The Licensed Professional Exemption in Consumer Protection: At Odds with Antitrust History and Precedent
51 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2007
The body of laws intended to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive acts and practices originated from a common body with the antitrust laws. Today, the Federal Trade Commission uses the same sentence of the same statute (Section 5 of the FTC Act) to enforce both its consumer protection and antitrust missions. Most state consumer protection laws specifically state that the laws are to be enforced in a manner consistent with both FTC and federal precedent. Yet many state courts, when considering a case of first impression in consumer protection, do not look to the antitrust laws for at least persuasive precedent. This has led to inexplicable results. Most notably for licensed professionals, the Supreme Court has explicitly held that the antitrust laws apply to licensed professionals; nonetheless, in a number of states, citing no relevant precedent except the original anomalous decision, consumer protection laws have been held to exempt licensed professionals.
Keywords: antitrust, consumer protection, licensed professionals, FTC Section 5
JEL Classification: K21, K39, L40, L44, L84, L85
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation