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Ohio Consumer Law Overview

The cornerstone of Ohio consumer law is the Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA), which protects individual consumers from unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable sales practices in connection with consumer transactions. The CSPA and its substantive rules can be found in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) starting at 1345.01 and in the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) starting at 109:4-3-01. Both codes are available at

What is a consumer transaction?

A consumer transaction is the purchase, solicitation for purchase, or award by chance, of a product or service that is intended for home, family, or personal use. Examples of consumer transactions include:

  • A motor vehicle dealer selling a used or new vehicle to a consumer.
  • A wallpaper company selling its goods online to consumers.
  • A department store advertising a sale.
  • A home improvement contractor soliciting consumers at their homes.
  • Third party debt collectors calling consumers to collect debts.
  • Salespeople making telemarketing calls to consumers.
  • Credit repair companies contracting with consumers to improve their credit.

The CSPA requires sellers (or “suppliers”) to:

  • Accurately represent the characteristics of a product or service.
  • Honor guarantees and warranties.
  • Make no misrepresentations about the nature of their business, their products or services, the prices of their goods, or the terms of a transaction.
  • Not mislead consumers.
  • Not take advantage of a consumer’s illiteracy, mental disability, physical disability, or inability to understand the terms of a sale.
  • Not sell a product or service knowing the consumer cannot afford or substantially benefit from it.
  • Disclose important exclusions and limitations in advertisements.
  • Not sell used items as new.
  • Not use bait-and-switch tactics to trick consumers into paying higher prices.

Under the CSPA, the Attorney General can:

  • Investigate businesses that may be conducting unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable practices.
  • Order businesses to stop unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable practices.
  • Make rules describing unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable acts or practices.
  • Go to court to have actions declared unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable.
  • Inform the public about actions that are unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable.
  • Obtain relief for consumers (such as refunds or changes in contracts).
  • Request that courts impose appropriate civil penalties for violations by suppliers.

The CSPA allows consumers to:

  • Pursue private litigation (file a lawsuit against the supplier).
  • Rescind (cancel) transactions or recover damages, if successful in litigation.  

In addition to the CSPA, the Ohio Attorney General enforces more than 25 consumer protection laws, many of which are addressed in this guide.