In Iowa consumers can’t sue companies under Iowa’s anti-fraud act; only the A.G. can.  Iowa’s policy is not to trust its own citizens to know when a manufacturer should be sued. Instead Iowa law treats manufacturer’s as if they were royalty, perhaps because of how the legislature feels about campaign contributions from the manufacturing sector. Too dumb, not royal enough or just a campaign money issue; whatever camp you’re in, this legislature is giving it another look-see.

Pamela Dowd thought she was buying a high-efficiency furnace; instead she bough four-years of aggravation and legal wrangling.  AARP backed the Attorney General’s proposal to allow Iowan’s the right to sue, but the blue suits carrying briefcases full of promised campaign contributions posed a formidable opponent.

“To defuse the opposition from business interests, the measure this year exempts many businesses and professions from the law.

On Wednesday, that effort didn't appear to work as business lobbyists jammed the hearing room.

Jim Carney, a Des Moines lobbyist representing cable television interests, said many communications companies were exempted, but cable didn't make the list.

"They exempt telephones and utilities, but they don't exempt cable," said Carney.

The effort has drawn a strong advocate, however, with AARP backing the proposal. The organization represents politically powerful senior citizens, who AARP spokeswoman Ann Black said have a special interest in the legislation.”

The Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Division

Iowa Consumer Fraud Act Code of Iowa (Iowa Section 714.16) Prohibits unfair and deceptive trade practices in the sale, lease, or advertisement of a product or service, and in the solicitation of charitable contributions. Authorizes the Attorney General to issue subpoenas, hold hearings, adopt administrative rules, and file lawsuits to obtain temporary and permanent injunctive relief, consumer reimbursement, costs and attorney fees, and civil penalties up to $40,000 per violation.

Don’t hold your breath for change, because even in Iowa the moneyed interests usually win out over common sense.

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