The CFA makes it unlawful for any person to act, use or employ “any fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, misleading statement or deceptive practice.” The CFA also protects consumers against specific sales tactics and marketplace transactions. For example, chain referral selling, soliciting payment before ordering merchandise and perpetual going-out-of-business sales are all prohibited.
While, the language in the CFA is very broad and can be applied by the courts to many different situations, Chapter 325 of the MN Statutes also contains many topical consumer protection laws which govern specific purchases, like automobiles, pets, or timeshares. The general language of the CFA incorporates much of MN law dealing with specific areas of consumer fraud. Therefore, a violations of a specific statute have often been held to incorporate the remedies available under the CFA, including the right to a private cause of action. Generally, the attorney general is responsible for enforcement and prosecution of consumer fraud, and courts sometimes allow restitution to consumers in these cases. However, private actions are possible under the “private attorney general” statute and successful parties can recover damages, costs, disbursements and reasonable attorney’s fees.