Deception, Economic Loss and Mass-Market Customers: Consumer Protection Statutes as Persuasive Authority in the Common Law of Fraud

This Article first traces the errors of law and policy that have led a few courts to discover an economic loss rule barring recovery for fraud on either a tort cause of action or a consumer protection statutory theory where the fraud victim had a contract with the fraudfeasor. It then turns to explaining how use by analogy of federal and state consumer protection statutes could help to clarify and expand common law fraud doctrine. The argument for this use of consumer protection statutes as persuasive authority is particularly strong in mass-market transactions, where business customers often have the same difficulties trying to avoid or redress deception as household consumers do.