Is proof of fraud and justifiable reliance still required under Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law?

It used to be simple – establishing a claim under the so-called “catch all” provision of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (hereinafter “Unfair Trade Law”), 73 Pa.C.S. § 201.1 et seq., required proof of all elements of common law fraud. This was based in part on the statutory language that prohibited “fraudulent conduct,” as well the underlying purpose of the Unfair Trade Law, which – historically – was geared towards “fraud prevention.” Then, the legislature amended the Unfair Trade Law and inserted the word “deceptive,” so that the statute changed to proscribe “fraudulent or deceptive conduct,” and everything went astray. Indeed, almost two decades later, there is still no definitive opinion on the issue.