Unethical competitors

The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division is charged with not only helping consumers, but helping ethical businesses. Having to compete with sleazy competitors may erode hurt both you and the consumer public. Here are a couple of common problems:

Transient merchants

Some merchants may ride into town and sell shoddy or counterfeit merchandise to consumers at inflated prices. When the consumer discovers the problem, it is often too late because the merchant has ridden out of town, never to come back. This also hurts the ethical competitor because the consumer now has less money to spend for quality goods and the consumer may be less trusting of all merchants in the same line of business.

If the merchant spends less than 6 months in a locality in each year, that merchant may be required to obtain a permit from the county clerk of each county it conducts business 10 days in advance and post a bond. A copy of the completed application is sent to the Revenue Cabinet and the Attorney General.

Some types of temporary businesses are exempt from the statute. Exemptions include those involving:

  • Locally grown agricultural products;
  • Crafts or items made by hand when offered for sale by the person making the items;
  • A sale sponsored by any religious, educational, public service, or charitable organization;
  • Wholesale trade shows;
  • Sales by catalogue for future delivery;
  • Sales not involving goods or merchandise such as home repairs.

Protect your business and the consuming public:

  • Check with the county clerk to see if a permit has been issued;
  • Call your local county attorney or the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at (502) 696-5389 if you suspect a violation.

Statutes governing transient merchants — KRS 365 sections .650 to .695

Going out of business, fire, and removal sales

Is your business being hurt because your competitor is continuously conducting a going out of business or moving sale? Kentucky requires merchants conducting these types of sales to obtain a license from the county clerk, post a bond, and display the license number in any advertising.

Types of sales included are:

  • Fire or smoke sales;
  • Going out of business, close out, liquidation, and lost our lease sales;
  • Moving sales

The license is good for 30 days and may be extended for an additional 30 days. The business cannot add stock during the sale and cannot advertise the sale is being held in conjunction with merchandise at other locations.

This law does not apply to judicially ordered sales or sales made as part of a filed bankruptcy case.

Statutes governing Fire, Removal, and Other Sales of Merchandise — KRS 365 sections .410 to .480