Legislators Want to Weaken Missouri’s Consumer Protections.

Three Ways SB727/HB745 Benefits Billionaires Like Stan Kroenke Over Everyday Missourians

A new proposal in the Missouri General Assembly would dismantle Missouri’s consumer protection law with devastating consequences for Missouri families and big benefits for corporations and billionaires like Stan Kroenke. 

The Missouri Merchandising Practices Act protects Missouri consumers who have been misled when making a purchase, whether through a false advertisement, misleading salesperson, or other statement or omission. The MMPA helps hold corporations accountable and discourages them from committing fraud.

For example, after the Rams left St. Louis in 2016, the 30-year personal seat licenses purchased by fans were worthless. The MMPA allowed fans to reach a class-action settlement that forced the Rams to repay them what they were owed.

But a new proposal in the Legislature would effectively gut the MMPA, leaving the victims of fraud without recourse and letting corporations get off scot-free. Here are three ways SB727/HB745 scores a field goal for billionaires and corporate interests at the expense of everyday Missouri families: 

  1. Exempts Virtually All Businesses. A provision in SB727/HB745 would exempt any action or transaction authorized under laws administered by any regulatory body of the United States or Missouri. This would virtually nullify the MMPA because almost every business in the state is regulated in some way.
  2. Exempting Fraud That Happens After-the-Fact: This bill contains an impossible-to-meet causation provision. A new subsection would require the consumer to prove that the violation caused them to enter into the transaction that resulted in damages. This requirement could not have been met in the Rams case because the Rams committed their unfair practice (failing to pay refunds when they terminated the PSLs) many years after PSL owners entered into the transactions, so the violation could not have caused them to buy their PSLs.
  3. Placing Unreasonable Requirements on Consumers: Under SB727/HB745 each class member would have to submit a statement requesting a specific dollar amount and providing information regarding the nature of his or her loss, injury, claim or damages, and indicating how the loss, injury, claim or damages was caused by the violation of the MMPA. Also, the court could not award damages without objective proof of damages for each class member. Because there were 20,000 class members in the Rams case, this would have made proof of the class’ claims so difficult that it would have been nearly impossible. Every class member would have to submit statements and proof. This is a huge hurdle that would likely have prevented a settlement on a class-wide basis.

For all of these reasons SB727/HB745 have protected Stan Kroenke from being held accountable and paying Rams fans what they were owed – and left St. Louis football fans high and dry.