MONOPOLIES AND TRADE PRACTICES
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT
48-606. Proceedings by attorney general. (1) Whenever the attorney general has reason to believe that any person is using, has used, or is about to use any method, act or practice declared by this chapter to be unlawful, and that proceedings would be in the public interest, he may bring an action in the name of the state against such person:
(a) To obtain a declaratory judgment that a method, act or practice violates the provisions of this chapter;
(b) To enjoin any method, act or practice that violates the provisions of this chapter by issuance of a temporary restraining order or preliminary or permanent injunction, upon the giving of appropriate notice to that person as provided by the Idaho rules of civil procedure;
(c) To recover on behalf of consumers actual damages or restitution of money, property or other things received from such consumers in connection with a violation of the provisions of this chapter;
(d) To order specific performance by the violator;
(e) To recover from the alleged violator civil penalties of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) per violation for violation of the provisions of this chapter; and
(f) To recover from the alleged violator reasonable expenses, investigative costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the attorney general.
(2) The action may be brought in the district court of the county in which such person resides or has his principal place of business, or with consent of the parties, may be brought in the district court of Ada county. If the person does not reside in or have a principal place of business in this state, the action may be brought in any district court in this state. The said courts are authorized to issue temporary restraining orders or preliminary or permanent injunctions to restrain and prevent violations of the provisions of this chapter, and such injunctions shall be issued without bond.
(3) Unless the attorney general finds in writing that the purposes of this chapter will be substantially and materially impaired by delay in instituting legal proceedings, he shall, before initiating any legal proceedings as provided in this section, give notice in writing that such proceedings are contemplated to the person against whom proceedings are contemplated and allow such person a reasonable opportunity to appear before the attorney general and execute an assurance of voluntary compliance or a consent judgment as in this chapter provided.
(4) In lieu of instigating or continuing an action or proceeding, the attorney general may accept a consent judgment with respect to any act or practice alleged to be a violation of the provisions of this chapter, and it may include a stipulation for the payment by such person of reasonable expenses, investigative costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the attorney general. The consent judgment may also include a stipulation for civil penalties to be paid, not in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) per alleged violation; a stipulation to pay to consumers actual damages or to allow for restitution of money, property or other things received from such consumers in connection with a violation of the provisions of this chapter; and/or a stipulation for specific performance. Before any consent judgment entered into pursuant to this section shall be effective, it must be approved by the district court and an entry made thereof in the manner required for making an entry of judgment. Once such approval is received, any breach of the conditions of such consent judgment shall be treated as a violation of a court order, and shall be subject to all penalties provided by law therefor, including the penalties set forth in section 48-615, Idaho Code.
(5) All penalties, costs and fees recovered by the attorney general shall be remitted to the consumer protection fund which is hereby created in the state treasury. Moneys in the fund may be expended pursuant to legislative appropriation and shall be used for the furtherance of the attorney general’s duties and activities under this chapter. At the beginning of each fiscal year, those moneys in the consumer protection fund which exceed the current year’s appropriation plus any residual encumbrances made against prior years’ appropriations by fifty percent (50%) or more shall be transferred to the general fund.
(6) Any moneys collected by the attorney general as trustee for distributions to injured consumers shall be deposited in the state treasury until such time as payment is made to an individual or individuals for purposes of restitution or pursuant to a court approved cy pres distribution.
[48-606, added 1971, ch. 181, sec. 7, p. 847; am. 1973, ch. 285, sec. 6, p. 601; am. 1990, ch. 273, sec. 4, p. 769; am. 1991, ch. 243, sec. 1, p. 593; am. 1993, ch. 102, sec. 3, p. 258; am. 2001, ch. 61, sec. 1, p. 113.]