South Carolina Consumer Law

In South Carolina, the mini-FTC act is called the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act, or SC ST §§ 39-5-10 et seq.  Under this legislation, plaintiffs have a cause of action when any legal entity employs an “unfair method of competition” or “unfair or deceptive act or practice.”  To sustain an action, the plaintiff must show actual harm due to the defendant’s conduct.  There is a statute of limitations under the statute, of three years from the discovery of the violation.

            A successful plaintiff is entitled to compensation for actual damages suffered, and in the case of a willful or knowing violation, a plaintiff can recover treble damages, and any other relief the court deems “necessary or proper.”  Damages under the statute are not capped, and attorney’s fees are generally recoverable.  The statute has been interpreted to prohibit class actions.  See Dema v. Tenet Physician Services, 678 S.E.2d 430 (S.C. 2009).