Mayor Scott Signs Bill to Broaden Consumer Protection in Baltimore

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
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Sponsored by Councilman Isaac "Yitzy" Schleifer (District 5), City Council Bill 23-0424Provides Baltimore Law Department with New Powers to Protect Residents by Holding Businesses Accountable

BALTIMORE, MD. (Wednesday, October 11, 2023) –  Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott signed into law historic consumer protection legislation, sponsored by Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer (District 5). City Council Bill 23-0424 broadens the Baltimore City Law Department’s ability to hold businesses who harm Baltimore citizens through unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices accountable for their actions.

“By signing this bill into law, the City of Baltimore is taking a critical step forward in our ability to protect Baltimoreans from predatory business practices of all kinds and is joining cities across the country who are mobilizing to protect their residents through expanded consumer protection efforts,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “I want to thank Councilman Schleifer for spearheading this effort on the City Council to ensure that we have every tool we need to protect our residents and pursue justice against those who care more about profit more than people in our city.” 

“Our residents deserve to know that our City will fight for them when a predatory entity tries to take advantage of them,” said Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer (District 5). “I’m proud to have introduced and championed this bill on the Council, and I want to thank Mayor Scott and the City’s Law Department for advocating with us to protect our residents who have been harmed by predatory practices.”

Currently, the State of Maryland provides local governments with the opportunity to regulate in the consumer protection space. However, until now, the City has been operating under a consumer protection ordinance provision dating back to the 1970s, which only provides criminal penalties for false advertising and limits the City to pursuing legal action against companies when they harm the City directly. 

“This bill provides us the tools we need to hold businesses that take advantage of people accountable in our city,” said Acting City Solicitor Ebony Thompson. “This bill is not anti-business, it is pro-resident and anti-deception. Under this new law, our team is ready and eager to get to work on behalf of residents who’ve suffered the consequences of these bad business actors across our city.”

With this ordinance, the City will be able to take action against companies to prohibit ongoing bad practices that affect consumers, not just the City. The bill is mutually beneficial for the City and for consumers in that it will halt further harm to consumers and allow the City to collect fines from companies as a penalty for bad conduct. 

With this bill, the City of Baltimore joins several cities around the country who have adopted local consumer protection ordinances, including Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, and Howard and Montgomery Counties in Maryland. 

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