Amid the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, fraud is on the rise. Luckily, North Carolina law offers a powerful tool to combat fraud in business—Chapter 75.
Under Chapter 75, “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce” are unlawful. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1. This law also gives individuals and businesses that have been harmed by such acts a private right of action, allowing civil lawsuits. § 75-16. Plaintiffs who bring such action for unfair and deceptive trade practices can recover three-times the amount of damages suffered. Id.
Unfair or deceptive acts can arise in numerous scenarios. For example, a competitor who misappropriates trade secrets may be liable under this statute. Similarly, if former employees attempt to set up a competitor company on firm time and with firm resources Chapter 75 may also be implicated.
While the current climate of economic uncertainty is certain to give rise to bad actors in business, those harmed are not without recourse.