State Statutes

South Carolina


SECTION 39-5-30. Pyramid clubs and similar operations declared unfair trade practices.


Any contract or agreement between an individual and any pyramid club, or other group organized or brought together under any plan or device whereby fees or dues or anything of material value to be paid or given by members thereof are to be paid or given to any other member thereof, which plan or device includes any provision for the increase in such membership through a chain process of new members securing other new members and thereby advancing themselves in the group to a position where such members in turn receive fees, dues or things of material value from other members, is hereby declared to be an unfair trade practice pursuant to SECTION 39-5-20 (a) of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act of 1971.



SECTION 39-5-70. Investigative demand by Attorney General.


(a) When it appears to the Attorney General that a person has engaged in, is engaging in, or is about to engage in any act or practice declared to be unlawful by this article, or when he believes it to be in the public interests that an investigation should be made to ascertain whether a person in fact has engaged in, is engaging in, or is about to engage in any act or practice declared to be unlawful by this article, he may execute in writing and cause to be served upon that person or any other person who is believed to have information, documentary material or physical evidence relevant to the alleged or suspected violation, an investigative demand requiring such person to furnish, under oath, a report in writing setting forth the relevant facts and circumstances of which he has knowledge, or to appear and testify or to produce relevant documentary material or physical evidence for examination and copying, at such reasonable time and place as may be stated in the investigative demand, concerning the advertisement, sale or offering for sale of any goods or services or the conduct of any trade or commerce that is the subject matter of the investigation.


(b) At any time before the return date specified in an investigative demand, or within twenty days after the demand has been served, whichever period is shorter, a petition to extend the return date for a reasonable time or to modify or set aside the demand, stating good cause, may be filed in the court of common pleas where the person served with the demand resides or has his principal place of business or conducts or transacts business. This section shall not be applicable to any criminal proceedings, nor shall any information obtained under the authority of this section or SECTION 39-5-80 be admissible in evidence in any criminal prosecution.



SECTION 39-5-110. Civil penalties for willful violation or violations of injunction.


(a) If a court finds that any person is willfully using or has willfully used a method, act or practice declared unlawful by SECTION 39-5-20, the Attorney General, upon petition to the court, may recover on behalf of the State a civil penalty of not exceeding five thousand dollars per violation.


(b) Any person who violates the terms of an injunction issued under SECTION 39-5-50 shall forfeit and pay to the State a civil penalty of not more than fifteen thousand dollars per violation. For the purposes of this section, the court of common pleas issuing an injunction shall retain jurisdiction, and the cause shall be continued and in such cases the Attorney General acting in the name of the State may petition for recovery of civil penalties. Whenever the court determines that an injunction issued pursuant to SECTION 39-5-50 has been violated, the court shall award reasonable costs to the State.


(c) For the purposes of this section, a willful violation occurs when the party committing the violation knew or should have known that his conduct was a violation of SECTION 39-5-20.

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