(a) Deceptive acts or
practices in the conduct of any business, trade or commerce or in the
furnishing of any service in this state are hereby declared unlawful.
(b) Whenever the attorney general shall believe from evidence
satisfactory to him that any person, firm, corporation or association or
agent or employee thereof has engaged in or is about to engage in any of
the acts or practices stated to be unlawful he may bring an action in
the name and on behalf of the people of the state of New York to enjoin
such unlawful acts or practices and to obtain restitution of any moneys
or property obtained directly or indirectly by any such unlawful acts or
practices. In such action preliminary relief may be granted under
article sixty-three of the civil practice law and rules.
(c) Before any violation of this section is sought to be enjoined, the
attorney general shall be required to give the person against whom such
proceeding is contemplated notice by certified mail and an opportunity
to show in writing within five business days after receipt of notice why
proceedings should not be instituted against him, unless the attorney
general shall find, in any case in which he seeks preliminary relief,
that to give such notice and opportunity is not in the public interest.
(d) In any such action it shall be a complete defense that the act or
practice is, or if in interstate commerce would be, subject to and
complies with the rules and regulations of, and the statutes
administered by, the federal trade commission or any official
department, division, commission or agency of the United States as such
rules, regulations or statutes are interpreted by the federal trade
commission or such department, division, commission or agency or the
(e) Nothing in this section shall apply to any television or radio
broadcasting station or to any publisher or printer of a newspaper,
magazine or other form of printed advertising, who broadcasts,
publishes, or prints the advertisement.
(f) In connection with any proposed proceeding under this section, the
attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a determination of
the relevant facts, and to issue subpoenas in accordance with the civil
practice law and rules.
(g) This section shall apply to all deceptive acts or practices
declared to be unlawful, whether or not subject to any other law of this
state, and shall not supersede, amend or repeal any other law of this
state under which the attorney general is authorized to take any action
or conduct any inquiry.
(h) In addition to the right of action granted to the attorney general
pursuant to this section, any person who has been injured by reason of
any violation of this section may bring an action in his own name to
enjoin such unlawful act or practice, an action to recover his actual
damages or fifty dollars, whichever is greater, or both such actions.
The court may, in its discretion, increase the award of damages to an
amount not to exceed three times the actual damages up to one thousand
dollars, if the court finds the defendant willfully or knowingly
violated this section. The court may award reasonable attorney's fees to
a prevailing plaintiff.