Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 407
Merchandising Practices
Section 407.020

August 28, 2013


Unlawful practices, penalty--exceptions.

407.020. 1. The act, use or employment by any person of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice or the concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in trade or commerce or the solicitation of any funds for any charitable purpose, as defined in section 407.453, in or from the state of Missouri, is declared to be an unlawful practice. The use by any person, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in trade or commerce or the solicitation of any funds for any charitable purpose, as defined in section 407.453, in or from the state of Missouri of the fact that the attorney general has approved any filing required by this chapter as the approval, sanction or endorsement of any activity, project or action of such person, is declared to be an unlawful practice. Any act, use or employment declared unlawful by this subsection violates this subsection whether committed before, during or after the sale, advertisement or solicitation.

2. Nothing contained in this section shall apply to:

(1) The owner or publisher of any newspaper, magazine, publication or printed matter wherein such advertisement appears, or the owner or operator of a radio or television station which disseminates such advertisement when the owner, publisher or operator has no knowledge of the intent, design or purpose of the advertiser; or

(2) Any institution, company, or entity that is subject to chartering, licensing, or regulation by the director of the department of insurance, financial institutions and professional registration under chapter 354 or chapters 374 to 385, the director of the division of credit unions under chapter 370, or director of the division of finance under chapters 361 to 369, or chapter 371, unless such directors specifically authorize the attorney general to implement the powers of this chapter or such powers are provided to either the attorney general or a private citizen by statute.

3. Any person who willfully and knowingly engages in any act, use, employment or practice declared to be unlawful by this section with the intent to defraud shall be guilty of a class D felony.

4. It shall be the duty of each prosecuting attorney and circuit attorney in their respective jurisdictions to commence any criminal actions under this section, and the attorney general shall have concurrent original jurisdiction to commence such criminal actions throughout the state where such violations have occurred.

5. It shall be an unlawful practice for any long-term care facility, as defined in section 660.600, except a facility which is a residential care facility or an assisted living facility, as defined in section 198.006, which makes, either orally or in writing, representation to residents, prospective residents, their families or representatives regarding the quality of care provided, or systems or methods utilized for assurance or maintenance of standards of care to refuse to provide copies of documents which reflect the facility's evaluation of the quality of care, except that the facility may remove information that would allow identification of any resident. If the facility is requested to provide any copies, a reasonable amount, as established by departmental rule, may be charged.

6. Any long-term care facility, as defined in section 660.600, which commits an unlawful practice under this section shall be liable for damages in a civil action of up to one thousand dollars for each violation, and attorney's fees and costs incurred by a prevailing plaintiff, as allowed by the circuit court.

(L. 1967 p. 607 2, A.L. 1973 H.B. 55, A.L. 1985 H.B. 96, et al., A.L. 1986 S.B. 685, A.L. 1992 S.B. 705, A.L. 1994 H.B. 1165, A.L. 1995 H.B. 409, A.L. 2000 S.B. 763, A.L. 2008 S.B. 788)

(2000) Delivery of beer by unlicensed foreign microbrewery without inspection by state authorities and inadequate precautions to prevent sales to minors constituted misrepresentations in violation of section. State ex rel. Nixon v. Beer Nuts, Ltd., 29 S.W.3d 828 (Mo.App.E.D.).

(2001) Sale of motor fuel below cost in violation of the Motor Fuel Marketing Act is not an unfair practice within meaning of section, and thus the Attorney General lacks authority to invoke civil investigative demand power. Ports Petroleum Company, Inc. of Ohio v. Nixon, 37 S.W.3d 237 (Mo.banc).

(2011) Debt collector's alleged deceptive debt collection activities are not in connection with sale or advertisement of merchandise in trade or commerce within meaning of Merchandising Practices Act. State v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, 351 S.W.3d 661 (Mo.App.E.D.).


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