April 29, 2011

Consumer Protection and Punitive Damages

Bangkok Post, Corporate Counsellor Column

Traditionally, consumers involved in commercial disputes filed lawsuits seeking damages for the defendant’s wrongdoing. Consumers were limited to seeking actual damages, which were deemed compensatory and which arose proximately from breach and/or wrongdoing of the defendant. This limitation on actual damages for consumer protection claims has now been lifted with recent consumer protection and product liability legislation. The most significant change brought by such consumer protection legislation is that punitive damages are now available to an injured consumer. This article examines the implications of the Consumer Case Procedure Act B.E. 2551 (2008), which allows the court to grant an award of punitive damages to compensate a consumer in excess of the consumer’s provable injuries.

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