Tuesday, June 04, 2013

New commercial speech lawsuit on disclosure wording

Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, challenging New York's legal requirement that consumers be offered discounts for cash rather than surcharges for credit.  These are mathematically identical but produce different consumer behavior, which is why the credit card companies want the law to require "discount" instead of "surcharge."  This is pretty clear rent-seeking and hard to justify, especially as our commercial speech doctrine gets ever closer to enacting Mr. Herbert Spencer's Social Statics.  I hope the plaintiffs win, but I also hope that the reasons given explain why legislatures have substantial scope to regulate literally true but misleading statements that affect consumer behavior just like the difference between discount and surcharge does.

Via the Consumer Law & Policy Blog.

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