National Consumer Law Center criticizes Michigan's gutted consumer protection law
The NCLC identified Michigan and Rhode Island as the "terrible two" states with the most dismal record for consumer protection. While Michigan formerly had an effective consumer protection act, it was gutted several years ago by the Engler Majority of the Michigan Supreme Court, rendering the Act virtually non-existent, even in cases where unfair, deceptive or unconscionable practices were identified.
The Engler Justices ruled in 1999 and again in 2007 that the previously effective law could be applied only in fields where there had been no effort at regulation by the state or federal government. A section of the State Bar of Michigan pointed out that as a result of the Engler Majority's rulings, about three-quarters of the 13,000 consumer complaints received by the attorney general in 2008 are no longer covered by Michigan's Consumer Protection Act. Not because there was no wrongful conduct, but simply because there was some degree of federal or state regulatory effort in the related field.
The Chamber of Commerce opposes expanding the Act to its original breadth--or in any manner whatsoever. What a surprise that represents. The Detroit Free Press recently reported an example of a case where the original Consumer Protection Act would have been useful: a consumer, Paulette Day, who unknowingly bought a "clipped" car that had been welded together out of two wrecks and improperly certified by a General Motors dealer. Her case is languishing in the courts five years later.