consumers who claim to have been misled by conduct that would not mislead a “reasonable consumer.”