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In NY’s Legislature Should Fix Runaway Consumer Class Action Damages—Not Make Them Worse,” May 16, 2019, the author’s alarmist attack on A.679/S.2407—the bill to bring New York in line with 39 states by banning unfair business acts and practices—got one thing right: Businesses that exploit and lie to their customers should be “terrified” because New York will finally hold them accountable.

New York’s consumer protection law has long been lacking, “toothless” even, according to the National Consumer Law Center. The author’s solution is to make this law even worse by eliminating the current, paltry $50 penalty. Such statutory damages are less about incentivizing lawsuits than deterring bad conduct. While $50 may have been an effective deterrent in 1970, the “forty-fold increase” of which the author warns would bring the penalty to $2,000—reasonable and effective by modern standards.

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