Consumer fraud can take many forms, but in general it involves false or misleading claims in the marketing or selling of a product or service. Simply, the product or service does not perform as advertised. Hidden fees, overcharging, and all sorts of other “scams” and “rip-offs” reported on the local news are examples of consumer fraud.
Incidences of consumer fraud can be isolated, so that only a small number of individuals are hurt. But there are times when the issues of consumer fraud are complex, and the consequences substantial and widespread. It’s this type of consumer fraud where class action litigation is employed to address the one common wrong suffered by the many.
Consumer Fraud Lawsuit over Vioxx
Gray, Ritter & Graham attorney Don Downing is co-lead counsel in a class action lawsuit against Merck, the maker of the Vioxx. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of all Missouri buyers of the prescription drug. Merck stopped selling Vioxx in 2004 after allegations surfaced that the painkiller caused heart attacks and strokes in thousands who took it.
While there have been personal injury lawsuits involving the drug, this is the nation’s first certified class action consumer fraud lawsuit over Vioxx. The suit alleges that Merck knew about but did not reveal the unsafe side effects of Vioxx, thereby misleading consumers and violating Missouri’s consumer fraud laws. The case is scheduled to go to court in May.
Seek Compensation and End Fraudulent Practice
Those who’ve been a victim of fraud may want to seek legal counsel. While an individual’s damages may be small, there may be a sizeable number of others who have suffered the same experience. In the right situation, a class action lawsuit is the most effective way for victims of consumer fraud to receive fair compensation, as well as stop the offending company from hurting others.