Consumer Protection

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Overview

Consumer protection laws are federal and state statutes that regulate seller and lender practices concerning consumer goods. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are federal agencies that handle product safety standards and consumer complaints, respectively.

Fair Debt Collection Act (FDCPA)

The FDCPA Act covers personal, family, and household debts, including money you owe on a personal credit card account, an auto loan, a medical bill, and mortgage. The FDCPA doesn’t, however, cover debts you incurred to run a business. Fundamentally, the Act limits what debt collectors can retrieve when contacting or seeking you out to repay a debt. Its purpose is to prohibit harassment or otherwise abusive debt collection practices.

Truth in Lending Act (TILA)

The TILA act covers a broad range of conduct, such as charging exorbitant interest rates on credit cards and other loans. The most important aspects of the act concern the pieces of information that must be disclosed to a borrower prior to extending credit: annual percentage rate (APR), term of the loan, and total costs to the borrower.

False or Misleading Advertising and Pricing

This category is covered under federal law, and most states have their own statutes that address such practices. Many states tie-in warranty clauses. Examples of this type of law could be the use of “bait and switch” tactics, or a seller selling you a broken product, or not providing a warranty.

Consumer Rights Class Action Lawsuits

A consumer class action is a lawsuit in state or federal court that is brought by one individual, or a few individuals, on behalf of a larger class of people similarly situated.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages punish the defendant for grossly negligent or reckless actions, rather than compensate the plaintiff. An award of punitive damages is rare, however, and only applies to the most serious situations.

Help with Consumer Protection Laws

If you think that your rights have been violated, contact a consumer rights lawyer that can answers your questions and get you the help that you need.

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