Penalty for Violations of Chapter; Proceedings; Disposition of Proceeds
(a) Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for each violation, which shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General or by any district attorney, county counsel, or city attorney in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) The court shall impose a civil penalty for each violation of this chapter. In assessing the amount of the civil penalty, the court shall consider any one or more of the relevant circumstances presented by any of the parties to the case, including, but not limited to, the following: the nature and seriousness of the misconduct, the number of violations, the persistence of the misconduct, the length of time over which the misconduct occurred, the willfulness of the defendant’s misconduct, and the defendant’s assets, liabilities, and net worth.
(c) If the action is brought by the Attorney General, one-half of the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered, and one-half to the State Treasurer.
If brought by a district attorney or county counsel, the entire amount of penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered. If brought by a city attorney or city prosecutor, one-half of the penalty shall be paid to the treasurer of the county and one-half to the city. The aforementioned funds shall be for the exclusive use by the Attorney General, district attorney, county counsel, and city attorney for the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
(d) If the action is brought at the request of a board within the Department of Consumer Affairs or a local consumer affairs agency, the court shall determine the reasonable expenses incurred by the board or local agency in the investigation and prosecution of the action.
Before any penalty collected is paid out pursuant to subdivision (c), the amount of such reasonable expenses incurred by the board shall be paid to the State Treasurer for deposit in the special fund of the board described in Section 205. If the board has no such special fund the moneys shall be paid to the State Treasurer. The amount of such reasonable expenses incurred by a local consumer affairs agency shall be paid to the general fund of the municipality which funds the local agency.
(e) As applied to the penalties for acts in violation of Section 17530, the remedies provided by this section and Section 17534 are mutually exclusive.
(Amended November 2, 2004, by initiative Proposition 64, Sec. 6.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018