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Washington State House Passes Bill Tripling Penalties for Violating Consumer Protection Act

 |  February 11, 2024

The Washington State House has approved a bill that would significantly increase penalties for companies found guilty of violating the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Sponsored exclusively by state Democrats, House Bill 2072 sailed through along party lines, marking a pivotal moment in the state’s ongoing efforts to crack down on anti-competitive practices.

The proposed legislation, championed by the Attorney General’s Office and requested by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, aims to triple the financial burden on companies engaging in activities such as price-fixing and monopolistic mergers, which contravene the CPA. Presently, the maximum individual fine for violating the CPA stands at $180,000, with a cap of $900,000 for companies. However, if HB 2072 becomes law, these penalties would substantially escalate.

Democratic Representative Darya Farivar, a staunch advocate for the bill, hailed the House’s decision as a victory for competitive markets. “Washington won’t tolerate anti-competitive tactics that hurt our economy and communities,” Farivar emphasized. “With stronger penalties, we can deter harmful practices and build a fairer, more competitive economy for all.”

However, the bill’s passage was not without contention. House Republicans raised concerns about entrusting the enforcement of the revised CPA rules solely to the Attorney General’s Office. Representative Jim Walsh voiced skepticism, casting doubt on the office’s efficacy in dealing with issues like price-fixing. “We are concerned that the main enforcer of this proposal would be the Attorney General’s Office, which lately does not have a great track record on dealing with issues like price-fixing,” Walsh remarked.

The legislation, which has garnered widespread attention, received bipartisan support from Spokane Representatives Marcus Riccelli and Timm Ormsby, who both cosponsored the bill. Now, all eyes turn to the Senate, where HB 2072 will undergo scrutiny by the Law and Justice Committee.

Source: Fox 28 Spokane