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Ohio Consumer Sales Act Amended to Allow Right To Cure

Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A.

On April 2, 2012 Governor Kasich signed Ohio House Bill 275, providing businesses the opportunity to cure potential violation(s) of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act.  For many years, the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act has been a sword for consumers to address unfair and deceptive acts, allowing consumers to recover attorney’s fees as well as treble damages (three times actual damages) for violations.  However, the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act has been criticized for its ability to generate litigation resulting in significant damage awards for merely technical violations.  Ohio House Bill 275 gives Ohio businesses the opportunity to cure violations before protracted litigation and potentially reduce their exposure to treble damages.
 
The new provision, Ohio Revised Code Section 1345.092, allows a business 30 days after being served with a lawsuit to attempt to cure the alleged violation with the customer.  The cure offer must: (i) explain the resolution being offered by the supplier; (ii) explain the supplier’s proposed remedy for the resolution; (iii) offer reasonable attorney’s fees related to the filing of the initial complaint, not to exceed $2,500.00, plus court costs incurred by the consumer.
 
The consumer must be given 30 days after receipt of the cure offer to accept or reject the offer.  If the consumer rejects the offer and ultimately obtains an amount less than the original cure offer, the consumer cannot be awarded treble damages or attorney’s fees.

The cure offer must clearly and conspicuously contain the following disclosure:

NOTICE:  This letter includes a “cure offer” that is being offered to settle all alleged violations of Chapter 1345 of the Revised Code raised by your written Complaint.  The cure offer includes both a “supplier’s remedy” to solve this dispute and an offer to pay your attorney’s fees up to $2,500.00 and your Court costs in filing the Complaint.  You are not obligated to accept this cure offer and have the right to consult with legal counsel before making your decision.

You must notify the supplier within thirty (30) days of receipt of this cure offer of your decision to either accept or reject the offer by filing a response with the Court and sending a copy of the response to the supplier.  If the Court does not receive your response within the required time, your failure to respond will, by law, be considered rejection of our offer.  Rejection of this cure offer could impact your ability to collect Court costs and legal fees.  If a Court, jury, or arbitrator finds in your favor, but does not award you an amount more than the value of the supplier’s remedy, the supplier will not be responsible for treble damages, attorney’s fees, or any Court costs you incur after the date this cure offer was made.

Value of supplier’s remedy = ______________

The seller also agrees to pay your attorney’s fees, up to $2,500.00, that are necessary or reasonably related to the filing of your initial claim, as well as your Court costs.

The new law allows businesses the opportunity to cure technical and trivial defaults without the significant exposure to treble damages.  The law can be viewed at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_HB_275.

NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.

 
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