Sale of Condomimiums a Consumer Purchase Under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act

09/14/2012

The Virginia Consumer Protection Act notes it purposing as the promotion of “fair and ethical standards of dealings between suppliers and the consuming public.” Among the constricts in that Act, it is unlawful for a supplier in a consumer transaction to misrepresent that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, style or model. The Act defines a consumer transaction as “[t]he advertisement, lease, license or offering for sale, lease or license of goods or services to be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes.” The Act defines a supplier as “a seller, lessor or licensor who advertises, solicits or engages in consumer transactions.”

In the case of ABi-Najm v. Concord Condominium, LLC, 280 Va. 350, 699 S.E.2d 483 (2010), the Virginia Supreme Court considered the question of whether the purchase of units in a condominium complex was a consumer transaction for purposes of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, and concluded, yes, the purchase was a consumer transaction. The case therefore was allowed to proceed on the question of whether the seller made misrepresentations as part of the sales to the condominium purchasers. The Virginia Supreme Court further held that the claims were not lost by the “doctrine of merger” because of the deeds for the purchases, and that nor were they barred by Virginia’s “economic loss” rule because the claim under the act involved a legal duty separate from the duties arising from the contract of sale.

There is some thought that this case establishes a department from earlier law, but regardless it is a significant case of note to those selling or buying condominiums.

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