Consumer law is the regulation and statues that seek to create an equitable balance for buyers within a marketplace and to prevent sellers from being dishonest. A consumer is an individual who purchases services or any goods, that may be sold by retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.
Both federal and state law plays a role in regulating consumer law. The law ranges from imposing product safety measures to prohibiting false advertising, regulates debt collection practices and protects the consumer’s information. Consumers end up needing legal help after they become a victim to online scams like buying a car without being told about problems it has or losing money to financial schemes, such as unauthorised credit card charges and identity theft. A consumer lawyer helps customers that have witnessed unfair practices or exchanges.
Important terms to be aware of:
Consumer goods – Personal property that has been purchased primarily by individuals for family, household and personal uses.
Consumer protection laws – Laws get designed to protect consumers against any unfair trading, faulty credit practices and dishonest tactics and claims.
Warranty – An implied promise or an express that a product or service comes with acceptable quality and standards.
Consumer product safety commission – A federal agency that helps to establish the product safety standards to reduce the unreasonable risk of injury to the consumers.
Magnuson-moss Warranty Act – A law that involves warranties for the customer’s goods to be clearly disclosed in easily understandable language.
Equal credit opportunity act – A federal law that prohibits creditors from discriminating against applicants on the basis of religion, age, sex, colour, race, and national origin.
What other considerations are there when hiring a consumer lawyer?
Over the past decades, lawmakers have become more proactive in getting consumer protection laws passed. As a result of this, merchants and sellers can struggle to keep up with the new regulations, and in turn, altering their practises and systems to comply.
When a business takes too long to comply, or they are not responding or complying at all, an attorney may be hired to file a lawsuit against the company. When you hire an attorney early in the process, it can be beneficial in helping you to find the best method for seeking the enforcement of the consumer protection law. Consumer law mostly focuses on civil remedies like lawsuits to solve problems. Consumer protection laws can allow criminal sanctions. Prosecutors can end up filing charges in cases of criminal misconduct, such as embezzlement and fraud.
The benefit of consumer protection occurs when the consumers are prevented from making different choices that they would end up regretting if they had more information. A consumer who purchases a drug that proves to be ineffective or even dangerous will most obviously stop using it. Preventing the purchase in the first place means that the consumer can avoid learning the hard lesson. Often, the people committing unfair trade practices are also committing other offences such as tax evasion, for example. In this case other lawyers such as tax lawyers can become involved.
One problem when it comes to assessing the benefits of consumer protections is that the law itself can induce behavioural changes that work either for or against the intent of the said legislation.
Requirements such as mattresses being flame resistant can make people more careless about smoking in the bedroom. In some cases, the behavioural changes can attribute to consumer protection laws that can worsen the problem that the law is there to correct. It is always important that you consult a consumer lawyer or government legal services if you feel that you have been treated unfairly in an exchange or if you have suffered consequences of a product or service.