What is the Virginia Consumer Protection Act?

Consumers purchase goods and services with the expectation that they will be safe and function properly. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Products may fail and consequently cause injury to innocent people. If the product itself is what causes the injury, a person may have a products liability claim.[1]  But if a person is harmed by the way a product has been advertised or offered, there may be another avenue under which they can recover for the harm.

The Virginia Consumer Protection Act was first enacted in 1977 to “promote fair and ethical standards of dealings between suppliers and the consuming public.”[2] The Act covers a wide array of consumer transactions including (but not limited to):

  • Advertising or sale of goods or services for personal or household uses
  • Advertising or sale of business opportunities requiring a person’s money or property and personal services
  • Advertising or sale of goods or services relating to finding or obtaining a job
  • Layaway agreements

The Act allows consumers to lodge complaints against suppliers for a variety of violations including, but not limited to:

  • Misrepresenting the goods or services as those of another
  • Misrepresenting geographic origin of goods or services (such as a label that says “Made in the USA”)
  • Misrepresenting that the goods or services have certain quantities, uses, ingredients, or benefits
  • Advertising secondhand or used goods without clearly indicating that the goods are not brand new
  • Advertising goods with the intent not to sell them as advertised or with the intent not to sell at the advertised price
  • Selling or remodeling/repairing a home with defective drywall
  • Knowingly selling or offering to sell a children’s product that has been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Expressions of opinion are not considered violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The violation must be a statement of fact. Consumers have two years from the date of the wrongful act to bring a claim under the Act.[3] If you believe you’ve been harmed by an unfair or unethical standard of dealing under the Act, contact the attorneys at Allen & Allen for a free consultation. You may contact Allen & Allen at 1-866-388-1307.

About The Author: Amy Whitelaw is a personal injury attorney in the Richmond, Virginia office of Allen & Allen. Amy prides herself in providing the best client service and communication so that her clients always remain well-informed. She focuses her practice exclusively on personal injury cases including motorcycle accidents, car accidents, truck accidents and wrongful death.


[1] Product Liability – An Overview of the Law of Dangerous and Defective Products

[2] Va. Code § 59.1-196

[3] Va. Code § 59.1-204.1